NPP Running mate: What NAPO brings - former GES Director-General writes

Survival in politics is translated as winning, and that is exactly what presidential nominees have in mind when choosing a running mate. 
(Danny M. Adkison, 1982)


One thing led to the other! First was the publication of the results of the polls conducted by National Investigative Bureau (NIB), followed by a similar study by Danquah Institute and then the flag bearer’s visit to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, then the Majority Leader sends a message to the Majority Caucus, conveying the flag bearer’s choice of running mate. 

For many members and sympathisers of the NPP and indeed many political analysts, watchers and enthusiasts, mentioning of the name of the Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (NAPO), Member of Parliament (MP), as the running mate was a matter of course. 
We all, however, had to patiently wait because, according to the NPP’s constitution: “The Party’s Presidential Candidate (flag bearer) shall, in consultation with National Council, nominate the Vice-Presidential Candidate (running mate)” (Article 13.3.1).

Vice-Presidential candidate

Per the NPP constitution, the flag bearer was expected to have named his running mate somewhere last December 2023.  

However, as later announced by the party’s General Secretary, the flag bearer requested that he is given a bit more time to consult widely before he presents a name.

This request was granted on the strength of the same article, which further says: The National Council may, however, dispense with this requirement under special circumstances” (SIC).

Electorally Appealing candidate

Dr Bawumia is expected to present NAPO to the National Council of the party for their endorsement Thursday [July 4, 2024], hence, we do not know of his reasons for his choice yet. 

We can, however, hazard some of the reasons from his exclusive interview with Africawatch Magazine (April/May 2024 edition). On page 11 of that interview, the flag bearer gave a hint of some of the things that may have informed his decision: “A running mate selection can be looked at from many angles but I will not rule out trust, loyalty, competence, hard work, compatibility and all the virtues one can think of.” 

Beyond these attributes, another key factor which may have been considered is “Who is the more electorally appealing candidate who can bring the votes?” That person should be someone who satisfies a constituency of the party, and equally appeals to a segment of the electorate outside the party.

Dr Opoku Prempeh’s trust, loyalty, competence, hard work and compatibility are not in doubt. NAPO is also ‘more electorally appealing’, he has a huge following within and outside the party. NAPO relates and shows reverence for the elders and leaders of the party. 

He endears himself to the elders of the party and this offers him the opportunity to deepen his knowledge about and understanding of the UP tradition and politics generally.

NAPO serves as official and unofficial patron and elder of almost all the special groups of the NPP – National Youth Wing, Women’s Wing, National Nasara, as well as to TESCON, Loyal Ladies and many interest groups of the party. 

Outside the party, NAPO commands respect and adoration from all the people he has worked and interacted with. 

Indeed, the leadership of UTAG, pre-tertiary education unions and various workers unions in the energy sector have had cause at one point or the other to commend and thank NAPO for his sterling leadership.

NAPO has since 2017, when he assumed public office, received numerous awards in recognition of his hard work and competence, including three honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Education Winneba, University of Professional Studies, Accra, and the University of Cape Coast, and was also honoured in 2023 by the Ghana Civil Service in recognition of his outstanding performance as a public official.

Dr Opoku Prempeh was recently ranked number six of 100 inspiring individuals in Africa by the African Regional Journal and named in the top 25 movers and shakers in the Energy Sector by the African Energy Chamber. He is also an honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Human Resource Management (CIHRM), Ghana.

NAPO’S 35 years of grassroots experience

Dr Opoku Prempeh has the knowledge, skills and the capabilities for political mobilisation and organisation, having done that for well over 35 years. He has been part of NPP and national politics since 1990 – the Danquah-Busia-Dombo Club days when the UP tradition was resurrected after nearly three decades of proscription, where he served as the first national coordinator of students’ campaign team of the tradition (1990-1993). This group was the forebear of TESCON.

Thus, in January 2009 when Napo first entered Parliament to represent the people of the Manhyia Constituency, Kumasi, he already had 19 years (1990 – 2009) of political experience.


Dr Bawumia and Dr Opoku Prempeh are very good friends. In fact, what most people do not know is that Bawumia and NAPO struck and deepened a mutual relationship way back in 2008. 

NAPO was one of the young gentlemen and women in the party who supported, encouraged and worked for Dr Bawumia’s full acceptance in the party. 


This was at the time when the deep-seated conservatives of the party – call them the UP traditionalists – were struggling to come to terms with Dr Bawumia’s candidacy as running mate. 

Dr Bawumia and NAPO’s relationship became even stronger and deeper when they worked together in 2013, during the Election Petition hearings. 

NAPO, then Director of Elections, worked closely and intimately with Dr Bawumia, then the principal witness, on the compilation, syntheses, analyses and interpretation of the stack of PINK SHEETS gathered from constituencies all across the country. 

In 2008 the NPP’ presidential candidate lost the elections marginally during the run-off. This was attributed to the refusal of the grass roots of the party particularly in the Ashanti Region to go out in their numbers due to voter apathy.  


There is the possibility that NPP could be faced with a similar situation as happened in 2008. 

To avoid the 2008 jinx, the flag bearer, Dr Bawumia, needed to select a running mate who could complement him and also energise the grass roots of the party. 

Also, to change the unofficial convention of two terms (breaking the 8) governance cycle for political parties, this is where Dr Opoku Prempeh (NAPO) comes in handy. 

Bringing electoral strength to the ticket is the overriding concern in most presidential running mate selections and with his long-standing background in politics, hard work and mobilising skills, there is no doubt that NAPO has the competence and the capabilities to get out the votes to complement those of Dr Bawumia for victory.  


The writer is a retired professor and former Director-General of Ghana Education Service

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