Barack Obama’s nomination as the first black nominee of a major party and subsequently, first African American president of the nation was a moment of national and historical significance. Bawumia’s election as the standard bearer of the NPP may not have the same magnitude or racial connotations but from an ethnic or tribal and religious point of view it does hold similar sway.
From a symbolic perspective, there are many young people of northern extract; many young Muslims who will look at the image of their kinsman clinching the nomination and know that they too can dream big, aspire to the highest levels, and achieve the seemingly improbable.
Bawumia’s victory is therefore a moment of national inspiration. This is especially so for the youth, Muslims and particularly compatriots from the northern part of Ghana. Looking at the context within which this has taken place, especially the conversations surrounding the divides and marginalization of the northern sector, we must not lose sight or underestimate this development.
What has happened may have been an NPP affair, but it is indeed a huge advertisement for democracy, identity politics, representation, seats at the table and participatory politics in Ghana and Africa at large.
There are many youth from Walewale, Bimbilla, Kumbungu, Navrongo, Gushegu, Gberi, Peteyiri, Zabzugu and many other towns and villages who will look at that image of Bawumia being coronated as leader of his party and know that they too can achieve whatever they set their minds to even at the highest levels.
The idea that in the Ghana of today, anyone irrespective of tribe, ethnicity, religion, creed or region can aspire to become presidential candidate, flagbearer, national leader or whatever they wish to be is a huge testament to how far we have come as a nation.
Certainly this will not automatically wish all the problems away but at the most basic level, stripped of all the political shenanigans, the optics have enormous implications for emboldening a culture of aspiration, inspiration, and grandiloquent dreams.
This is Ghana’s own regional or ethnic glass ceiling breaking moment, a boundary breaking moment by any measure. Dr Bawumia, though his achievement, his pierced throughthe much debated supposed tribal veneer that seemed to circumscribe political discussions related to the NPP flgbearership.
Many young people across the nation—especially of northern extraction—will look at this and believe that their dreams too are valid. Beyond that, as a nation, it also signifies huge strides in our democratic journey as we seek to entrench the enduring virtues of diversity, tolerance, and merit. And our republic will be all the better for it.