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Opinions of Sunday, 11 April 2021

Columnist: Zambaga Rufai Saminu

Presidency heading north... But, NDC-NPP undecided

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, vice president of Ghana Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, vice president of Ghana

Many Ghanaian political pundits and observers have predicted that the next President of the country could come from the North.

In the NPP, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the current Vice President seems to lead the pack, as most promising presidential material, constantly been endorsed by important personalities and interest groups in and outside of the political space.

Hajia Alima Mahama, Ghana's Ambassador to the United States of America, has also been pencilled as one of the potential Presidential materials although she lost narrowly to Dr Bawumia when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo initially nominated her.

This was met with chagrin disapproval of late Mrs Gladys Asmah and her women groups who jumped in 3 buses from Western and Central and angrily visited Nana Addo in Accra to warn him against the decision.

Lawyer Ambrose Derry, Minister for Interior, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Joseph Kofi Kowe Adda, former Minister for Aviation, Mohammed Amin Adam, former Deputy Minister of Energy, among others, have all been tipped as potential running mates to a southern presidential candidate in the camp of the NPP

On the other hand, former President John Dramani Mahama still appears as favourite presidential material from the North to lead the NDC. Following him closely are, Dr Nashiru Issahaku, former Governor of Bank of Ghana, Haruna Iddirisu, Minority leader, and Member of Parliament for Tamale South, Right Honorable Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, Inusah Fuseini, former Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Isaac Adongo, Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central., Mahama Ayariga, Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Rashid Pelpuo, Member of Parliament for Wa Central, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, former Minister for Foreign Affairs among others, have all been described as presidential materials who could lead as flag bearers or running mates in the scheme of pairing the ticket of the NDC.

This means, one of the aforementioned personalities could lead the country or serve as vice president of the land after the 2024 elections.

As to which part of the North, only the outcome of the Presidential primaries of the leading political parties will determine this vexatious conundrum.

While the North stands the chance of producing the next President or Vice President as being examined and pushed grudgingly by critical minds in the political circles, others who do not subscribe to this ubiquitous arrangement of North-South "ding dong" have equally projected that another Region, instead of the North, could pull a chilling surprise with the burning spring force of delegates at the Presidential primaries.

Already, supporters of potential presidential candidates from the largest opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) have started jostling on social media to secure attention for their prefered presidential candidates.

The last laugh will however be recorded during the primaries of the two major political parties when delegates with the mandate will have an opportunity to settle on the right candidates to lead their respective political parties into the 2024 general elections.

Whilst this prevailing debate on presidential candidates characteristically continues to gain currency across the country, majority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu decided to bell the cat, with the infamous pronouncement that his party, NPP, must look to the North for a candidate to dispel the notion that the New Patriotic Party was largely an Akan party as speculatively being held by their opponents.

Enter Boakye Agyarko, former Minister of Energy, Joe Ghartey, former Minister of Railways, Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe, founding member of NPP, all three leading members of the NPP coming from the south, angrily shredding the notion furthered by the experienced lawmaker with thunderous public criticism for daring to bluntly share his personal opinion on the complex matter

They want the party to use the NPP constitution to provide a fair playing ground for all aspiring Presidential candidates, backed by democratic tenets as must be upheld, and rule of law as contained in the party's good books projected, and competency allowed to simmer during the contest to elect the next Presidential candidate of the party.

In the camp of the NDC, those working on the ground to see off the back of President John Dramani Mahama have already begun the campaign for accountability, change of candidate and change of all national executives supporting him among other notable demands being made.

Except for Dr Issahaku Nashiru, the former governor of Bank of Ghana who has not yet tasted the bitter pills of internal political heat, the minority leader, Haruna Iddirisu has received the baptism of fire to be changed as leader of the minority caucus in Parliament, an outside door psychologically opened to make him unpopular against his presidential chances.

This is because, a southern presidential candidate in NDC will most likely choose Alban Bagbin, the speaker of Parliament or the likeable, desirable, affable, reliable Haruna Iddirisu as a running mate. He remains one politician who has not only carved a niche for himself, the North, but for Ghana.

The victory of President John Dramani Mahama in the Presidential primaries of NDC, will however susceptibly scatter the chances of all Northern Presidential hopefuls including the Minority leader.

Therefore, at this moment of Ghana's political calendar, the Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu and the majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, are sharing same chances of tasting the Presidency with the golden key of Parliament in their hands should they succeed eventually.

Their chances obviously depend on the presidential candidates their parent parties will choose during presidential primaries.

In NPP, if Dr Mahamudu Bawumia or any Northerner emerges as flag bearer, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu will automatically compete with Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremateng, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Minister for Energy, Joe Ghartey, Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan Constituency, Ursula Owusu, Minister for Communications, Ken Ofori Atta, Minister for Finance among others for running mate position.

In the NDC, if Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Member of Parliament for Ellembelle, Professor Joshua Alabey, immediate past campaign manager of NDC, Spio Garbrah, former Minister of State, Kwesi Ahoi, former Minister of Agriculture, Gusi Tanoh, former founder of National Reform Party, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman, running mate of NDC in 2020 general elections, among others, emerge, Presidential candidates, obviously, he will stand the chance more than anyone in securing the running mate slot of his party because he has the support base to bring to the table.

Therefore, his chances of tasting the presidential slot will heavily depend on a southern Presidential candidate just as Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu on a Northern Presidential candidate.