The dream of President John Dramani Mahama to emulate his predecessor Johns aside the late President Mills, to enjoy a second term at the Presidency is under serious threat as the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has marshaled formidable and unified team to go into the 2016 elections.
Highly poised to make history as the only political party in the fourth Republic to deny an incumbent President a second term, the NPP, The Al-Hajj?s intelligence has picked up, is resolved to shelve the age-long tradition of an Ashanti or Akyem presidential candidate to lead the party in the 2016 crucial election.
In a move calculated to appeal to other regions, which political watchers say is likely to give the biggest opposition party an edge in the 2016 elections, both Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and former President John Agyekum Kufuor together with ?movers and shakers? of the party have finally settled on star witness at the recent election petition hearing and twice failed Vice-Presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as its flag bearer ahead of the next presidential elections.
Dr. Bawumia?s background as an influential Northerner, a Muslim, a well-known Zongo man and his political clout acquired since he was discovered by Nana Akufo-Addo together with a likely Paul Afoko chairmanship, many believed the NDC?s dominance in the three northern regions and the Zongos could abruptly come to an end.
The NPP?s permutations, according to an insider, ?with a ?neutral? person from the Ashanti/Akyem divide, it is possible to garner enough votes from the three northern regions plus the over 1000 Zongos across Ghana ?whiles consolidating our votes in our ?traditional? strongholds of Ashanti and Eastern; this would push President Mahama and his NDC to an uncomfortable zone in 2016?.
Having learnt big lessons from the painful defeats in the 2008 and 2012 elections which they nearly won with only two regions, the grey hairs in the NPP, according to a source are said to have landed on Dr. Bawumia as flag bearer to cash in on the Northern votes to be partnered by the second deputy speaker and MP for Essikado-Ketan, Mr Joe Ghartey who is expected to win more votes from the Central and Western regions.
The ?wise? political permutation is such that majority of NPP members are pushing for business magnate Mr. Pual Afoko to be elected National Chairman to use his organizational skills, and his in- depth political and analytical expertise and northern background to support Dr. Bawumia to deliver the three northern regions, which have been a safe haven for the ruling NDC since the inception of the 1992 Republican constitution.
The preference of Mr. Ghartey, who is also well- known and respected as an astute lawyer and legislator by his kinsmen from the Central and Western regions, is to snatch back the Western and Central regions, which the NPP won in the 2000 and 2004 elections but had to surrender it to the NDC in the last two elections.
The NPP is also said to have cashed in on the growing differences between President Mahama and his party leadership and major stakeholders; effect of which has cascaded down to the grass roots of the party, to launch their ambitious agenda to make him a one term President.
The current economic hardship, characterized by serious macro-economic imbalances with downward spiral of the value of the local currency, the Cedi, is making matters worse for the President.
The NPP?s ?victory 2016? team has been designed in such a way that the party intends to give former presidential spokesperson, Mr Kwabena Agyapong, the General Secretary position in order to utilize his crafty organizational skills and experience in politics since 1996 to deny the NDC and President Mahama another term in office.
Political pundits The Al-Hajj spoke to on NPP?s permutations narrated how serious a threat the biggest opposition?s latest plan is to President Mahama?s second term bid.
Many say, given Mr. Afoko?s pedigree in the north and his political astuteness coupled with Dr. Bawumia?s popularity since his emergence on the political terrain, President Mahama and NDC have a hefty task in terms of maintaining their win in the three northern regions.
The irony of President Mahama?s presidency is that many have accused him of tilting his administration in favor of northerners.
Again, many senior members of his party are also peeved with him for ill-treatment and exclusion, a development that has found expression in Parliament, where the President is very unpopular even among his own party?s legislators.
Reports are that the President and all the three northern minority and majority leaders the NDC has produced over the years are not in the best of terms.
Hon Alban Bagbin, Cletus Avoka and Dr Benjamin Kumbuor are all said to be complaining of ill-treatments from the Mahama government.
The Nadowli Kaloe MP has come out openly to vent his frustration at the conduct of the President regarding his inaccessibility and lack of commitment to fight corruption and graft.
Both Hon Bagbin and Cletus Avoka, who incidentally have been leaders of the august House, have been given a position christened ?three wise men? which many have interpreted as retirement package for the two active gentlemen.
Dr Kumbour on the other hand is said to be aggrieved due to his amorphous position as a majority and leader of Government business without cabinet status.
The president?s resolve to deny him a cabinet status is said to have irked the majority Leader, who together with Alban Bagbin and Cletus Avoka control both the Majority MPs and the Northern Caucus in Parliament.
The NDC leadership and kingpins of the party have all complained of the politics of exclusion being practiced by the President, a development that is said to pose serious danger to the second term bid of the President, especially when the NPP has crafted a strategy to take over the votes of the three northern regions, Western and Central regions and add to their traditional Ashanti and Eastern region votes.
Political watchers say the best way to neutralize the effect of the NPP?s plan is for the President to begin resolving his differences with all persons in the party before the 2016 elections.
Now that former President Rawlings and his wife Nana KonaduAgyemang Rawlings have started planning their antics, it is quite clear the NDC is disadvantaged so far as the 2016 is concerned.
According to pundits the only way forward for the NDC to avoid a disastrous showing in the next presidential election is for the President to unite the party and do away with his politics of exclusion and vengeance in the ruling NDC.