The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, yesterday called on the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, at his residence in Accra to formally inform him about and seek his blessings for his nomination, for the fourth time, by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the President’s running mate for the December 2020 presidential election.
Dr Bawumia was accompanied by the National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Freddie Wosemawu Blay, and the Member of Parliament (MP) for Okaikwei Central, Mr Patrick Boamah.
On the development of Zongos in the country, the Vice-President said the government had embarked on many initiatives to turn the conditions of people in Zongos around.
“We have done something in the last three years to show our commitment to the Zongo communities and inner cities, and for the Chief Imam and Muslims in general. This is just the beginning; President Akufo-Addo is asking the people for four more years to do more because we believe we can do more,” he said.
According to him, it was a promise by President Akufo-Addo to the National Chief Imam in the run-up to the 2016 elections to run an inclusive government by prioritising the interests of Muslims and the Zongos if he was elected.
To that end, he said, the NPP, in its 2016 manifesto, identified education as one of the sectors the government would pay attention to in those communities when offered the mandate, adding that the only way a community could sustainably break out of poverty was through education.
“The other was to look for a vehicle that will prioritise development in Zongos because we wanted to move away from the rice and sugar type of development and focus on the real needs of the people,” the Vice-President said.
He said It was in that context that President Akufo-Addo established the Ministry of Inner Cities and Zongo Development.
“For the first time, we have a ministry that is dedicated to the Zongos and Inner cities that has provided a lot of infrastructure development, such as classroom blocks, toilets and water, and is also addressing the needs of many in the Zongos,” he said.
On education, Dr Bawumia said it was in line with the determination to develop the potential of the youth in those communities that the government sent 40 students from the two under-served areas to Cuba to study medicine.
“The Ministry of Zongos and Inner Cities and the Zongo Development Fund, in conjunction with my office, were able to send 40 students to Cuba to study medicine and we want to continue this, going forward.
“So President Akufo-Addo has really fulfilled his promise in these two major areas,” he added.
He also said the free senior high school (SHS) had brought a major relief to many parents in the Zongo communities, and that there was now no excuse for any child in the community to be denied education.
For his part, Mr Blay described Sheikh Sharubutu as a symbol of unity and peace and an inspirer whose utterances and exemplary leadership had brought Ghanaians together.
He acknowledged the overwhelming support of the National Chief Imam to the government and asked for his continuous prayers.
The Chief Imam prayed for Dr Bawumia, President Akufo-Addo and the country, saying he was grateful to God for how far he had brought Ghana.
Sheikh Sharubutu also prayed for peace and prosperity for the country as it prepared for this year’s general election in December.