The Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamaudu Bawumia on Saturday, November 4 2023 made history by winning the New Patriotic Party presidential primaries and became the first non-Akan flagbearer to lead the New Patriotic Party in a general election in the country.
He garnered 118210 votes representing 61.47 per cent while his closest contender, the Assin Central lawmaker, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong polled 71996 votes representing 37.41 percent according to the official results declared by the Deputy Commissioner of the Electoral Commission, Dr Serebour Quaicoe at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Addai-Nimoh, the former Member of Parliament for the Mampong Constituency in the Ashanti Region, received a pitiful 781 votes, or 0.41 per cent, while the former minister of food and agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto, came in a distant third with 1459 votes, or 0.76 per cent.
The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s victory comes at the back of a huge and overwhelming endorsement from the top echelon of the ruling New Patriotic Party. The Vice President was endorsed by almost all the 137 members of Parliament of the ruling party.
A poll, conducted by the Centre for Sustainable African Development Initiatives (C-SADI) in the UK and Outcomes International in Ghana ahead of the primaries predicted a commanding lead of 80.8% of the support of delegates for the Vice President over his closest contender, the Assin Central Lawmaker, Kennedy Agyapong.
In fact, before the National Delegates Conference on Saturday, November 4 2023, the Vice President Campaign Team expressed its surest optimism of a resounding victory for its candidate.
Sammy Awuku Esq., the Campaign Manager of the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia is on record to have stated that ‘any poll or survey that scored the Vice President below 75% ahead of the polls is not credible’.
However, with the turnout of the event on Saturday, November 4 2023, it appeared that unlike the top echelon of the ruling New Patriotic Party who want the Vice President to lead the party as its flagbearer for the 2024 general elections, the grassroots of the party thinks otherwise.
Thus, despite the overwhelming endorsement of the Vice President by the top echelon of the ruling party, a significant number of the New Patriotic Party delegates totaling 74,236 which constitutes 39 percent voted against the vice President’s candidature in the National Delegates Conference on Saturday, November 4 2023.
Interestingly, the Vice President lost two regions and over fifty constituencies to his closest contender, the Assin Central lawmaker, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong.
Even though the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumai is the first-time flagbearer to have received the highest votes in the history of the party, he is also the party’s flagbearer to be elected by less than 62 per cent of valid votes cast since the party expanded it Electoral College in 2010.
Simply put, this may have been a victory with a bitter taste for the Vice President, particularly due to the high level of assurances of an overwhelming endorsement from delegates ahead of the polls.
Breaking The ‘8’ On the Horizon; Possible Or Impossible
In essence, the result of the New Patriotic Party National Delegates Conference on Saturday, November 4 2023 suggests that while the vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia may have won the flagbearership race, his popularity in the party is questionable.
The victory of the Vice President appears to be overshadowed by the significant number of delegates who voted against his candidature.
Sammy Crabbe, a former Vice Chairman of the ruling party and a leading member of Kennedy Agyapong Campaign Team asserted that it would be very difficult for the party to win the 2024 general elections with the Vice President as its flagbearer.
“Mahama cannot be beaten easily. Breaking the eight is not an easy thing, so many things are going against us. Each candidate brings something to the table. It’s by popular vote. If people identify with a candidate, they will vote for him. From where I sit, there’s a strong perception that this economy is not going well. And as Chairman of the Economic Management Team, people associate him [Bawumia] with the mess that they perceive is going on and that is a huge liability. It is going to be quite difficult if he should win the presidential primary.”Sammy Crabbe
Meanwhile, the Campaign Manager for the Vice President and former Organizer of the ruling party has admitted that the campaign to retain power in the 2024 election will not be an easy task as the party is going up against a formidable opposition leader, John Dramani Mahama.
He noted that the ability of the New Patriotic Party to break the ‘8’ rests on the strategy the party would deploy ahead of the 2024 general elections.
Arguably, the ability of the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the New Patriotic Party to prosecute the ‘break the 8 agenda’ would depend not only on the strategy it would deploy, however, on the ability of the party to close ranks and files after its presidential primaries and how it would use the Assin Central Member of Parliament and flagbearer aspirant, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong.
His impressive performance in Saturday’s November 4 2023, National Delegates Conference proved that he is a formidable force for the party to reckon with in its ‘breaking the 8 agenda’.
Again, the choice of the running mate of the ruling New Patriotic Party arguably would also play a very important role in the party’s quest to win the 2024 general elections.
Finally, among other things, the ruling New Patriotic Party must work hard to change the economic fortunes of the country as no matter how the party may refuse to admit, the state of the economy would be a key decider in the 2024 general elections.