Following his election as the presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2019, former president John Mahama, is facing perhaps his biggest test in politics, as time appears not to be on his side in naming his running mate for the 2020 general elections.
President Akufo-Addo, who by filing his nomination as the only presidential aspirant for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has set up a rematch against Mr Mahama in December, wasted no time by picking Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia for the fourth consecutive time as his running mate.
Party insiders have told GhanaWeb that since Mr Mahama was elected as flag bearer, he has been assessing possible hopefuls, but has not been bold enough to settle on one of them, as whoever he selects could make or mar his bid for the presidency.
Although the outcomes of Mr Mahama’s immeasurable meetings with party bigwigs to select a suitable candidate could not be ascertained, it appears to be a straight contest between energy expert, Alex Mould and outspoken former Trade Minister, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah.
Our checks revealed that hardliners in the party have vehemently opposed the idea of Mr Mahama picking Alex Mould, as it is roundly believed he lacks the political experience and the appeal to woe voters, to salvage the dwindling fortunes of the party.
A party executive, who pleaded for strict anonymity, said the choice of Mr Mould as running mate could compromise the cohesion of party – a situation the source added would disintegrate the rank and file.
“Alex Mould happens to be Mr Mahama’s bosom friend, but he must know that in matters of this nature it goes beyond friendship. The party needs a candidate who can bring something to the table, a candidate with the right appeal, contacts and connections to ensure a resounding victory for the party,” a reliable party source disclosed.
Another major contender is Spio-Garbrah, a die-hard party member from the Central Region and instrumental in the formation of the party in 1992.
For Ekwow Spio-Garbrah’s efforts towards the party, GhanaWeb understands that Mr Mahama’s key advisers are believed to be canvassing the vice-presidential slot for him and is seen as the front-runner for the post, but it is uncertain if has the support of Jerry John Rawlings, the party’s founder.
GhanaWeb has learned that Spio-Garbrah has been influential in raising funds for the party for Mr Mahama to square up against President Akufo-Addo.
Some party executives are strictly against a Christian-Christian pairing, our source added.
Also thrown into the mix is Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku, a governance expert and former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana.
The former president is said to like him very much and the answer to Vice President Dr Bawumia, who has constantly exposed the economic shortfalls of the NDC in series of public lectures.
The former President whipped six other contenders in February, 2019 to win the flagbearer race with 213,443 votes, constituting 95.24% of the total votes cast across.
He beat competition from Prof Joshua Alabi, Alban Bagbin, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Sylvester Mensah, Goosie Tanoh and Nurudeen Iddrisu to emerge as flagbearer of the party after Saturday’s primaries.
Close to 300,000 delegates took part in the primaries across all 275 constituencies.
Mr Mahama was followed by former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies (UPSA) Prof. Joshua Alabi, who polled a total of 3,399 votes, constituting 1.516 per cent of total votes cast.
Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin followed with 2,313 votes constituting 1.032 per cent followed by Goosie Tanoh, who polled 2,038 votes representing 0.909 per cent.
Former Trade Minister Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah placed fourth with 1,457 votes, constituting 0.650 per cent.
Sylvester Mensah came sixth with 932 votes, representing 0.425 per cent and Nurudeen Iddrisu appeared at the bottom with 519 votes, constituting 0.231 per cent.