Whose ‘grounds’ is the Volta Region for a 2024 win – NDC or NPP?
Between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), to be politically accepted on any regional level in the country, is a big deal.
But even more specific and significant for these two leading political parties in the country are what kind of numbers or voter turnouts they religiously receive from these regions, collectively.
As is widely known or accepted, the people of the Volta Region have historically always warmed up towards the NDC more, just as the Ashanti Region does for the NPP.
In more specific terms, these regions have become unconventionally known as the ‘world banks’ of these political parties. And rightly so, they have been for many years.
For instance, in the Ashanti Region, out of the 46 constituencies in the region, the NDC currently only has 4 seats to its name. That number has remained the highest number of seats the NDC has had in the region since 1996.
In the Volta Region, until 2020, the NPP had never won a seat. Currently, the tally is 17 to 1 seat in the region for the NDC and the NPP respectively. Previously, since 1996, the NDC had always won all the seats in the region (16 seats in 1996, 15 seats in 2000, 15 seats in 2004, 15 seats in 2008, 18 seats in 2012, and 18 seats in 2016).
Let us not forget also that the founding fathers of both the NDC and the NPP have formed a great part of why there is such a voting pattern for their parties in both the Volta and Ashanti Regions. Jerry John Rawlings of the NDC hails from the Volta Region, while the Danquah-Dombo-Busia trio of the NPP are predominantly from the Ashanti Region.
Could the narrative be taking an interesting twist, or turn, or direction? Well, it may depend on how you take a look at it.
And it would have been a fairer assessment if this was with respect to both regions but interestingly, the bus seems to be stopping more with the Volta Region.
It all started with the conversations on who has done what, and who has done more or not for the region. Ordinarily, that should have been an easy pass for the NDC, who are more preferred in the region, but some questions have arisen on whether or not they actually deserve such a comfortable acclamation.
What exactly did Mahama do for Volta Region? – Obed Asamoah asks:
As the NDC, just as the NPP, prepares to elect a new flagbearer to lead it into the 2024 general elections, a leading member of the National Democratic Congress, Dr Obed Yao Asamoah, has become one of the people to draw in this whole ‘what have you done for the Volta Region’ conversation.
He has asked for answers from former President John Dramani Mahama on exactly what he has done for the Volta Region.
He questioned what the 2020 flagbearer of the party did for the region that is considered the stronghold of their party, while he was in political office, and for which reason he would seek their votes again to lead the NDC into election 2024.
According to Dr. Asamoah, Mahama’s failure to establish tangible developmental projects in the Volta Region resulted in residents voting against the NDC.
Supporting his claim, Dr. Obed Asamoah said the evidence can be seen from how much, in terms of numbers, the percentage of voter turnout from the region in the 2020 elections were, as compared to those of his predecessors; the late John Evans Atta Mills and the late Jerry John Rawlings.
“Vote Region is supposed to be the World Bank of the NDC. What exactly did Mahama do for the Volta Region?
“Remember in the last election, he did not get the kind of votes Jerry and the others were getting; 80, 90 percent (in presidential elections),” he said.
But then something that had happened a few months earlier seems to lend support to the questions being posed by the NDC stalwart.
In November 2022, during the 60th anniversary of the Hogbetsotso Za of the Anlo people, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, made an appearance upon an invitation.
During his address, he courted the anger of residents present, becoming a victim of a booing incident targeted at the presidency, after he started making statements about the achievements of his party, the NPP, in the Volta Region.
As Agbotadua Kumassah, a member of the Hogbetsotso Planning Committee explained later, the people gathered at the grounds of the event started getting agitated when the vice president started talking about the economy.
He explained that the people, being well-aware that some of the things he was saying were false, started to boo at him.
“When he entered the economic situation, that is when the problem started. He mentioned, among others, that they built more airports than any other government, they built more roads than any other government and the people who were there did not see the roads, the airports, the roads he was referring to.
“So, that brought some agitation and it became very difficult to control the people because what he was saying, none of them happened in the area,” he explained.
Agbotadua Kumassah also explained that Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s explanations on the government’s works in the digitization field, compounded the anger of the people, leading to them booing at him.
But how true or not are the things he said about what they had been doing?
