Selection of running mates: Mahama, Bawumia must look south — Prof. Alidu
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are likely to choose running mates from the southern part of the country to achieve an all-rounded ticket for the 2024 general election, the head of the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Seidu Alidu, has said.
Prof. Alidu said with NPP’s Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and NDC’s John Dramani Mahama hailing from the northern part of the country, the parties would have to be strategic in choosing their partners to strike a fine balance needed to attract votes from every corner of the country.
“So the choice of the running mate can also add a little bit of dynamics to those who will be voting based on ethnic, regional or whatever lines,” he said.
Prof. Alidu told the Daily Graphic in an interview that the two presidential candidates were going to be smart about the selection a running mate ahead of the 2024 general election.
“They will definitely pick a dominant person of Akan origin, may be a Christian or Muslim that can balance their setbacks to make it a 360 ticket,” he said.
The issue of the running mates of the two major parties, the NPP and the NDC, has come up strongly following the successful election of their flag bearers.
The NPP last Saturday elected the Vice-President, Dr Bawumia, to lead the party into the 2024 general election.
Former President Mahama was the first to secure the mandate of his party, back in May this year.
So far names that have emerged within the NPP inner circles are the Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Manyhia South in the Ashanti Region; the Minister of Education and MP for Bosomtwe in the Ashanti Region, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum; the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Bekwai in the Ashanti Region, Joseph Osei-Owusu.
For the NDC, the names that have come up as running mates are a former Minister of Education and 2020 running mate of former President Mahama, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang; the 2020 campaign manager of former President Mahama, Prof Joshua Alabi; a former Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery, Kwame Awuah Darko, and a former Chief of Staff under President Mahama, Julius Debrah.
Since the issue of running mates of the NPP and the NDC came up, some leading members of both parties have shared their opinion on it, saying the selection of the running mate was the sole prerogative of the flag bearer in consultation with the National Council on the part of the NPP, while that of the NDC was with the National Council of Elders of the party.
Meanwhile, a presidential staffer at the presidency, Dennis Miracles Aboagye, in an interview with journalists in Accra last Tuesday, said at the right time, the flag bearer of the NPP, Dr Bawumia, would select the running mate who would serve the interest of the party and the country at large.
Although he gave room for lobbying by some interest groups, he said, recent history in the NPP had shown that lobbying didn't count in the selection of a running mate.
He said “The campaign is over, and now we have a flag bearer whose mandate is now to look around and select a running mate he can comfortably work with in the interest of the party and country.
The decision is entirely his, you can't also take the lobbying away from the other people, it is normal.
“In the same way, the candidate also moved around to go and campaign, in this case, he is a delegate so others will also come to him and campaign for him and make a case.
But for the NPP, at least in recent times, the last two vice presidents, if you followed it closely you will realise that lobbying doesn't count,” he said.
“If you listened to President John Agyekum Kufuor on how he selected Aliu Mahama, all the people whose names were flying around did not come close.
Dr Bawumia himself, during the campaign, was always recounting the story as to how he became the running mate to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“So I think we should leave it to the flag bearer, it is too early, we shouldn't try to ambush him in doing things at this time.
When he is ready I am very sure he is going to select a running mate that will be in the interest of the party and the country.
But we should allow people to aspire, dream, lobby and campaign.”