There has been simmering tension and uneasy calm within the ranks of the ruling National Democratic Congress in the past few days over the imposition of President John Dramani Mahama as presidential candidate and the President’s indecisiveness in choosing a Vice President and/or running mate.
Information available to the New Statesman reveals that the hurried nature with which President John Mahama was endorsed as NDC flagbearer by the National Executive Committee of the party, last week, was solely for the purposes of preventing some big-wigs in the NDC from contesting.
A source at the NDC party headquarters has hinted the New Statesman that the decision to endorse President Mahama quickly, a decision described by some as a lack of respect for the late President John Atta-Mills, “was to prevent Bagbin, Spio and others from running.”
The source further added that the party hierarchy is of the firm belief that anybody other than President Mahama would be soundly beaten by Nana Akufo-Addo, Presidential Candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party, the more reason President Mahama was imposed on the NDC as its candidate.
This decision by the NDC NEC, according to the source, has infuriated these NDC big-wigs who had been nurturing ambitions of leading the party into an election for some years now, and are now contemplating legal action against the party to ensure the dreams of becoming presidential candidate of the NDC, after the death of President Mills, is not shattered by the imposition of John Mahama.
Meanwhile, the race for the vice presidential slot of the NDC is gathering momentum, with blocs in the party mainly made up of the Fante, Ewe and Ga caucuses gearing up for a showdown to lay claim to this position.
Information reaching the New Statesman indicates that Togbui Afede, Paramount Chief of the Asogli Traditional Council, is mobilizing chiefs to lobby the leadership of the NDC, as well as the President, for the position of the Vice President/Running Mate.
Described as the Volta caucus, insiders have told the New Statesman that those pushing for the selection of a candidate from the Volta region are fairly convinced that this move will blunt out the possible effects of former President and founder of the NDC, Jerry John Rawlings, convincing residents of the region not to vote for the NDC.
Failure to elect a “Voltarian”, insiders have warned, will result in the NDC losing a huge chunk of votes, largely due to voter apathy and the influence of the Rawlingses persuading voters to cast their votes for any party but the NDC.
Similarly, the Fante caucus within the party, allegedly headed by the Ahwois, “favours a Fante” to compensate the Central Region for the loss of President Mills and also to feed into the greater Akan votes, with Akans said to constitute 47.5% of the population.
With respect to an Akan candidate, members of the Fante caucus are said to favour Victor Smith, current Eastern Regional Minister, and Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, both indigenes from the Eastern Region. Regarding their preferred candidate from the Ashanti region, PV Obeng, according to sources, stands tall.
Ultimately ensuring that the Greater Accra region is not left out of this scramble, the New Statesman has gathered that the Mayor of Accra, Alfred Oko Vanderpuye, is seriously lobbying to become the Vice President of Ghana, likewise ET Mensah, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing.
“The interest from the AMA boss and ET Mensah is very real. They have approached a number of top shots within the party to ensure President Mahama does not make the mistake of selecting anyone else apart from them,” the source told this paper.
Surprisingly, self-acclaimed director of operations at the Castle, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, also wants to be named Vice President of the Republic of Ghana and feels his Ga-Adangbe connections will help win the region, described as one of the battle grounds on December 7, for the NDC.
Source: Fiifi Arhin/thestatesmanonline.com
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