He is a political novice. But I didn’t expect Mahamudu Bawumia to be so naive to even hope that he would be allowed to keep his job as the deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana. The soft-spoken gentleman took a leave of absence to vie for the second most important job in the land – the vice presidency. He failed to get it. As he licked his first political wounds, Bawumia might have been left completely confused and in his confusion, he just couldn’t cover his naivety.
I still can’t believe that days after the new president was sworn in, Bawumia woke up one morning, washed his face, brushed his teeth, took a bath, ate his breakfast, wore his suit, picked up his suitcase, went to sit in his car and drove through Accra’s traffic to the headquarters of the Bank of Ghana to sit in his old office. And he expected to be welcomed with open arms? What was he thinking?
As he run for the vice presidency, did he ever think that if he lost the bid he’d still be allowed back into his plush offices on High Street? If Bawumia ever thought this was going to happen, then I can’t help but wonder what sort of vice president he would have been. Out of touch and aloof?
We are told Bawumia is a very smart chap. He’s very competent and he’s like the Abedi Pele of the banking industry in Ghana. He has bright ideas and he’s able to get things done. His CV makes people like me feel like we never even sat in a classroom. Ghana needs people like him in public service. His decision to run with Akufo-Addo was influenced by a desire to work in a higher public office. It was a very noble thing he did. But he should have known from the moment he decided to become Nana Addo’s running mate that if things didn’t go the way he wanted, his position at the central bank would be untenable.
Politics is not like football, where your opponent today can very easily become your favourite playmate tomorrow. After standing on several political platforms to lambaste the NDC as a bunch of no-good politicians who will only stop the nation from “moving forward”, Bawumia’s naivety in thinking that an NDC government will look just upon his CV and allow him to stay on in one of the most sensitive offices in the country speaks volumes about who he is – a man with no political experience, who has lived a sheltered life (I wonder if he’s had Hausa ‘kooko’ in the past 20 years) and has lost complete touch with reality.
In an ideal world, I would say Bawumia should have been allowed to stay in his job – simply on the basis of the fact that there are few as qualified as he is for that position. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. We want to move beyond the petty politics and tap into all the finest brains in this country. But after the bitter campaign of the last few months, asking Atta Mills and his administration to allow Bawumia to stay on would have been a bit too much.
Under the circumstance, it is easier for President Mills to ask Paul Acquah to stay on as governor for a little longer because Dr. Acquah never mounted a political platform to condemn the NDC and its policy alternatives. Any expectation that Mills would have allowed Bawumia to keep his job as deputy governor of the central bank would have been as awkward as asking George Bush to appoint Osama bin Laden as his special envoy to the Middle East. Even Angel Gabriel didn’t want to work with Lucifer. That’s why singing archangel was cast down.
It has been suggested that Bawumia deliberately decided to return to work in order to get back his entitlements – or end of service benefits. This might be true. But, from what I’ve heard some of the people close to him say, it seems he really wanted that deputy governor’s job. You see, Bawumia is supremely qualified. If he places his CV in the newspapers to advertise himself as available for employment, he would get several international organisations seeking his services. But Bawumia would rather work here than move to the plushest workspace in Washington DC – away from his equally smart, forward-looking friends who are doing quite well here.
But he should have factored that into his decision to be Nana Addo’s running mate. He should have known this and quit honourably, without any fuss right after his bid failed. It would have saved him the embarrassment of being threatened to “jump or be pushed”. If the management of public toilets is changing hands with the new administration, how on earth could Bawumia have expected to retain his job at the Central Bank?
Obviously, from what has happened, he didn’t consider his future options. He – like Nana Addo and almost everyone else in the NPP – thought the elections was theirs to lose. And they lost – not just the election but his coveted job as well.
Having been forced to jump out, Bawumia has to start looking for a new job. It seems he doesn’t want to stay on in politics. He can’t do it. The guy has got the temperament of a doll, he suffers stage fright and he just can’t thrive on the rough and tumble of politics.
It’s very significant that as Nana Akufo-Addo tried to positions himself to lead the NPP into the 2012 polls, Bawumia was trying to get his job back at the Bank of Ghana. Politics is not in his blood and right now, it’s the last thing on his mind. Now he needs to find a job, doing what he loves – crunching numbers, moving and shaking them. He will most likely never venture into politics again. But he should be advised to cut all the deals he can, do the little he can to support the NPP – like pay his dues regularly – and who knows? If the party ever gets back into power, he might make a triumphant return to the Bank of Ghana – as Governor!