Bawumia’s Running-Mate Must Command Widespread Respect, Confidence and Trust, Not Cheap Popularity

Feature Article Bawumias Running-Mate Must Command Widespread Respect, Confidence and Trust, Not Cheap Popularity

Any attempt to stampede the 2024 Presidential Candidate into selecting his Running-Mate on the run, as it were, is highly unlikely to redound to the benefit of both Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia and the entire institutional establishment of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in both the short- and the long-term (See “Running Mate: Your Delays Are Creating Enemies, Giving Us Sleepless Night[s] – COKA to Bawumia” 4/10/24). Right now, the most significant challenge for the ruling party, ahead of the landmark and watershed 2024 General Election, in particular the 2024 Presidential Election, is for Team Bawumia to assiduously work around the clock to ensure that its national-development agenda and the best qualified and the most talented pools and banks of first-rate technocrats and agenda-setters are firmly in place.

Don’t get me wrong, Dear Reader, personalities are important, in terms of caliber and resourcefulness; but the 2024 General Election is at heart not a mere contest of popularity, not even the 2024 Presidential Election. Consequently, anybody suffering from anxiety and/or sleepless nights, as is being reported about a so-called Odeneho Kwaku Appiah, described as “a prominent figure of the New Patriotic Party” by the media, may very well have registered for membership in the wrong political party. You see, we are not about myopically pampering and nursing the egos of any megalomaniacal upstarts here. The sort of governance and political culture opted for by the leadership and the key operatives of the New Patriotic Party entails a lot of intellectual heavy-lifting and clarity of thinking and visionary acumen.

As for the rather lame and bizarre idea that any delays in the selection of Vice-President Bawumia’s Running-Mate is causing great distress and “internal discord” within the party is decidedly hogwash. And just precisely what sort of internal discord is Mr. Kwaku Appiah talking about here that did not already exist in the party, until Alhaji Bawumia peremptorily put all such whining and cabalistic backbiting in the party to rest with his landslide victory in the November 4, 2023, party’s Presidential Primary? Any member of the New Patriotic Party who is reasonably old enough and has been around long enough is perfectly aware of the fact that heading into the 2008 Presidential-Election Primary and far well beyond, Nana Akufo-Addo’s Running-Mate was not anywhere near or among the most popular key operatives and the top leadership of the New Patriotic Party.

And yet, contrary to what the amnesiac likes of Mr. Kwaku Appiah would have the rest of us believe, the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana had been promptly selected by the now-President Akufo-Addo, who would proceed to team up with “Mr. Pink Sheets,” as Alhaji Bawumia became popularly known in the wake of the Akufo-Addo-led 2012-13 Presidential-Election Petition, for the next two electoral seasons. None of us avid and studious observers of New Patriotic Party political culture have forgotten the oceanic swell of criticism that dogged and sandbagged Nana Akufo-Addo for at least the next 8 years vis-à-vis the paradigmatically radical and seismic shift, in retrospect, away from the party leadership’s “Dynastic Mindset” and thinking to one of a robust democratic regime, where party leadership was squarely based on merit and competence, rather than sheer membership longevity or how long any member or Presidential-Candidacy Aspirant had literally been standing on the queue or “on the line,” as former President John “The Gentle Giant” Agyekum-Kufuor was widely known to say.

If, indeed, Mr. Appiah means to have Vice-President Bawumia take a cue or two from a maverick lame-duck President Akufo-Addo, then he had better disabuse his mind of the bizarre notion that, somehow, there is one potential Presidential Candidate who “commands significant support from the Asante Region, who could substantially contribute to the NPP’s electoral success in 2024.” That may really be something worth factoring into the criteria or the equation for the selection of the Running-Mate for the Oxbridge- and the Simon Fraser-educated native of Walewale, in the Akufo-Addo-created North-East Region. But, of course, we also need to factor into the reckoning the fact that, presently, the country is composed of some 16 administrative regions, which means that wining the Asante Region, even with upwards of 80-percent of the votes, as the Akufo-Addo Presidential Chief-of-Staff, Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, was recently reported by the media to have observed, would not be nearly adequate to retain the New Patriotic Party past the Jinxy-8, come January 7, 2025.

And just why so? Well, simply because the total number of electoral registrants in Ghana’s most populous region comes to just a little under 30-percent, or perhaps even significantly less. Which means that selecting a candidate with commanding popularity in the Asante Region may not necessarily translate into equal popularity in the other 15 regions of the country. Plus, critics like Mr. Appiah need to bear in mind that Candidate Bawumia would be fiercely facing off against a former presidential incumbent who has also served in the capacity of Vice-President under the “mysteriously vanished” President John Evans Atta-Mills, the very first Fourth-Republican Ghanaian Leader to have perished in office.

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
Professor Emeritus, Department of English
SUNY-Nassau Community College
Garden City, New York
April 10, 2024
E-mail: [email protected]