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General News of Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Source: The Al-Hajj

Akufo-Addo to step down: Bawumia to face Mahama in 2016?

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With Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s unprecedented hasty nomination of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia as running mate for the 2016 elections, it is now certain and tacitly confirmed as earlier publications of The aL-hAJJ indicated that the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) consummate economist is being prepared to take over the leadership of the party and come face-to-face with President John Dramani Mahama in the next presidential election.

Strange as this proposition may be, this newspaper can reveal that Nana Akufo-Addo would not be able to go through the punishing presidential electioneering campaign in the impending 2016 elections.

The reasons are: His age and increasing health challenges. He was said to have been warned by his doctors to choose between his life and the presidency.

While many unsuspecting supporters of the opposition NPP have been rejoicing over the twice defeated presidential candidate’s recent massive and landslide victory over his two contenders to maintain his flag bearer status, and are relishing how paradise Ghana will be under his presidency, the grim reality is that the 2016 presidential ballot paper will not contain the name of Nana Akufo-Addo.

Deep throat sources within the biggest opposition party have confirmed to The aL-hAJJ that the former Foreign Affairs Minister in the Kufuor administration has not departed from his “plan B”: Annexing the flag bearer post and later relinquishing it to his twice running-mate, Dr Bawumia as this paper reported earlier this year.

The hasty nomination of Dr Bawumia, when the 2016 elections is more than two years away, party sources alleged is part of the calculus of Nana Akufo-Addo and his acolytes to consolidate his takeover of the party to enable him install his favorite ‘political son’ as flag bearer in the event his fast advancing age and no too good health condition do not favour him in the run-up to the 2016 elections.

This idea, a source disclosed to The aL-hAJJ is also to ensure the party does not slip back into the hands and control of the Kufuor/Ashanti faction whom he (Nana Akufo-Addo) and his foremost aides like Gabby Asare-Otchere Darko, and Spokesperson Mustapha Hamid have consistently accused of plotting Nana Akufo-Addo’s defeat in the last two elections.

Earlier Exposé

Prior to Nana Akufo-Addo’s announcement to contest the NPP flag bearer post for the fourth time this year, (1998 inclusive) The aL-hAJJ in the February 20, and March 18 editions this year, revealed how the former Abuakwa South legislator, at the time cooling off in the United Kingdom, was engaged in serious political calculation and permutations with his inner cabinet on how to maintain his dominance in the party and control it affairs even if he were not to become the President of Ghana.

With health concerns and age staring him in the face, Nana Akufo-Addo and his close advisers allegedly settled on two alternate plans to drum home his age-old dream of having the NPP on his laps and being the fulcrum around which everything in the party would revolve.

Even before the two super congresses to elect the party’s 2016 presidential candidate, The aL-hAJJ reported that Nana Akufo-Addo’s presidential candidature in the next presidential election would depend on three major factors; the availability of resources between now and the start of 2016 official campaign, the outlook of the Mahama administration and his health and age. Nana Addo will be 73 years less 3 months to swearing-in date of January 7, 2017.

Party insiders say if Nana Akufo-Addo is able to harvest enough resources between his declaration as candidate and by election time in 2016, and he is also convinced by then the Mahama-led administration has performed poorly for which reason his chances of becoming president looks bright, he would defy all admonitions including those from his doctors who are citing his advance age and not too good health, to contest the 2016 presidential elections with Dr. Bawumia as his running mate.

However, in the event anyone or the two conditions go against him, but being the most popular person in the NPP presently, he Nana will contest the party’s flag bearer position nevertheless, and immediately after winning name Dr. Bawumia as his running mate only to cede the flag bearer position to him some few months to the 2016 general election.

According to our usual reliable sources within the party, few weeks before the official close of filing of nominations with the Electoral Commission, Nana Akufo-Addo would announce his withdrawal from the 2016 presidential polls, citing his doctors’ advice, by which time the NPP will find it difficult going for another congress and therefore, would be compelled under the circumstances to endorse his running mate, DrBawumia as its 2016 presidential candidate who will in turn name Mr Joe Ghartey, the MP for Esekado-Ketan and Second Deputy Speaker as his vice presidential candidate.

However, the NPP veteran politician who would be marking his 73rd birthday two months after been sworn into office as president on Jan 7, 2017, should he eventually be declared the winner of the 2016 polls; is expected to relinquish his new status before his 75th birthday to allow his vice, Bawumia take over,” the Tuesday, March 18, 2014 issue of The aL-hAJJ disclosed.

Testing the Waters for Bawumia

As part of clever plans to keep ‘the Bawumia for 2016 backup plan active,’ while it was being alleged in the media that Nana Akufo-Addo’s health condition was not the best in faraway UK, fanatics of the NPP flag bearer led by then General Secretary Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie started touting the former deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana as possible successor of the Akyem-Abuakwa born veteran politician.

In the mass media, youth groups were allegedly sponsored to float the candidature of Dr Bawumia and call on him to step in the shoes of his boss.

In the heat of the campaign, posters of the twice failed vice presidential candidate decked many streets and corner of the nook and cranny of the country.

The party’s youth wing in the Dorma East constituency took on the challenge and started championing the flagbearship bid of the former deputy Governor.

When it appeared the campaign was not getting the needed attention, then General Secretary, Sir John, ignoring the party’s constitution which bars executives from openly declaring support for one candidate or the other, publicly announce on Citi Fm on Monday, February 17, 2014 that the NPP will support Dr Bawumia to lead the party if Nana Akufo-Addo decides not to contest.

Sir John in his usual bragging tone said, “We will not send Bawumia to the gallows as you did to defend this party and then when it comes to the ultimate, he will not be there. He will be there and I am sure all the others will come; those who see themselves as presidential materials, they will all come… “And I have no doubt in my mind that even those who are opposed to it, privately are happy that I have made that statement.”

The Denial

As usual of all politicians, Nana Akufo-Addo’s office immediately denied the story when it broke and went further to issue a statement rubbishing The aL-hAJJ’s revelation.

The statement, which was signed by one Kow Essuman, stated ‘we wish to assure the good people of Ghana that the story is entirely false. This alleged news item only exemplifies the unacceptable face of creative journalism which seems to be the specialty of The Al-Hajj newspaper.’

As if that was not enough, social media commentators and party spokesperson took a swipe at the paper and described it in all manner of unprintable words.

The Big Confirmation

Nana Akufo-Addo’s unprecedented, hasty and unusual manner of announcing running mates with over two years into 2016 elections, and as reported by The aL-hAJJ, has given credence that Dr. Bawumia would take over the flag bearer post and lead the NPP against NDC’s John Mahama in 2016.

Dr. Bawumia’s early nomination and swift confirmation, many party insiders say was done to keep the former deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana on the sidelines for a much bigger announcement few months to the election which will see him come face-to-face with his fellow Northerner President, John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress.

However, it is being speculated that should the Bawumia for 2016 plan work out, and without any hitches, the former deputy Governor will name the MP for Essekado-Ketan, Joe Ghartey, who pulled out of the flag bearer race in support of Nana Akufo-Addo, as his running mate.

This is to sweep votes in the Central and Western regions to consolidate the NPP’s votes in other parts of the country with the view of snatching the leadership of the party from the ruling party.

But latest information from the Nana Akufo-Addo camp suggests that Joe Ghartey has been dumped for astute Dan Botwe, who is the MP for Okere and Minority Chief Whip in Parliament.

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