Bawumia: I’ve my own vision - Co- contestants pledge support
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, last Saturday declared that he has his own vision and priorities after he secured the mandate of delegates to become the flag bearer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Just before Dr Bawumia stepped onto the rostrum to deliver the about 40-minute acceptance speech at a victory rally at the Accra Sports Stadium, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said he was obligated to help Dr Bawumia to win the 2024 presidential election.
At the event attended also by the three other candidates and other party bigwigs, Dr Bawumia said given the opportunity by the people of Ghana to lead, he would build an inclusive, food self-sufficient, data-driven and systems-based nation that would fully participate in the global digital revolution to solve the problems of the country.
“I want to lead a nation that improves and unleashes the talents of our youth, and offers good jobs with good pay and sustainable growth with macroeconomic discipline,” he said to the cheering crowd, assuring the rank and file of the party that he would not disappoint them.
He said the party now had two tasks ahead: to be victorious in the 2024 general election and steering the nation from recovery to prosperity.
The Vice-President garnered 118,210 votes, representing 61.47 per cent of votes cast, in the four-man contest, and subsequently expressed profound gratitude to the party faithful for reposing their trust in him.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, received 71,996 votes, which represented 37.41 per cent, in an impressive second-place showing.
Former Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, polled 1,449 votes, which represented 0.75 per cent of the votes cast, with former MP for Mampong Ashanti, Francis Addai-Nimoh, polling 781, representing 0.41 per cent of votes cast.
In separate speeches, the three contestants pledged to support the candidature of Dr Bawumia when he eventually laces his boots for the 2024 general election.
Dr Bawumia’s dominance was almost total as he won in 14 out of 16 regions, with just the Central Region — Mr Agyapong’s home region — and the Volta Region falling to the Assin Central legislator.
In his victory speech following the official declaration, the Vice-President said the NPP remained the best option for the progress and prosperity of Ghanaians.
He expressed confidence in the talent of the Ghanaian youth in various sectors such as information technology, robotics, entrepreneurship, creative arts and sports, saying when these talents were mobilised, “we will surely build a mighty nation”.
He subsequently invited the youth to join him in his “journey of great possibilities”.
Dr Bawumia said the victory was for the entire party people.
“It is a victory for the rank and file of our great party, particularly to you, our hardworking grass-roots members at the constituency, electoral area and polling station levels,” he said, stressing that the significance of the victory was not lost on him as he had always believed that with hard work, honesty, discipline and faith in God, it was possible to fulfil one’s potential.
Dr Bawumia rallied his fellow contenders and all party supporters to join hands with him, saying, “I am determined to work with all of them and all our supporters to achieve the ambition of ‘breaking the 8’”, referencing the party’s campaign slogan and ambition to outlast the eight-year governance cycle enjoyed by ruling parties under the Fourth Republic.
That ambition, he said, required the participation of all aspirants at the onset, including Boakye Agyarko, Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, Joe Ghartey, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku and Kojo Poku.
He said he had no intention of slowing down, and that he would get right back to work, sit down with Ghanaians from all walks of life, including civil society, student organisations, young professionals, stakeholders in the business community and religious leadership.
“The position I seek needs to be earned, and I intend to show every single voter, from the farmer to the financial head, that I am the right man for the job. I will listen to your concerns and answer your questions because we are partners in this process, and any worthwhile gain comes from a communal investment,” he said.
Breaking the 8
Dr Bawumia said “breaking the 8” was more than just a slogan.
He said it meant “we break with a culture of complacency, we reject the tacit agreement that power is handed over every eight years, thereby relinquishing responsibility for the growth of this nation”.
Given the chance, he said, he was determined to serve as a leader for a united Ghana, for all Ghanaians, regardless of background, circumstance or socio-economic status.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that Ghana could not afford the return of the opposition National Democratic Congress, especially under the leadership of former President John Dramani Mahama, and called on the party to work together for the re-election campaign.
The President, who interspersed his address with vernacular, acknowledged that next year’s elections would not be easy, but expressed the hope that “when we are united and courageous, God will make the way for us to be victorious on December 7, 2024”.
President Akufo-Addo and the National Chairman of the party, Stephen Ntim, symbolically handed over a flag of the party to Dr Bawumia to officially make him the new flag bearer and leader of the party.
“Today, I am passing on the flagbearer position of our party to a new leader,” he said.
The President said what transpired across the period of campaigning, voting and results declaration process were a testimony that Ghana’s democracy was safe in the hands of the NPP.
President Akufo-Addo praised Dr Bawumia for how far he had come in the last 16 years, and congratulated him on the effort to become the flag bearer.
“Sixteen years of work with the party in opposition and in government has been rewarded by the party with this leadership that had been conferred upon you.
“I am confident (that) Mahamudu Bawumia, with the assistance of his fellow contenders and all the other contestants, will provide the party the strong leadership that will take on the NDC in 2024,” he added.
He wished Dr Bawumia well, and expressed optimism that he would unite the party.
While he passed on the baton to the new flag bearer, President Akufo-Addo said he would never forget the honour done him since it had allowed him to serve the party, and through the party, served the people of Ghana.