Twice-defeated opposition presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, last Thursday did what his supporters in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) expected of him by announcing his readiness to again stake a claim to ?the flag bearer position of the party for the third successive time when nomination opens later this year.
Since the day he made the announcement, party supporters in favor of his third time bid and those against have not ceased to engage in hotly arguments on several platforms. Indeed, the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, said it was good omen for the ruling party.
But unknown to the many jubilant NPP supporters waving high sky that their prayers for Nana Akufo-Addo to officially announce his desire to lead the party into the 2016 election has been answered; the former Abuakwa South legislator has something up his sleeves, The Al-Hajj can report.
Nana Akufo Addo and his henchmen, mainly his tribesmen from Akyem and some associate party gurus, on the blind side of everybody have crafted a cunning tactic to dribble rival factions in the NPP.
Indeed, a very reliable source close to Nana Akufo-Addo?s cousin and most trusted ally, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, told The Al-Hajj ?what Nana did on Thursday was just part of a strategy to preserve his growing influence in the party?but I can tell you that Bawumia will become president on, or before the 2020 elections.?
The Al-Hajj has learnt that Nana Addo?s Thursday declaration of intent to contest the party?s flag bearer position when nomination opens and possibly run for president was a ?well- refined? publicity stunt that would later feed into a much elaborate scheme ahead of the 2016 elections.
The plain fact is that the former Foreign Affairs Minister in the Kufuor administration is not in the best of health conditions and frame of mind to continue frontline politics, but for pressures on him to keep the Akyem stock?s controlling influence in the party and also to prepare grounds for his twice-failed running mate and political prot?g?, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to ascend the highest office of the land.
Nana Akufo-Addo, according to close associates would have given up on his childhood dreams of equaling the achievement of his late father and President in the second republic, Sir Edward Akufo-Addo, but for the intense pressure brought to bear on him.
Enter Plan ?B?
As was widely expected, Nana Akufo-Addo, even though may have announced his intention to contest the party flag bearer slot when nomination is opened and his resolve to lead the NPP into the 2016 election, a very dependable source hinted this paper will depend on several factors.
Among other reasons we are told is the? performance of the Mahama government, specifically its fight against corruption and the management of the national economy, most especially; the fulfillment of the construction of the 200 community day secondary schools the NDC promised in its 2012 manifesto and how government implements the ?progressive free SHS? policy.
Having the age factor in mind and its attendant health risk, Nana Akufo-Addo, per the testament of party insider close to him, would contest the 2016 elections with Dr Bawumia as his running mate only if he is able to harvest enough resources between now and election time, and also, if he is convinced the Mahama-led administration has poorly performed for which reason his chances of becoming president would have been enhanced.
The source, however says in the event that one or even both of the major considerations turn not be in his favour, Nana AkufoAddo, being the most popular candidate within the NPP today, would nevertheless, enter the race for the party?s 2016 flag bearer contest and would instantly name Dr. Bawumia as his running mate after winning the primaries only to step down for his running mate few weeks to the general elections.
The Al-Hajj has gathered that with few days to the official filing of nomination with the Electoral Commission, Nana Akufo-Addo would then announce his withdrawal from the 2016 presidential race, citing ill-health, by which time, and due to time constraint going into another congress, the NPP would under the circumstance be compelled to give Dr Bawumia, who had already been named running mate, the nod as the party?s 2016 presidential candidate.
The source said, Dr Bawumia would also immediately announce the MP for Esekado-Ketan and Second Deputy Speaker in Parliament, Mr Joe Ghartey as his running mate.
On the other hand, according to the source, should President Mahama and NDC be seen not to be living up to the expectations of Ghanaians, Nana Akufo-Addo, despite the odds of age and health risk will surely have his name on the 2016 presidential elections ballot together with Dr. Bawumia as usual, as his running mate.
Aside the aforementioned considerations, Nana AkufoAddo and his henchmen, are also said to have their eyes glued to the internal political dynamics in the ruling NDC party, in the event the cracks in the ruling party widens.
But, the former Foreign Affairs minister, a veteran politician who would be marking his 70th birthday this Saturday, according to the tricky plan gleaned by this paper; will be expected to step down as president before his 75th birthday to allow his vice, Bawumia take over, that is in the event Nana Addo is named as winner of the 2016 presidential election.
