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Meet Abdul Rauf, A 28 - Year - Old KNUST Student Making Waves With His Parliamentary Ambition

Rauf speaks to the media after filling his nomination papers
Sulemana Abdul Rauf is a block chain expert, social worker, anticorruptionist and NPP’s parliamentary candidate aspirant in the Kumbungu Constituency of the Northern region. 

Rauf, nicknamed, GOVERNOR, is also a final year student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, studying logistics and supply chain management. He is also Country Director for AERYUS Ghana, a subsidiary of USA-based blockchain technology solutions company. 

The 28 – year – old prides his upbringing as the reason he identifies with the New Patriotic Party, a liberal conservative and current ruling party in Ghana. He describes the neighborhood he was born into as the ‘Bantama’ of Kumbungu, meaning, it is the stronghold of the NPP.

His elder brother, Sadik Nabicheinga, is a leading member of the Busia-Danquah-Dombo tradition and recently lost a bid to become national organiser of the party. Rauf’s frightening humility endeared him to both young and old alike. 

Since declaring his legislative ambition, Sulemana Abdul Rauf has seen his popularity skyrocketed. From close quarters, there were people that met Rauf’s decision with disbelief and some even dismissed his chances entirely. He then gets to work, arranging what arguably is the most youthful and vibrant campaign team in the history of Ghana. 

The affable young man has already picked, filed his parliamentary nomination papers and recently appeared before a candidate vetting panel where he was assessed and approved for the September contest. Whiles undergoing these bureaucracies, Rauf and his team have also been crisscrossing the Kumbungu constituency, selling messages of hope, youth and women empowerment as well as job creation to party delegates and constituents alike. His messages have been bought because he has become the talk of town - the new face of Kumbungu. 

Many that initially disregarded him have accepted his quest, following him now like army recruits will follow their commander into battles. His YOUTH AGENDA movement, established to mobilise young people to support his bid is already gaining notoriety on various social media platforms. People Rauf will need to see a big man who may also have to see another big man to help arrange encounters have begun reaching out to him. For most of them, Rauf has only before heard their names or seen them on TV. Rauf is relishing his new experience and says it refreshing to have to receive motivating and assuring phone calls, every now and then, from very influential and doyens of Ghanaian politics. 

But beyond Rauf's new found adventure, what is it about him many more will want to know?

First, Sulemana Abdul Rauf is not new to providing leadership and service. These ideals have been part of him like the tiger's spot since his birth on November 23, 1991. Born to peasant farmer father, Mohammed Sulemana and petty-trader Mother, Salamatu Mahamadu, fondly referred to by neighbours as 'Maame', Rauf will rise to play significant leadership roles in every institution he attends in bids to secure formal education. 

First, attending the Kumbungu D/A Primary School and afterwards proceeded to the Kumbungu D/A Junior Secondary School where he will become the school prefect. In 2008, Rauf entered Business Secondary School in Tamale to read General Arts. At Bisco, he later made unsuccessful bid to become the senior prefect again. He passed his WASSCE with distinction paving way for him to study supply chain management at the now, Sunyani Technical University, between 2013 and the year 2016. 

Rauf on campaign trail 

In the Brong Ahafo region, Rauf will become household name as he was regular representative for the NPP on Sunyani-based Moonlight Radio, defending and marketing the party's policies and helping keep the then NDC government on it toes. He was pioneer president of the procurement and supply chain department of the Sunyani Polytechnic. He also became the only student member of the school’s judiciary committee. The height and most notable of all Rauf’s accomplishments was when as an avowed member of the NPP, he on several occasions chaired meetings of TEIN, a student network of the NDC, his party’s main political adversary. 

Abdul Rauf and his team after appearing before parliamentary candidate vetting panel

These days, in Ghanaian partisan politics, two things decide who gets to serve – money and track records. Rauf admits commercialization of our politics is a challenge but says he has enough resources to mobilise people and to fund his campaign activities. 

