The Havana version of Mr. Jerry John Rawlings' Swedru Declaration for Prof. John Evans Atta Mills was certainly the immediate cause of affable John Dramani Mahama's decision to shelve his National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearership dream.
Word reached Daily Guide that the Bole Member of Parliament (MP) had planned to go to Jerry's Ridge residence with his dream, but for the Havana revelation about what is in the heart of the NDC founder.
Ridge had sent mixed signals about who the party founder would back in the race. At a point, it looked like Jerry was for Spio but at another time, the pendulum appeared to have swung towards Eddie Annan with whom he even traveled abroad.
The subtle declaration in Havana was thus a major announcement that eliminated the uncertainties surrounding who the founder would endorse. There was no need therefore for John to risk displeasing the former president at a time like this, because that would certainly be counter-productive.
Mr. Rawlings, without doubt, wields a certain power over the party's delegates, as was evidenced in the ill-fated Koforidua congress of the party. For political observers, John's decision was the sanest, under the circumstances.
John Mahama does not seem to have confidence in Prof Mills, as regards making good his promises, especially since the man disappointed him in the 2000 race.
The law teacher reneged on his promise to let the Gonja man partner him and instead, picked the Kumbungu man, Lawyer Mohammed Mumuni. The Bole MP would take another such promise from the thrice-defeated Prof Mills with a pinch of salt, as he appears to be brushing aside the running mate idea. For him, the subject has not yet been discussed.
Even his wife, Lordina, was not in favour of her husband partnering the law teacher because of her non-confidence in an NDC win in the polls in the early days.
In such a circumstance, his political career could suffer a major setback, and she would not want this to befall her husband.
Northern MPs from the NDC fold have been supportive of a John Mahama flagbearership of the party since according to them, a Northern flagbearer would not be an outrageous idea.
His exit from the race therefore is a disappointment to the MPs and some northern elements up-North. John Mahama is a product of Ghana Secondary School, Tamale and the University of Ghana. His father was a leading CPP man, the late Mr. E.A. Mahama who died a few years ago.
John is reported to have said that he arrived at the decision after an extensive consultation with a cross section of party members and other stakeholders. The decision was a difficult one, he said, adding that he took it in the supreme interest of the NDC which is preparing for the forthcoming 2008 elections.
With a touch of philosophy, John said although he had all the qualities to aspire for the topmost position of the land, he thought it was not time yet for him to do so.
“The conditions that exist now are not yet conducive for me to be effective and have the ability to provide the kind of leadership that his country needs to overcome its challenges. It is often said that God's time is the best, and I believe that God willing I would have the opportunity at a later time to seek such high office,” he said, to bring this chapter which had made many rounds on the political terrain to a close.
The Mills camp might have heaved a sigh of relief at the development but the other contenders too are not walk-overs and so it is not yet uhuru. The remaining contestants are Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama and Mr. Eddie Annan.
Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama's advantage in the Northern regions and the Zongos, especially with John out of the way should give his competitors cause for concern.
John Mahama was born into a Muslim home, hence though a Christian, is not a novice to Islamic doctrines because many of his siblings are practicing Muslims. He speaks Hausa fluently and can manage the language on a campaign platform in a typical Zongo.
Former President Rawlings broke the ice over the NDC flagbearership race which has assumed a heated dimension these past few weeks, when he re-enacted the Swedru declaration in the Cuban capital, Havana by rooting for his former vice president.
He rubbished media speculations that he was not going to support a Prof Mills' flagbearership when he expressed his conviction that the NDC would give Prof Mills the last chance in the name of party unity.
According to him, the NDC, regarded by many as his property, has remained strong and united since the 2000 elections. It can only be conjectured what the reactions of the other flagbearership aspirants of the NDC are going to be in the face of the Rawlings endorsement of Prof Mills.