When the General Secretary of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, somewhat compromised his position to announce Dr Mahamudu Bawumia as the party’s 2016 flag bearer in the event Nana Akufo decides not to run, he may just be stating the obvious as both former President Kufuor and the twice defeated presidential candidate Nana Akufo Addo, have all endorsed the former deputy Governor of the Central Bank.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is cooling off in his ‘hide out’ in far-away UK has finally thrown in the towel on his wildly rumored third term bid for the presidency due to old age and health concerns.
And as part of the strategy to remain politically relevant in the NPP even when he has decided not to engage in active politics, he has anointed his twice- failed political partner, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to lead the party into the 2016 elections.
Surprisingly, former President Kufuor who has over the years been championing for his own choice of flag bearer for the party has also endorsed Dr Bawumia even before Akufo Addo’s validation.
However, the snag was that the two NPP political giants had to enter into a pact to also endorse the Member of Parliament for Esekado-Ketan, Mr Joe Ghartey, as running mate.
In effect, whiles the former Abuakwa South legislator proposed the flag bearer, former President John Agyekum Kufuor also proposed the running mate in order to present a united squad for 2016 presidential election and ensure that President Mahama becomes a one term president.
The choice of Dr. Bawumia, though was strongly resisted by some key members of the Ashanti/Akyem stock, is to clear the age-long Akan tag on the NPP and to win enough votes to beef-up the party’s traditional Ashanti and Akyem votes.
Mr. Joe Ghartey’s choice as running mate, on the other hand was to snatch back the Western and Central regions from the ruling NDC and also to dispel suggestions that leadership of the party is a swing between Ashantis and Akyems in the party.
Though some kingpins of the NPP have also shown interest in contesting the flag bearer ship, Nana Akufo-Addo, who is enjoying considerable popularity in the party and former President John Kufuor, who also has a hold on a large proportion of the party, have vowed to install Dr. Bawumia as leader of the party.
The choice of Dr. Bawumia, according to party insiders is also based on his economic prowess and the level of intelligence he demonstrated when he represented the party as its key witness in the novel election petition hearing.
Those championing this ticket are of the firm belief that given Dr. Bawumia’s background as an astute economist and Mr. Joe Ghartey’s knowledge as a lawyer, a former Attorney General and a legislator of several years, the duo stand the chance of turning the NPP on its winning ways and subsequently revive the fortunes of the country.
This paper has gathered that though Nana Akufo-Addo and former President Kufuor have agreed to a Dr.Bawumia/Joy Ghartey ticket for 2016, they are miles away from each other regarding support for individuals contesting national executive positions.
The former Foreign Affairs Minister is said to have endorsed Jake Obetsebi Lamptey or Fred Oware and Sir John, for Chairmanship and General Secretary respectively; whiles former President Kufuor has also endorsed Paul Afoko for Chairman and Kwabena Agyepong for General Secretary.
Though Mr. Paul Afoko is yet to scale through the vetting process as there is an impending petition to the vetting committee on his candidature, it appears former President Kufuor’s men would beat Nana Akufo-Addo’s apostles to the National Chairman and General Secretary positions.