As for achievements, Rauf has plethora of them. For years, he has been at the forefront of championing youth and women empowerment with his GiveDirect Non – Government Organisation. The young man has been involved with philanthropic activities including organizing medical outreaches, equipping young people with vocational and technical skills training as well as championing efforts to have many females access education in Kumbungu areas and beyond. As a facilitator at GiveDirect, Rauf along with his American donors have been supporting nearly 200 women in the Kumbungu, Savelugu and Tolon districts with monthly cash packages of at least Ghc 1000 each to support their businesses and improve their livelihoods. 

Rauf poses with some women beneficiaries of GiveDirect
In the coming weeks, Rauf will launch what he calls District Builders Program which will see over hundred young men and women receive technical and vocational skills training. The youth will be trained as electricians, auto mechanics, beauticians and carpenters and will then be giving startup capital to start their own enterprises. 

Candidate Rauf says what he has done for the people of Kumbungu as a private individual, no persons, successive members of parliament inclusive, have been able to since the creation of the constituency. 

If the man has achieved this lot as an individual, why the need to want to represent his people in parliament? 

Rauf tells me his desire is, “to connect what has been disconnected.” As a social worker, Rauf has interacted with persons from all walks of life within the constituency and has been able to notice a certain disconnect between the people and their political representatives. According to him, the people have no access to their leaders and as result leadership is unable to identify what initiatives will best benefit the people. The experiences Rauf has garnered over the years as a social worker means he is in the best position to understand the people and their needs. 

As MP, He wants to take leadership to the door steps of people in the remotest of communities. He will facilitate the youth access to quality education and provide them with jobs. He will ensure healthcare is accessible and provide credit facility to women to strengthen and sustain their businesses. 

He will provide modern day equipment to farmers in an effort to boost agriculture which is the main economic activity in the Kumbungu area. At party level, Rauf envisions a welfare fund, which will be used to run the party’s constituency secretariat and facilitate the executives’ participation in social events, in and around Kumbungu. In effect, Rauf wants to be the people’s politician by providing leadership which will mean a shift from the norm of having to do mediocre things everyday and hoping to get good outcomes. 

Reach out and touch your dreams Don’t let them tell you it is impossible That is what they told all heroes before In the hero’s mind the word impossible does not exist 

Above are words from Lucky Dube’s touch your dream song where he admonishes his audience not be deterred by the utterances of others in their quest to achieve glory. Rauf seems to be taking inspiration from the words of the South African reggae musician because you cannot pass him without noticing his enormous self conviction. 

He sees nothing in anything he wants to do than success. For Rauf, nothing will undermine his pursuit to becoming a lawmaker. Not even the September internal polls where he is in contention for the parliamentary candidature position with two others, a sitting DCE, Hon. Abdul Salam Hamza and a legal luminary, Umar Abdul Hamid. Even the fact that his party, the NPP, has never won the Kumbungu parliamentary seat since Ghana’s return to multiparty democracy is not enough to conquer his winning mentality. Rauf’s friends testify that his insuperable spirit is legendary. 

‘’What’s impressive about Rauf is his can – do attitude. A lot of times, we sit back and look at some things as not doable. He intervenes and it is done,’’ Issahak Mubarik, a childhood friend and campaign coordinator said of Rauf during a recent interview on Tamale-based Bishara Radio. 

 If Rauf gets the nod to represent his party as parliamentary candidate, his main opponent for next year’s general election will be a lecturer at the University for Development Studies, Dr Adam Hamza, who won the recent NDC primaries in the Kumbungu constituency. Already, He savors the contest but admits it will be a difficult challenge. 

For Sulemana Abdul Rauf, nothing is more motivating and inspiring than himself. What pushes him is the desire to want to perform better than before. In this contest, he understands friends will made as well as foes. Irrespective of what happens, Rauf he cannot afford any distraction from ascertaining the ultimate goal – that is to serve his people. For now, he basks in the fame of his new found venture.

The writer is Iddrisu Zakaria Baba, a Tamale-based blogger. His email address is You can reach him on phone via 0500184800. 

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