General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Johnson Asiedu Nketsia has backed calls by some loyalists of the ruling party for President John Dramani Mahama to retain vice president Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur as running mate for the 2016 elections.
Relying on the widely known maxim “you don’t change a winning team”, General Mosquito, as the NDC General Secretary is affectionately called sided with those who believe a Mahama/Amissah ticket was surest bet for next year’s presidential elections.
While admitting that the selection of running mate is the sole prerogative of President Mahama, the hardworking and influential General Secretary said if he had his own way, he would want the media shy Cape Coast born astute banker-turned-politician retained.
When asked by TV3’s Bright Nana Anfo if he would want Amissah Arthur changed as running mate for the November 2016 elections, Asiedu Nketsia retorted “of course if I have my own way I won’t want him changed”
There has been conflicting reports in the media regarding the choice of running mate for President Mahama in 2016. While others say the president will replace vice president Amissah Arthur, others too say the sitting vice president was most likely to be retained.
The speculations in the media was further given a boost when President Mahama instructed his vice president to pick nominations forms on his behalf to contest last Saturday’s presidential primaries of the ruling party, a strategy Managing Editor of Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jr, described as “masterstroke”.
Since then, lobbying and subtle campaigns for president Mahama to retain his “loyal and hardworking” vice, Paa Kwesi, has intensified, with the Central regional Chairman of the NDC, Bernard Allotey Jacobs and other admirers of the media-shy vice-president forcefully advocating a Mahama/Amissah Arthur ticket for the 2016 elections.
Meanwhile, some have also suggested that President John Mahama was likely to nominate a woman from the south as a replacement for Amissah Arthur.
However, president Mahama has so far remained noncommittal save to say he has an idea who his running mate would be, “I know who my running mate would be but for now, let me get the endorsement of the delegates first, after which based on the party’s consultative process we will come out with the name”, President Mahama told Garden City radio recently.
However, until last Saturday primaries of the party, NDC vice chairman and director of elections, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, says whoever will partner the president into the 2016 elections is not a matter of concern to the party’s national executive.
“The President has the right to decide who he wants to run with, that is his prerogative and the party is not worried about it,” he told Starr Fm’s Nii Arday Clegg.
The vice president himself has of late upped his ante and his been more visible in the media than before, with his devotees on social media splashing pictures of any program he attends.
Perhaps, owing to reports that some big shots in the party have also intensified their lobby to supplant Amissah Arthur, the party’s powerful
General Secretary has openly thrown his weight behind the former Governor of the Bank of Ghana to foil any attempt to have him replaced.
With the NDC parliamentary and presidential primaries now over, and with him having been overwhelmingly endorsed by the party members, President John Mahama is now expected to name his 2016 running mate any time soon.