NPP’s development feats in Volta Region evident – Makafui Woanya:
Being the man at the helm of things in the region for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Makafui Woanya, the regional chairman, has said countless times that his party has been able to perform creditably in the region albeit not so welcomed politically.
He explained in a graphic.com.gh report on January 5, 2023, that the NPP government has been able to revive and perform remarkable progress in some key infrastructural development projects in the region.
Some of these, he mentioned, are the steadily progressing Eastern Corridor Road Project, which is nearing completion; and the ongoing Southern Sector Water Systems Extensions Project.
“The University of Health and Allied Sciences, which the NDC is always quick to claim as their baby, is seeing massive infrastructural expansion,” he explained.
NPP drew its biggest strength from the Volta Region:
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has not been left out of the narratives or claims of what each party has been doing in the Volta Region.
In August 2020, the president said that the NPP considers the Volta Region as a “hallowed ground” that is symbolic of its struggle during the days of the party’s formation.
He added that history had even confirmed that the region had endorsed the NPP, and served as a place of refuge for its political fugitives during its darkest days, and for which reason the party can never discriminate against them.
“It was here in this region that people were most passionate about the political tradition. It was from here that the first people had to flee into political exile after independence, and it was in this region that many chiefs had to flee into political exile, and some died there.
“Many people forget that when J.B. Danquah, the first in the trinity of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition contested Kwame Nkrumah for the presidency, on Ghana becoming a republic in 1960, Danquah did not win in his home constituency in Akyem Abuakwa.
“But he won in two constituencies, one is right here in Anlo and the other is Ho West. If there was a little brittle tribal bone within my makeup, which there is not, I would not choose the Volta Region as a target. History would not allow me,” he said during a durbar of chiefs of the Anlo State at Anloga, during a working tour of the area.
John Mahama answers questions about what NDC has done for Volta Region:
Dr. Obed Asamoah’s questions have however not been left hanging because like a premonition, the former president, John Dramani Mahama, had touted his achievements in the Volta Region in 2021.
So, two clear years before such a question would be posed, the former president had already spelt out some of the achievements he had made in its ‘world bank.’
Among the tall list of things he said his government had achieved, were in educational infrastructure, health projects, roads, water and sanitation, among many others.
And much later, while speaking at a grand durbar to mark the climax of the Asogli Yam Festival in Ho, President John Mahama lamented the number of abandoned projects in the region, assuring the people that the next NDC government would complete them all.
“Projects started by the NDC have been abandoned and others that are to be completed in the region are being done at a slow pace. For some of the projects, this government asked contractors to stop work.
“But I make a commitment of the NDC that, God willing and thanks to your votes, in 2025, all these projects will resume,” he assured.
Volta must carry NDC as a religion – Fifi Kwetey:
Being the newly-elected General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Fifi Kwetey, who is also the former Member of Parliament for Ketu South, appears to have a strong say on whose side the Volta Region should stick with.
In a GNA report of Thursday, January 12, 2023, Fifi Kwetey said the region must cement its place as an unmovable bastion of the NDC.
Admitting that the region’s hold as the fortress of the NDC has weakened in recent times, also because indigenes have become increasingly discouraged from identifying with it, he urged them not to lose sight of the fact that the NDC is a party birthed from their backyard.
“Volta is the region where saviours of the nation come from as far as this country is concerned but we need to know who we are, and somehow, we know who we are, and we need to start appreciating who we are.
“Volta must appreciate NDC and back it no matter what. It should become like a religion. We need to let our people appreciate that this is what we are. And I believe if we knew who we were, the situation where the love for this party would start dwindling in this region should not happen,” he said.
The general elections of 2024 is less than 2 years away and although both the NDC and the NPP have each successfully elected new party executives, there are still a few major political hurdles to surmount before the big day in December 2024.
New flagbearers and the election of parliamentary candidates that will represent the parties at the constituency levels in the country will solidify the preparedness of each side of the political coin towards the general polls but it cannot be lost on anyone that with the historic breakthrough that the NPP has made into the Volta Region by winning its first ever seat in parliament, the battle lines are surely drawn.
The Volta Region will play a central role in the elections and whoever emerges the winner will have to command a lot of influence from this region.
Whose win will it be? Time will definitely tell…