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The die is cast, the dust has begun to settle, the chickens have come home to roost and the winner has been declared. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia it is.

A significant majority of the over 200,000 delegates 61.47 have spoken and observers are worried, while the winners are jubilant. No doubt the jubilation will last deep into the night.

Drinking bar operators are likely to make some unexpected sales this evening. That’s because brothers and sisters will sit down for a drink or two. The sales figures of fried pork and cold beer are likely to hit the roof in celebration of the victory. On the other hand, church pews will be empty and offertory bowls will suffer tomorrow morning.

Kennedy Agyapong’s household and campaign camp, will be gnashing their teeth. So will his sympathizers. But their plight needs not last long, because from what the analysts say, although there was no showdown, he showed up to the contest. KOA proved the sceptics wrong by garnering a significant 38% of the votes.

A political Scientist with the University of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Asah-Asante, who was a panelist on TV3’s Election Command Centre says if Kennedy had declared his intention to contest earlier and started campaigning way before he did, his performance could have been better. He also stated the obvious- Dr. Bawumia benefitted from incumbency.

Dr Asah-Asante’s colleague, Prof Ransford Gyampo agrees with him. He said Mr Agyapong’s campaign message to the delegates was well-articulated.

“He has done well, he didn’t disgrace himself, he has shown he is a force to reckon with. His campaign was a well-articulated message on common sense, exposing corruption,” Prof Gyampo said on TV3 while discussing the outcome of the internal election.

What about Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto and Engineer Francis Addai-Nimoh? They never came to the party. That’s my opinion.

One thing is clear, the supposed landslide victory claimed by Dr Bawumia’s team has eluded them. But does that matter? Of course not. What matters is that he has been elected as the one who will hoist the flag of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) into the 2024 elections.

Undoubtedly, his win is historic. First NPP flagbearer from the north, since the 4th republic commenced close to 31 years ago. Plus, the uncomfortable tag of the NPP being an Akan party should be stripped off by now.

Congrats Dr Mahamadu Bawumia (DMB), good show Kennedy Ohene Agyapong (KOA).

The real contest

The real contest is the one that lies ahead on December 7, 2024. While Dr. Bawumia and the NPP claim he is the best candidate to beat John Mahama, the NDC has stopped short of saying that their win over Bawumia would be like using a hot knife to cut through butter.

That remains to be seen. In my diary, these two have been noted for non-performance and lacking the ability to take Ghanaians out of our current predicament. As pointed out in two previous articles, they stumbled into the presidency thus lack the required leadership skills to take a country from third to first world.  Additionally, they have not shown the needed commitment towards curbing that destructive canker in public service- corruption.

My gut feeling about JM is that if not him, his ministers and other appointees will see the second coming as opportunity to grab what they could not when they had the opportunity. Come to think of it, what really can they do for Ghana in four years? Here are excerpts of my article titled “Why Mahama should have tarried a while.

“Tell me who in Ghana can beat this wealth of experience- Member of Parliament, Deputy Minister, Minister, Vice President and President? No one. The only prominent political position he has not occupied yet is number 3- Hon. Alban Bagbin’s post. It is on the basis of this rich profile that JDM believes he is best suited for the flagbearship of the NDC in relation to election 2024.

However, if the recent happening regarding the failure of Milovan Rajevac to use his rich experience to help the senior national team, the Black Stars, despite being touted as tried and tested- “This is not ma try makw3,” to quote Ghana Football Association’s (GFA) President, Kurt Okraku, is anything to go by, then it goes without saying that sometimes, relevant skills become more important than experience. That is to say that, JDM may be very experienced, but does he have the requisite skills to take us out of the current doldrums in which we find ourselves?

To be fair, JDM’s legacy as the most tried and tested politician may have been marred by the alleged corrupt practices by himself such as Government official 1, Ford Explorer and those associated with his reign. Not to mention the ‘dead goat’ attitude he adopted during the dying embers of his presidency. Nonetheless, there are infrastructural evidences to show that he contributed his bit to Ghana’s development- Refurbished Ridge Hospital, University of Ghana Medical Centre, Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, Terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport to mention a few.

…Otherwise, I still don’t get it. That he wants to be president again, for just four years and turn Ghana’s fortunes around? What happens after four years when he cannot stand as president again? In that case, a new person can take over the NDC flagbearership? If so, why did we deny that person and the party an opportunity to have an 8-year term as has become the norm?

