AFTER WAGING a grueling campaign to win a landslide victory at the National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential primary, Prof John Evans Atta Mills' headache has now been shifted to the choice of a running mate.
Prof Mills is set to make a break with history by appointing a running mate as early as possible instead of waiting till few months to general elections.
However, the difficulty facing the former vice president who had changed running mates twice, Daily Guide learnt, is the long list of probables, most of whom he is said to have personally assured, would be part of his ticket.
The list making the rounds indicates that Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni who partnered Prof Mills in the 2004 elections is making a strong case for his retention and the odds seem to favour him.
Others like John Dramani Mahama, MP for Bole Bamboi, referred to in party circles as J.D., Dr Benjamin Kumbuor, MP for Lawra-Nandom and Alban Sumanu Bagbin, Minority Leader and MP for Nadowli West are the other contenders for the Mills' “safe pair of hands”, position.
In the gender front, former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Betty-Mould Iddrisu, wife of failed presidential aspirant and former Minister of Defence, Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu's names have cropped up.
Nana Konadu, who has not hidden her ambition to head the country, is said to be ready to partner the Professor if selected, as a shortcut to actualising her dream.
However, her selection would face strong opposition even within the party, as the moderate forces who want a back stage role for party founder, Jerry John Rawlings, would race against such a move.
Their contention is that Mrs Rawlings' selection would provide ammunition to NDC opponents to hit at the party.
On the part of Betty Mould-Iddrisu, a Director at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, apart from gender, her Ga lineage was considered a great asset to the party.
Charming and intelligent, Betty had not been seen on the political platform before the Legon congress, where she accompanied her husband to receive the drubbing in the hands of Prof Mills.
However, whether Betty, a former Director at the Attorney General's Department and part- time lecturer in Copyright, at the Law Faculty of the University of Ghana, Legon, would quit her high profile job at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, is another story.
NDC sources told Daily Guide that apart from the personal qualities of the candidate, other criteria that would inform the selection of a running mate by the flagbearer were ethnic, religious and perhaps, profession.
Prof Mills has consistently demonstrated that he is in love with his chosen profession of law, as all his previous running mates had been lawyers.
Martin Amidu, former deputy Attorney General was given a tremendous political push, when he was selected in preference to his boss, Dr Obed Yao Asamoah, to partner Prof Mills in the 2000 elections.
The NDC was defeated in the December 7 elections and the run-off held on December 28. Ever since, Mr Amidu had taken a back seat, losing out to Alhaji Mumuni, also a lawyer, in 2004.
However, Alhaji Mumuni, former MP for Kumbungu and Minister of Employment and Social Service, could not join the Mills campaign in 2004, as he was bedridden during the entire campaign period, from a motor accident.
Alhaji Mumuni's destination at the time of the accident, which occurred two days after his introduction at an NDC rally in Cape Coast, is not yet to be told even though it was speculated that he was on a nocturnal adventure.
The former Kumbungu MP now says he is available to partner Prof Mills again.
The combative former Minister, Daily Guide learnt, may receive the nod, with his Islamic faith giving him an edge over other probables.
He strongly campaigned for Mills' re-election and graciously attended the Legon congress with his petit wife in flowing white satin lace.
Alhaji Mumuni was also at hand at Prof Mills' press soiree held at the Regimanuel Gray Estate Club House last week.
The NDC flagbearer's recent apparent attempt to whip up religious sentiments, as exhibited in his sudden appearance last week at the Hajj Camp at the Kotoka International Airport, is suggestive that the status quo would remain.
Party insiders are worried also about the constant change of running mate, making a strong case for the retention of Alhaji Mumuni.
However, a former broadcaster and an NDC insider was not charitable to the former MP, virtually describing him as a political liability.
According to him, the selection of Alhaji Mumuni would add only a few Andani votes to Prof Mills' kitty.
The broadcaster strongly rooted for John Mahama, saying he had to redeem NDC from its political wilderness.
However, John's difficulty is that he is not in the good books of the “oldman” at Ridge.
Jerry John Rawlings is not in favour of John Mahama, who is the NDC Director of Communications.
A communication expert, the Bole Bamboi MP had to abandon his presidential ambition because the former president was not in favour. Daily Guide learnt that Prof Mills also offered him the running mate slot in exchange of his support.
However, John's Christian background may not help him.
His wife, Lordina who was rumoured to have strongly opposed his selection as running mate in 2004 from fear of being crowned with the unenviable title of “Shadow President”, is said not to be convinced that Ghanaians were ready to give power back to the NDC.
In simple language, according to friends of JD, the Bole Bamboi MP is not interested in being Mills' running mate.
John refused to talk on the issue when Daily Guide approached him at the Legon congress.
But his two other northern brothers, Bagbin and Kumbuor, all lawyers' names are always making rounds in certain quarters for their strong consideration.
Kumbuor, like Martin Amidu, is a former law student of Mills at the Law Faculty, Legon.
He enjoys the support of former President Rawlings and his recent promotion as Minority Spokesman on Economic Affairs was a strong pointer.
NDC sources said the rationale behind Dr Ben Kumbuor's elevation was to prepare him for the task ahead. His Christian background also may not help him.
Bagbin's independent-mindedness may rob him of such portfolio as the power brokers at Ridge would not be comfortable with him taking up such a challenging job.