Mahama, NDC At ‘Crossroads’ Over Choice of Running Mate

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its 2020 flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, are fixed at the

crossroads of the future of the immediate-past running mate, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang.

The Anchor is learning that the party has been torn between whether to retain or ditch the former Minister for Education as its vice-presidential candidate for the 2024 elections.

Insiders told this paper that the issue, for some time now, is seriously brewing tension among the kingmakers and power brokers within the party.

The opposition party, will later this year, go to congress to elect a flagbearer for the 2024 general election.

Already, some polls and political watchers, have predicted a win for the NDC at the expense of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

But even before that crucial election, there are grave concerns being expressed about the possible partner to former President Mahama, who some say appears more likely to lead the NDC for the fourth time.

The Anchor is picking up information that, some bigshots in the NDC are preparing to reject Professor Jane Opoku-Agyemang, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast in the event that Mr. Mahama decides to choose her as his partner for the second time in the 2024 general election.

Although it will not be the first time the NDC will be changing its vice presidential candidate, some in the party feel it is about time the NDC shifted it attention from the Central Region, when it comes to running mate.

This paper has learnt, series of meetings are being held in readiness to make sure that any attempt to pick the former Education Minister again, as running mate, would be resisted.

Names of some party stalwarts from Ashanti, Volta, Oti as well as Greater Accra Region have been mentioned as those behind; leading the charge against renomination of the respected educationist.

In the past, the NDC unlike the NPP, has mostly chosen its vice presidential candidates from the Central region, yet, they struggle to win in presidential elections from the region.

The likes of late Ekow Nkensen Arkaah, Prof. John Atta Mills, Kwasi Bekoe Amissah Arthur and now Naana Jane, have all come from the Central Region and were made running mate of the umbrella party, but they hardly brought in the needed votes to secure victory for the party.

As a result, some in the NDC have argued that it is about time they changed the former Minister, which has been the case in most general election for the NDC.

The party, since its inception has never repeated a vice presidential candidate and anytime, they changed, they won.

The Anchor is informed, those who hold the view that such convention should continue, are those on the ground campaigning vigorously and calling for a new face to partner Mr Mahama.

Recall that, a while ago, a former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice under former President Rawlings requested the NDC to change the former Education Minister as running mate, claiming she did not bring much to the table in 2020.

The onetime chairman of the NDC, Dr Obed Yao Asamoah, said the former Vice Chancellor was unable to make an impact in the Central Region, her home region.

In an interview with JoyNews on the AM Show, he said under Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang’s watch; the NDC lost a seat in her home Region even though he could, however, not say which seat.

“The lady who is a running mate to Mahama lost the Central Region in the last election. Lost a whole constituency,” the former Attorney-General said.

The NDC, even though, was able to win 13 out of the 23 seats in the region, it lost the presidential election.

A former MP for the Kumbungu constituency, Ras Mubarak, last year reiterated the need to change the professor if the NDC wants to win the next election.

According to the outspoken former MP, the NDC stands a chance of winning the 2024 general election, if it puts its house in order by replacing it 2020 running mate.

Speaking in an exclusive interview on Starr FM, Ras Mubarak said he will prefer a running mate from the Greater Accra region.

“In my candid opinion, John Mahama should run, Jane Naana was fantastic on the ticket but I think we could do with a change in running mate. A Ga running mate would be great”

A political science lecturer formerly with the Methodist University, Dr. Osei Bonsu also made similar comments on John Mahama and a potential running mate in 2024.

He said Mr Mahama cannot win if he presents Prof. Opoku-Agyeman as running mate.

Dr Osei Bonsu wants NDC’s three-time Presidential Candidate to change Professor Nana Jane Opoku Agyemang, if he is re-elected to lead the party in 2024.

“The future for NDC is bright if John Mahama leads NDC in 2024; meanwhile he can’t pair Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as his running mate because he wouldn’t be able to contest after 2028 and Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang could also not lead NDC because she would be old.”

“Opoku-Agyemang would be too old in 2028 and beyond and, if NDC insists choosing her as a running mate for Mahama, it would affect their future chances,” he reiterated.

Even though Mr Mahama is yet to declare his stance, he is said not to be happy with Naana Jane again.

According to sources, he wants to pick a male running mate this time. He is said to be working to get very prominent and powerful people in society to prevail on the former Vice Chancellor, to come out and say she’s no longer interested in the race.

But there are others in the party and former appointees of Mr. Mahama who are unhappy about these developments.

Notable among them is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzato-Ablakwa, as well as, medical practitioner and former Minister for Communications Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah.

Mr Ablakwa who served as a deputy Minister for Education under Prof Opoku Agyemang who has become like a ‘handbag’ of the former Minister, according to sources, is all for his boss to be made running mate again after their failed attempt about two years ago.

Since joining active party politics, as running mate, the MP has always accompanied and engaged with his former boss in everything she did politically.

He works closely with the professor at her office.

Dr. Omane Boamah on his part has been subtly launching and garnering votes for Prof Opoku-Agyemang especially on social media using his Facebook page.

In what appears as an attempt to sample views, the medical doctor, earlier this year, revealed the momentum the campaign select a running mate for the party was getting intense.

“It appears the competition in NDC for 2024 running mate will be very keen; but so far Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang stands taller”, he posted on January 23, 2022.

On April 21, 2022, the physician continued his crusade to get the former Minister selected, reiterating his position that the former Minister is the best bet.

“Is a case of male chauvinism? Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman remains the best bet so far. I posted this some months ago… The anti-Naana Jane procured analysis must be polished or abandoned”, he said.

Meanwhile, Prof Opoku-Agyemang appears very interested in the race as far as partnering the former President is concerned.

There are even claims the 70-year-old has presidential ambition, as there are claims she intends to step in the shoes of Mr Mahama in the event that the party wins the 2024 election and serves as Veep.

Prof Opoku-Agyemang has remained relevant in the scheme of things and the political space since her selection at the University for Professional Studies-Accra (UPS-A) in 2020.

She has represented the NDC and women on many events and platforms and in some cases, she has attended events on behalf of Mr Mahama.

 Source: http://Anchorghana.com

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