Kufuor won the contest, Akufo-Addo conceded defeat
In the weeks that followed, many were those who encouraged Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to explore his tremendous popularity with the youth and create his own political movement and run against the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for Election 2000.
One other leader of the AFC, Charles Wereko-Brobbey, who was much less popular and less fancied by the youth however succumbed to the temptation to form a new party, he left the NPP and founded the United Ghana Movement UGM, this writer was at the launch of the UGM at Nsawam in March 2000 as a reporter for Joy FM.
At that event, Brobbey had an impressive message for the youth but it was obvious that the loyalty of the youth of that day lay elsewhere, it was with Nana Akufo-Addo, the avowed human rights lawyer and unifier.
Kufuor’s campaign for Election 2000 took off without much ceremony. It began in the nooks and crannies of the hinterland. Sometime during the campaign, Nana Akufo-Addo and his army of youth joined the Kufuor campaign to bring it the much needed boost and impetus required to create a sensation for victory.
Victory was achieved and Kufuor became President. Akufo-Addo became Attorney General and later Foreign Minister.
In December 2007, Akufo-Addo was elected the party's flag bearer. His first choice of running mate was Hajia Alima Mahama, he felt it was time to spread the base to include the gender parity. Somehow, members of his party felt it was not time for gender. The choice of running mate being exclusively his, Akufo-Addo could have proceeded and insisted, but holding the philosophy of unity and reconciliation, he agreed to change the candidate and now named the very youthful banker, whose father was founder of the Northern Peoples Party that became the party with the highest number of seats within the UP alliance that was lead by Busia.
The older Bawumia had continued in politics with the PNDC and NDC and had risen to become chairman of JJ's council of state.
The announcement of the new choice of running mate received some queries, however, Nana Akufo-Addo campaigned among important party people to secure their support and backing for his choice.
The Election 2008 was lost and in 2012, Nana Addo repeated Bawumia
By the end of the 2013 election petition, Bawumia had won the hearts of most NPP youth, he had come of political age and he was now a real asset of the party. Akufo-Addo's philosophy was beginning to take root in the NPP.
The NPP gained significant attraction in the Mahama years from 2013 towards 2016.
So many high-profile young corporate leaders began to associate with the NPP.
Important members of corporate Ghana and high-profile journalists such as George Andah and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah joined the NPP and became parliamentary candidates, young musicians and comedians all rallied behind the NPP under Akufo-Addo's philosophy.
By the year 2016, the NPP was fully Akufo Addo's party and it was at its attractive best.
Not even a major upheaval of the boardroom crisis that lead to the removal of the chairman and general secretary could undermine the resolve of this youthful army of Akufo-Addo faithfuls.
They proceeded to win a record-breaking landslide victory against John Mahama.
As soon as power came, Akufo-Addo began to pursue unity, he had remembered his opponents from 2007 and proceeded to name Alan Kyerematen as trade minister long before any minister was officially named. Alan people were happy and liked the respect that Akufo-Addo had shown them.
That was about making sure the ship remained united.
From the first term, Dr Bawumia had shown that he would be a great veep, full of innovation and thoughtful leadership, he managed to win the hearts of most of the youth.
Nana Addo was elected for a second term while the NPP took a hit in parliament.
Worsening global economic conditions have forced the government into an IMF programme and all that has made Election 2024, a difficult one for the NPP.
So in choosing the new flag bearer, the party’s youthful army are guided by the strands of Akufo-Addo's philosophy, which among other things, is the broad based philosophy of the party.
If that were to be achieved, then Akufo-Addo's philosophy would have been secured hundred per cent.
For the NPP youth, this is their fight, they are desperate to show a new direction of party leadership for the NPP.
This is what is giving Bawumia the lead. The enthusiasm around his campaign, the political astuteness of his wife Hajia Samira, also makes Bawumia's candidature tremendous and attractive.
The real big fight will begin next week when Bawumia will be settled in lane 1 to run against former President John Mahama in lane 2.
Until then, let's watch the political space.