LOOK INTO NDC’s NEXT RUNNING MATE
The NDC is at a crossroads again, after completing almost all its internal elections and appointments, the race for a running mate for His Excellency John Mahama has heated up.
A few days ago there was a Press Conference by some group of men and women in the Party urging His Excellency John Mahama to retain Prof.Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang as his running mate in what could easily be described as a desperate attempt to strong-arm the former President to retain his choice of running mate in the 2024 elections.
First of all, whoever financed that Press Conference did a disservice to Prof.Naana Jane and I’m sure it’s the same people behind her appearance on RadioGold last week for about 3 hours.
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In the build-up to the 2020 elections, nobody forced his Excellency to go with Prof.Jane as his running mate. Nobody mounted media pressure on His Excellency to choose her.
Amidst the vile opposition of the Party leadership his Excellency himself sat down and came to the decision that he wanted to run with her and he defended that decision all through.
So why is anybody in their right sense now attempting to mount pressure on His Excellency to run with her again?
His Excellency is an experienced politician and knows what he wants.
Secondly, the running mate is not a permanent position for anybody. If history will be our guide, the NDC has never repeated a Running Mate in opposition.
In 2000, Prof.Mills ran with Martin Amidu and lost, in 2004 he went with Mohammed Mummuni and lost again then in 2008, John Mahama was brought in to complete the magic wand that landed the NDC its tight victory.
The candidate is at liberty to change his running mate’s anytime based on the strategy he intends to go into the elections with.
Again let’s gladly assess the impact of Prof.Naana as a running mate.
The NDC in 2020 won the Parliamentary majority in her home region Central Region but lost out massively in the presidential Why?
The NDC played the women’s card strongly in 2020, based on the outcome of the elections it’s very clear the gender card had little impact on the outcome.
No Party in Ghana loses an election if the women are on your side. What this tells us is that, apart from a few gender activists in Accra who may laud your choice of gender, the choice itself has little influence on how a majority of women would vote in the elections.
So, in essence, Prof.Naana’s candidature as a female running mate did not benefit the NDC electorally, Apart from that she has done very little since 2020 to improve her image making it very difficult to sell her to the electorates, her appearance in public functions, her demeanor and her inability to connect with people are all one of the many factors the NDC must be bold enough to admit, and I’m sure his Excellency himself can see that now.
Again what’s her capacity to attract funding and financial support for the campaign? It’s very easy to say that even the business community doesn’t find her appealing enough to put money behind her, it’s almost certain that she cannot raise funds even to fund her activities as running mate and had to rely on support from the office of the flagbearer.
Going into 2024 money is going to play a critical role, and His Excellency cannot afford another financial distraction.
He needs someone who can afford to raise money on his or her own to fund his or her activities without relying on the little donations his Excellency may get.
Then her age, she’s 73, and by December 2028 she will be 78, almost 80. In an election where the candidate, His Excellency has one term, it would be almost suicidal to run with someone this age.
With the Party’s quest to hold political power at least for 12 years, the Party desperately needs someone who can also do an eight(8)year term easily without the hindrance of age or physical weakness.
Succession planning must and should be a key factor in the choice of running mate for the NDC and that alone easily eliminates Prof. Naana Opoku Agyemang from the conversation without prejudice to her competencies and personal achievements as an academician.
Finally, finally, 2016 and 2020 have taught the NDC that John Mahama is very popular within the Party and any day can bring at least 98% of the NDC’s 6 million traditional voters to the table.
What has been lacking for him is a complementary candidate that would bring at least 20-30% of the floating voters to tilt the election in his favor.
At least for now, I have so much confidence in His Excellency that he appreciates the seriousness of the next elections and would not gamble with his choice.
He would be a great choice eventually and the party will move on to win the next elections and his legacy will continue.