It has often been said that the governing New Patriotic Party does not give opportunities to young people.
Despite recent data suggesting otherwise, with the NPP producing Ghana’s ever youngest Member of Parliament, some still hold on to the old notion of a ‘queue theory’ in the party. However, some young ones, many of whom just completed their first and second degrees, with others still schooling, have been showing interest and earnestly fighting for positions in the party, an attempt to prove that the party is one for the youth.
As the party prepares for its regional congress this weekend, many young people, majority of whom are between 25 and 35, have filed nominations to contest various positions. This is after many of their colleagues contested in the party’s last parliamentary primaries and the recently held constituency elections.
Speaking to the Daily Statesman, some of the young ones expressed their desire to serve the party at a relatively young age. They stated that the saying ‘NPP does not give opportunities to the youth’ is a myth, expressing hope that the party’s delegates would not consider age as a factor in the selection of their leaders.
The young ones believe they are in the race to make an impact and not just to represent. Kwasi Osei-Danso Ofori-Atta, a former student activist of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology is contesting for the Deputy Secretary position in the Eastern Region. According to Kwasi, he has a dream to make an impact and change the face of politics in the Eastern region. With a campaign tag, ‘Let’s go to #EastSide’, he has so far toured the entire region soliciting votes from the delegates and presenting printers to the various constituency offices. “For us, this is a contest of ideas, deeds not words. We are here to make an impact. I have a team, and I have a dream. We can’t rest,” he said after presenting a printer to the 15th constituency in the Eastern Region.
On his part, Ben Kwaku Andrew Asare, a former President of the Tertiary Education Students Confederacy of the NPP (TESCON) in the University of Ghana, says he is committed to making a change. Mr Asare, who is contesting the Greater Accra Deputy Regional Secretary, helped in the retooling of all 34 constituency offices in the region, through the presentation of laptops and printers in 2018.
For him, Adams Abubakari, a former Coordinating Secretary of the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG), shares in the belief of his colleagues that the time has come for the NPP to give true meaning to the fact that it is a party for the youth. Mr Abubakari, who is contesting the Oti Regional Secretary position added that no one should take the youth for granted in this election, as they are there to be impactful and lead the NPP to win the 202 4 general election.
Some of the young ones believe the party is at a time where it needs effective accounting and proper financial management to manage its resources. According to Rhoda Efe Eshun, her background in accounting, finance and management, both in academic and professional experience, would help the NPP break the eight years governance cycle. Rhoda, who is contesting for the Western Regional Treasurer position, said her desire to vie for the position is because the NPP is the party that believes in Ghana’s development. A former Western Regional captain of the NPP loyal ladies, Rhoda believes she has what it takes to make the NPP more appealing to the young ones in the Western Region.
“As a Regional Captain for NPP Loyal Ladies, I mobilized a good number of ladies who helped with outreach programs right from 2016, through to 2020 and are still vibrant in the party’s activities.
“Therefore, nothing has changed with this repertoire of experience, I am just continuing with my spirit of servitude to the party, and this time around, I am contesting for the treasurer position in the Western Region,” she said.
Meanwhile, some of the youths are calling on the delegates to give the youth organizer position to relatively younger people, who appreciate the contemporary youth issues. Peter Attafoe, a former executive of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) and the Ghana Union of Professional Students (GUPS), believes he represents the voice of the youth. Cardinal, as Peter is popularly called, is contesting for the Oti Regional Youth Organiser position. “I represent the voice of the Teeming Youth of Oti Region,” he said, adding he believes the youth should be made to represent the youth.
For her, Harriet Nana Serwaa, a former student activist at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) and founder of Stewards NPP, a youth group within the party, believes the time has come for the party to give true meaning to youth involvement in politics.
“Nana Serwaa will work hand-in-hand with the youth organisers in the region. Two people from each constituency, together with the constituency youth organizer, and two people from all TESCON chapters in the region shall be trained in data management and digital campaign. The identified people shall also be trained on how to campaign on social media and social media communication,” she has promised.
On his part, the National TESCON Coordinator, Samuel Annobil Baidoo, believes right representation is essential for the party’s ‘Break the 8’ agenda. Snow, as Mr Baidoo is affectionately called, is contesting for the Central Regional Youth Organiser position and has expressed confidence in winning to lead the party’s youth in the swing region.
Meanwhile, some of the young ladies in the party have also shown up to contest for the women organizer position, which is often occupied by relatively older women. For Nana Yaa Appiah, a captain of the Loyal Ladies in the Western North Region, the office of the Women Orgainser is “not position to occupy” but a place to work. Nana Yaa, who is contesting for the Western North Regional Women Organiser position of the party says, ‘Breaking the 8’ is possible with her”.
“I want to assure you that there is much work to do and not position to occupy and I have dedicated myself for the Job,” She said.
For her counterpart in the Ahafo Region, Nana Ama Ofosuaa Charlotte, her decision to contest “is not for my gains but that of party interest.”
“After selflessly serving the party as the Asunafo North constituency Women’s Organiser for the party and having led the NPP Loyal Ladies on a series of programs and also the need to carefully salvage the Ahafo NPP women’s wing for development ahead of ‘Breaking the 8,’ I humbly present myself to you to elect me to serve you as the next NPP Ahafo Regional Women’s Organiser,” she said, after filing her nomination.