The President has once again thrown the spanner into the NPP’s presidential nomination, which as the party’s internal election timetable suggests, shall be held late 2022.
At a meeting with the Overlord of Asante, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the President once again set many NPP members and supporters on the edge, with his choice of preferred candidate for the NPP’s flagbearer-ship position.
It’s an open secret within the NPP that the President’s choice of his successor is Vice President, Alhai Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. Indeed, the President virtually confirmed his support for the Vice President at the latter’s home town of Walewale, sometime this year. That’s when the President alluded that the Vice President has been the "Best number two man in the 4th Republic".
This is what the President on Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, said to the Chiefs and people of Walewale, at the commencement of the President’s two-day tour of the North East Region.
President Akufo-Addo who was in the company of his Vice President said, ”I want to end by saying a big thank you to the people of the North East Region, especially to the people of Walewale. You have given me a first-class assistant in the form of the Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia. He has been of great help to me and my government.”
This commendation, according to some governance experts like the former UN Advisor on Good Governance ,Professor Baffour Agyeman-Dua, "it's a clear endorsement for Dr. Bawumia to take over from him (President) when he ends his second term".
He continued: “The position of the President on who leads the NPP in 2024 is now clear, it’s his Vice President that he wants”, Prof.Agyeman-Dua disclosed in an exclusive interview.
Party chairman, Freddy Blay stated the obvious, when he told a section of the media there was absolutely nothing wrong with the President supporting his Vice President. Although the President failed to reveal his intent in black and white, the interpretation given by the NPP chairman to the President’s commendation of his Vice, set the NPP on the edge.
Many however, refused to make any capital out of the President’s statement, arguing, a precedent in relation to the subject was set when an NPP administration of President Kufuor, was in power from January, 2001 to January, 2009. There was the silence believe that President Kufuor at the time, supported the candidature of Mr. Alan Kyerematen.
Significantly, Alan is one of the two forerunners in the upcoming NPP presidential nomination. The open commendation of his Vice President thus made many NPP folks conclude that the President was all out for the candidature of Dr. Bawumia.
But that viewpoint seems to be shifting with party members, supporters and other political watchers giving varied interpretations to what the President told the Asantehene about two other potential NPP nominee candidates—Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen and Dr. Afriyie Akoto.
“Nana let me introduce my team,” the President started, adding “This is your grandson Dr. Afriyie Akoto, my Agric Minister who wants to become the President. Sitting next to the Agric. Minister is Mr. Kyerematen”, the President introduced the two gentlemen.
The President introduced the two to the Asanteman Overlord and further continued: “Nana, this is Alan Kyeremanten, he has been vying for my seat for a very long time, a very workaholic Minister,” he chuckled amidst loud noise from the crowd gathered at Manhyia.
The two had accompanied the President to Manhyia as part of the President’s visit to the Manhyia Palace. So why did the President single out Mr. Kyerematen for praise? Is it that the President was genuinely praising Alan for a good job in his administration? Or that he doesn't supports any of those being touted as possible candidate?
The premise here that why will the President speak eloquently of both Alan and Bawumia? Whatever the situation maybe, expect supporters of the potential presidential candidate to make a run with President’s commendation of Alan.
Although the ruling party has over a year and the half to open nominations for its presidential primaries ahead of the 2024 General Elections, it’s obvious who are interested in the NPP presidential nomination. Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto and the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia look to be the front three pick of the bookmakers.
Until this latest development, many political pundits including some rank and file of the NPP, had believed the President’s favourite for the NPP presidential nomination was his Vice President. However, a leading member of the NPP, Kwabena Sarpong, like many others, thinks otherwise after the President’s Manhyia commendation of especially Mr. Alan Kyerematen on Friday, October 1,2021.
Commenting on the President's pronouncement, Mr. Sarpong said, “the introduction of the two Cabinet Ministers by the President, meant that he “prefers Alan to Afriyie Akoto and the rest. Critically if you analyse the statement by the President, it means he wants Alan to succeed him.” He further quizzed “Who doesn’t want hardworking person to take over from him"?
The opposition National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) communication member, Kwaku Asare Agyekum who was sharing same media platform with Mr. Sarpong, couldn’t agree more with the NPP man and advised anyone, including the Vice President, eyeing the flagbearer-ship slot of the NPP, to revise their notes.
The NPP has barred party members from campaigning openly ahead of the party’s presidential primaries which is slated for late 2022 or early 2023. The party has issued a code of conduct to all aspiring presidential candidates and their supporters and warned of punitive action, if any potential candidate flouts the order.
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