You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2015 04 11Article 354004

Opinions of Saturday, 11 April 2015

Columnist: The Catalyst Newspaper

Bawumia To Salvage Akufo-Addo’s Dwindling Fortunes?

From 6 Regions To 2:

There is every indication that the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) is in a huge dilemma about the effectiveness of its twice defeated flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the face of party’s 2016 campaign, making some party guru’s propose strongly that his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, act in his stead as the lead campaigner in the election which promises to be Nana Akufo-Addo’s last in his quest to become president.
None other than the chairman of the NPP, Mr Paul Afoko, seemed to have let the cat out of the box recently when he stated that Dr Bawumia is going to serve as the anchor of the party’s 2016 campaign. The proposition by the NPP chairman was firmly supported by another party guru, Dr Amoako Tuffuor, in an interview with Radio Gold’s morning show host, Alhassan Suhuyni.
In the 2000 election, former President Kufuor led the NPP as its flagbearer to win 6 out of the 10 regions in the country. There included Central, Western, Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern and Greater Accra regions, and this boosted the party’s chances of clinching victory in that election, as he was retained for a second term in office.
The Kufuor success story was however overturned by Nana Akufo-Addo in 2008 when he took his very first shot at the presidency in a keenly contested election that saw him bow to defeat in the hands of the late President John Evans Atta Mills. The NPP flagbearer then was able to win only two regions- Ashanti and Eastern, a feat he repeated in 2012 with a worse performance, as the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) John Mahama managed to marginally increase his party’s votes tally from the 2008 election.
Two main reasons are adduced for the Bawumia campaign-arrowhead proposition:

Akufo-Addo’s incapacitation?
Nana Akufo-Addo is suspected by many an NPP follower as being physically exhausted and may not be able to carry out a vigorous campaign against a formidable incumbent such as President John Mahama who appears to be having a smooth ride to leading the ruling party yet again as its flagbearer into the next election in a second term bid.
The opposition party is jittery about the survival of its flagbearer on the tedious campaign trail regarding his physical fitness and popular opinion has it that most of the physical job, such as the famous ‘door-to-door’ campaign, should be performed by Dr Bawumia to take stress off the back of his boss who would strategically make sporadic appearances to show himself to the electorate.
In that case, Dr Bawumia, the much younger and deemed to be far more energetic than the flagbearer is billed to carry the bulk of the NPP campaign on his shoulders. This is also to ensure that the NPP running mate protects his own stake as a potential vice president of Ghana should the NPP win the election.

Enter Bawumia
Due to the losing trend of Nana Akufo-Addo as showcased in the last two elections, some movers and shakers in the NPP have surreptitiously considered Dr Bawumia as the more reliable in terms of salvaging the party’s dwindling fortunes in major elections under the leadership of Nana Akufo-Addo, who has reduced the party’s winning regions from 6 under former President Kufuor to only 2 in the last two elections.
A careful plot has thus been hatched by the party gurus to use the obviously vulnerable Dr Bawumia in aiming at reversing the downward trend established by Nana Akufo-Addo, who they doubt has the required energy to effectively execute the all-important physical aspect of the campaign.
This is because Dr Bawumia, according to the assessment made, appears to have proven to be useful especially in the 2012 election when his many months of campaigning in the Northern region resulted in the NPP taking advantage of in-fighting within the NDC to snatch as many as 7 parliamentary seats from the ruling party in the region.
The NPP made major inroads in the Northern region in the 2012 parliamentary elections by increasing its parliamentary seats from 3 in 2008 to 10 in the last general elections.
The party succeeded in increasing its number of parliamentary seats from some hitherto NDC controlled areas in the 2008 polls, namely: Kpandai, Walewale, Tolon, Yendi, Yagaba/Kubori and Bunkpurugu, even though most of these seats were won by slim margins.

Expectation
Either of two things is expected to come out of this strategy: If it works, the glory will go to Nana Akufo-Addo as the man who, at long last, managed to win the election for the NPP. If the desired result is not achieved, Dr Bawumia will lose popularity within the party against any future consideration of him as a potential flagbearer of the NPP in line with the party’s philosophy of having only Akans as its flagbearer.

Big questions:
The big question is, can Dr Bawumia salvage Akufo-Addo’s losing ways and turn the party’s electoral fortunes around? And can he redeem his boss’ sinking image as a serial loser and put a smile on the faces of their party?