In the next few weeks, the Flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo Addo, would be called upon to present his running mate to the party and the Ghanaian electorate.
It is my fervent hope that this astute politician makes the most judicious and prudent choice.
The success of the party at the polls is partly dependent on the calibre of the candidate the party puts forward as its vice presidential candidate even though as electorally determined, names of running mates do not appear on the ballot paper.
Some party stalwarts and sympathisers argue against the south and north ticket for the presidential elections as it has not yielded the anticipated political dividends for the party.
This is factually so, but I believe the south and north ticket is still relevant, regardless of the fact that we have performed poorly in the north in recent past elections.
Our abysmal performance in the north stems from the fact that that we do not make the right choices for the vice presidential slots hence, our poor show at the polls.
It is far from the truth that the north is anti- NPP. Personal considerations have always come to the fore in the selection of running mates for the party since 1992 and this has adversely affected the fortunes of the party.
How could we be losing elections in the hometowns and constituencies of our vice presidential candidates? What have our vice presidential candidates been able to bring on board substantially since 1992?
It is unheard of for a vice presidential candidate to lose elections in his constituency or hometown but this has been the bane of the party in the recent past.
It is on record that the party performed creditably well in 1979 when the late Mr Victor Owusu of blessed memory selected Alhaji Yakubu Tali, the late Tolon Na [may his soul rest in perfect peace], as his running mate for the Popular Front Party.
The party pulled a good number of the votes from the north, especially in the Tolon- Kumbugu constituency and others and forced the elections into second round.
President Mills made a very good choice in the selection of Mr John Mahama as his running mate as the latter indisputably made a lot of electoral gains for the party.
In the 2000 presidential elections run-up , former President Kufuor won all the constituencies in the Central Region except the Mfantsiman East which happens to be the home constituency of the then NDC candidate, Professor Mills.
The least a vice presidential candidate can do for his party is to win general elections in his constituency but what do we see in the NPP? The contrary is the exact situation in our great party.
The ultimate is to win the general elections which will be keenly contested and therefore it is expected of our flag bearer to make a prudent choice which will have far reaching consequences for the party.
By all standards, the most appropriate person among the personalities being considered for the vice presidential slot is Alhaji M.D. Jawula, the ace sports administrator.
The indefatigable retired top civil servant is a Gonja, one of the dominant and most thickly populated tribe in the north and the fact that he is a chief over some communities in Gonjaland shows the level of respect he commands in the north.
One has to live above board and lead exemplary life before one can be made a chief and this also reveals his level of acceptability. We do not have to lose sight of the fact that the late Alhaji Yakubu Tali who was chief of Tolon won a lot of votes for the Popular Front Party, the antecedent of the NPP in 1979 , when he was made the flag bearer�s running mate because he was highly respected as a chief.
It is on record that the Gonja tribe is not at loggerheads with any other tribe in the north and has peacefully co-existed with the numerous tribes found in the area.
The selection of a Mamprusi as a running mate might incur the displeasure of the Kusasis who would not be comfortable voting for a Mamprusi and vice versa because of a long standing problem between the two tribes. An Andani, for obvious reasons, would not vote for an Abudu who is chosen as the party�s vice presidential candidate, so is the other way round. It is, therefore, expedient to choose a candidate who will be acceptable to all the tribes in the north.
As a sports administrator, he has come into contact with several people while carrying on with his responsibilities and has endeared himself to many people. Ghana is a soccer loving nation and this has made Alhaji Jawula who was once at the helm of affairs of Ghana soccer very popular. He is far more popular than any of the personalities being considered for the vice presidential slot.
The once chief director of Ministry of Health has proven to be somebody with leadership qualities which he amply demonstrated by successfully heading the soccer administration in the country.
For him to have chalked up several successes in an administration such as that of sports which is fraught with problems clearly reveals his competence and administrative and managerial skills which will be brought to bear on the 2012 electioneering campaign.
A former Spokesman for former President Kufuor and one time presidential aspirant of the party, Mr Kwabena Agyapong, recently talked about the expediency of selecting a Muslim as the running mate to Nana Addo.
The two dominant religions in the country are Christianity and Islam and if the presidential candidate is a Christian, then the running mate should be a muslim to satisfy the two religions with the largest following. Alhaji M.D. Jawula is a devout Islamist who can fill that vacuum.
It will be in the party�s own interest if he is chosen as the running mate as he stands tall among all the others being considered. - The writer is former Deputy Central Regional Secretary of the NPP.
Source: Paul E. Annan/D. Graphic
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