Like me, many people in my close circle see JDM’s return as a mere formality- to exhaust the remaining four years guaranteed him by the 1992 Constitution and nothing else. Indeed, the perception out there is that it is an opportunity to finish an unfinished personal business. That’s all.

…But if JDM fails to win the 2024 presidential election, I will be here waiting for my stone. If this happens, I hope someone from the umbrella family will be kind enough to sing me Adane Best’s song, “Ao George ee, Noni ok33 mi l3 ebamli ee”- Eric, you have been vindicated.

If it does not happen, then we will be in it together. Whence, we shall continue to brighten the corner where we each are, with each of us being for him/herself and God for us all.”

Now to the article titled, “Why Bawumia must bid his time.

“The story is the same for current Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. Like all his predecessors, as alluded to above, he was ‘sitting his somewhere’ when he was drafted into politics.

Justifiably so, because at the time then candidate Akufo-Addo asked him to become his running mate, Dr. Bawumia was the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana. Sad to say though, that among his achievements as Deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana is the redenomination of the Cedi which, in my opinion, has contributed partly to bringing us where we are today.

Anyway. According to a former classmate of mine at GIMPA, now Vice President Bawumia resisted the offer of running mate initially. He accepted it only after a high-powered delegation from the NPP and his family convinced him to.

…Then came the 2016 elections and Dr. Bawumia became the talk of the town and the favourite of all NPP delegates. At various fora, he will break down the economic challenges confronting the country to the understanding of even the man on the streets- “If the fundamentals are weak, the exchange rate will expose you,” he propounded. He seized every opportunity to describe the then JDM administration as incompetent. So much so that every objective-minded Ghanaian who witnessed the goings on, believed him.

Currently, Dr. Bawumia is in his 7th year as Vice President of Ghana. He is the Head of the Economic Management Team (EMT). Sadly, many Ghanaians say they cannot see the head and tail of the economy. ‘Times are hard’ is the refrain in town. That is to put it mildly, considering the fact that we are before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout and other bilateral donors for debt restructuring.

…Then on Tuesday, 4th April, 2023 the ‘Walewale Adams Smith’ posted on his Facebook wall – ‘It is possible’, accompanied by an image containing the Ghana and New Patriotic Party (NPP) flags.

If it is the case, as my friend told me, that Dr. Bawumia was virtually forced to accept the running mate slot in 2008, why then would he want to be president? I can only say that having tasted political power, he wants to drink deeper.

But if the current state of the economy is evidence of what this renowned holder of Ph.D. in Economics is capable of, why else would he nurse the desire to be president, if not for mere self-actualisation?

More importantly, as someone who holds the belief that image is everything, I think the Vice President has lost it all. Indeed, I was shocked when I heard, and subsequently saw, that upon typing the question- “Who is the greatest liar in Ghana?” into the Google browser, the name that comes up is, Dr. Bawumia. You can try it.

As for those chanting BMW!, my experience in life tells me that some are doing so because of their selfish interests. They fail to present things objectively to Dr. Bawumia. And Samira too. Otherwise, they would have told him to go away from all the disaffection that the prevailing economic situation has engendered towards him. At least until the next election cycle.

Evidently, from a non-partisan point of view, this is not the time for the NPP to entrust its fortunes in the candidature of Dr. Bawumia. Not because he is unqualified, but the odds are against him.

Actually, it seems to me from what I hear on the streets and in intellectual discourses, that the NPP itself has lost face with the floating voters, who truth be told, seem to have been left in a dilemma as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has given every indication that they are bringing back JDM.

It is this high possibility of a JDM return that is giving the BMW campaigners the impetus to pursue their dream. That is why if I get the opportunity, I will tell JDM to also tarry a while. A breath of fresh air is what we need under these suffocating economic circumstances, don’t you think?

It’s time to go

Need I say more? I have put the two front runners in the 2024 presidential election before you to analyze.

If you are not a dyed in the wool NDC or NPP person, which one will you choose? Is it easy or difficult to choose?

That’s why I ask, do we have a choice between the rock and a hard place? Worst still, are we caught between the devil and the deep blue sea?

Only God can save us now.

Ta – That’s goodbye in Australian.

Let God lead! Follow Him directly, not through any human.

The writer is the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Columnist of the Year- 2022. He is the author of two books whose contents share knowledge on how anyone desirous of writing like him can do so. Eric can be reached via email [email protected].