One of the founding members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. George Ayisi-Boateng, has warned that if Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia is not given the nod to lead the party as its presidential candidate, breaking the eight years circle will be a difficult task in the 2024 general elections.
Dr. Ayisi-Boateng was speaking about his position on the party’s flagbearership race, in an interview with The Chronicle in Kumasi.
Dr. Ayisi-Boateng, who is also the former High Commissioner to South Africa in Nana Addo’s first term, said Dr. Bawumia had distinguished himself as a credible presidential material, having played a critical role in the success story of NPP in the 2016 and 2020 general elections.
This role, he said, made the Vice President an obvious choice for the party, if the NPP was committed to winning the 2024 general elections.
Making a case for the party delegates to select the current Vice President as the NPP flagbearer, Dr. Ayisi-Boateng said selecting Bawumia to lead the party into the 2024 elections would also provide an obvious answer to the already existing perception that the NPP was an Akan party. “The long-standing agenda by NPP’s political opponents, who have been describing the Dombo-Danquah-Busia tradition as an Akan party, will be cured completely, if Bawumia, who is a Northerner, is elected as flagbearer of NPP, going into 2024 general elections,” Dr. Ayisi-Boateng emphasised.
According to the former High Commissioner, he, personally, championed the same agenda for Aliu Mahama when President Kufuor was leaving office, but he was not successful. He, however, said the time had come for the kingmakers in the NPP to consider the progress of the party in the coming elections, and settle on Dr. Bawumia to lead.
Rubbishing a school of thought that his public comments as a leading member in the party could stir a needless controversy, since the party was yet to open the doors for public campaigning, Dr. Ayisi- Boateng said he was only being consistent with his choice of the party’s presidential candidate.
Responding to arguments from a section of NPP members – that Dr. Bawumia was a newcomer in the party and that he needs to wait for his turn – Dr. Ayisi-Boateng said his response to such a line of argument was rooted in the popular Akan proverb, which says, “Ye wo Ohene na Opanin tiase,” which is translated to mean that the elders were there before a chief or king was born.
He said the relevance of this Akan proverb made the suggestion of Dr. Bawumia as a newcomer a non-starter.
Dr. Ayisi-Boateng was however, quick to add that he has a lot of respect for other contestants such as Alan Kyerematen, Joe Ghartey, Kofi Konadu Apraku and others but said his conviction of Dr. Bawumia as a winnable material is rooted in the qualities he has so far exhibited as the vice president thus making him a best bet for NPP in the coming general elections.
He described Dr. Bawumia as a compromised candidate and intimated that since politics is about compromising, this is the time for members of the party to make compromises by settling on the Vice president to lead the party.
He has therefore called on members in the party to see Dr. Bawumia as the one who will serve as a bridge between the win and loss of NPP in the next election.
He added that but for the magic qualities of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Dr. Bawumia, the serious economic down turn, which was characterized by the COVID-19 pandemic where world economies were on their knees, the cedi-dollar exchange rate in Ghana would have been GH¢20 to $1 whilst a litre of petrol would have been skyrocketing between GH¢10 and GH¢ 15 of petrol.
The leading member of NPP in Ashanti region is therefore of the view that when given the nod, Dr. Bawumia will lead NPP to retain power.
From C.K. Clement, Kumasi