And as part of the succession plan, Dr Bawumia will also be expected to nominate second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Joe Ghartey his vice-president.
Love for Bawumia
Nana Akufo-Addo?s defiant posturing in contesting for president for the third time at a very advanced age, a close aide told The Al-Hajj is also borne out of his stubborn desire to shepherd Dr Bawumia to stardom, in which case his pride of place in a future NPP government or party is safeguarded.
The present arrangements therefore, the source revealed is to position the ?young? Dr Bawumia for the 2020 and subsequent elections should 2016 not work out as planned.
Though Nana Akufo-Addo currently remains the most popular figure in the NPP, and could easily win at the party?s next congress to elect flag bearer, some political pundits still believe, one of the potential flag bearer aspirants may pull a surprise to his plan of laying ?red carpet for his ?darling? Mahamudu Bawumia.
The former Foreign Affairs Minister under the Kufuor regime, a source told The Al-Hajj is taking a cue from the late President Mills, who for the love he had for the then John Mahama was compelled under the circumstance to contest the 2008 elections even when he was not in the best of health conditions in order to smoothen the path for his prot?g?, President John Mahama.
Tall Mountains to Surmount
But contrasting the ?hurdles? confronting Nana Akufo-Addo?s determination and desire for a third time bid, political watchers and NPP sources alike, confided in The Al-Hajj that the twice failed presidential candidate has very tall mountains to climb.
Any unwise handling of the tasks before Nana Akufo-Addo, pundits say could spell doom for him and his family.
Political watchers are quick to point out to the unfortunate calamity that befell the late President John Atta Mills, his family, the NDC and the nation at large which is fresh in the memory of Ghanaians.
They say the age issue has made Nana Akufo-Addo?s dream of becoming President slim. ?Though Ghanaians respect and cherish the aged, and time and again refer to them as the repository of knowledge and wisdom, they will not relish voting for a 73 year old President?, one analyst told The Al-Hajj.
?Given the fact that aside former President Kufuor and late President Mills who were elected when they were in their 60s, all elected and even military heads of the state of Ghana since 1957 were in the 40s as of the time they were sworn in to office,? he stated.
According to him even in the country?s traditional chieftaincy set up, ?kingmakers have stopped enstooling the aged. The idea is to get much younger people to fill the position for him to reign for long to ensure productive development and also to avoid unnecessary tensions when a seat becomes vacant?.
Against this backdrop, Nana Akufo-Addo and his handlers are thought to be handicapped and seriously disadvantaged when it comes to the issue of age.
Ageing also comes with its corresponding health-related issues and the former Abuakwa South MP is said to be battling with ill-health. Already, there are reports, which were confirmed during the election petition hearing when Nana Akufo-Addo asked permission from the Justices to travel abroad to see his doctors.
Party insiders say, Nana Akufo-Addo?s physique compared to the last two elections is a far cry, and are afraid he wouldn?t be able to campaign effectively.
Even more disturbing, they say, is the internal wrangling in the NPP which made Nana Akufo-Addo to almost single-handedly finance the party?s last election.
This is said to have greatly affected his finances and financiers like Data bank, who are said to be reeling under economic difficulties and may be unwilling to support another campaign of Nana Akufo-Addo again.
Nana Addo?s age coupled with some factors working against him, is also reported to have made him unattractive to prospective financiers, who are said to be thinking there was no way he could become president at his age.
Nana Akufo-Addo?s Thursday announcement, according to a party source is said to have irked other aspirants, mainly linked to the Ashanti power blockers, who are said to have vowed to work against him or any of his assigns in 2016. According to them it was time Nana Akufo-Addo left the scene for other persons to lead the party.
President Mahama?s affability, charisma, energetic stature as a ?young man? and huge incumbency advantage, is something political pundits have also posited, makes Nana Akufo-Addo chances very slim in 2016.
And as all these factors are apparent, his immediate family (wife and children), doctors and physicians, The Al-Hajj has gathered have advised the NPP strongman not to gamble with his life by going into another election.
The source said if Nana Akufo-Addo had announce his exit from frontline politics on Thursday, his allies contesting the upcoming national congress would have been in trouble, and he would also have lost his grip on the party.
Source: The Al-Hajj