The New Patriotic Party (NPP) goes to the polls on November 4, 2023, to elect its presidential candidate for the 2024 elections.
Tempers are high. Tension is brewing ahead of a showdown that could make or break the NPP as it settles on President Akufo-Addo’s successor.
A total of 203,439 delegates are expected to partake in the presidential elections which will take place in the various constituencies across all 16 regions of the country.
After former Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen and former Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko pulled out, there are four candidates left in the NPP race.
The four-horse race is between the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, former Agric Minister, Dr Owusu Akoto Afriyie, and former MP for Asante Mampong Francis Addai-Nimoh.
Political watchers are already predicting that the primaries will be a major test for Dr. Bawumia and Kennedy Agyapong.
Each of them needs to win the majority of the over 200,000 delegates from all 275 constituencies in order to get the nod to lead the NPP for the next presidential elections.
Whoever emerges as the presidential candidate is crucial as he will eventually face former President John Dramani Mahama of the opposition National Democratic Congress.
Let’s take a look at the four candidates standing for the position of presidential candidate for the NPP.
Kennedy Ohene Agyapong
Kennedy Agyapong caused a major upset during the Super Delegates Conference of the party when he came second behind Dr Bawumia with 132 votes representing 14.30% of the votes. Alan Kyeremanten had been tipped to come second.
Posing the biggest threat to Dr Bawumia’s chances of becoming the 2024 flagbearer of the NPP, Mr Agyapong has intensified his campaign.
The “firebrand MP” has threatened a “showdown” with Dr. Bawumia. He said he would operate “an eye for an eye” policy during the election and that he would not allow anyone to bully him.
He also claimed that he had been offered huge sums of money to step down in order to allow Vice President Bawumia easy passage.
He said he rejected all such offers, including a promise to make him a running mate to Dr Bawumia.
Ken Agyapong said he remains resolute and that he will win the November 4 election.
He described himself as a confident, bold, and experienced candidate who could easily defeat John Dramani Mahama, the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“I assure delegates that I will defeat John Mahama hands down in the general election if elected to lead the NPP.”
A win for Mr Agyapong means the party is going into the crucial elections with a candidate from Ghana’s Central region, which has proven to be a decider as a swing region in recent polls.
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
Recent polls conducted by some research outfits have predicted that the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia would win the primaries massively to represent NPP in the general election.
While Global Info Analytics projects that a run-off would be likely with Dr Bawumia leading with 43.5%, a poll conducted by the Centre for Sustainable African Development Initiatives (C-SADI) in the UK and The Outcomes International in Ghana, found that the Vice President has a commanding lead over his rivals, with 80.8% of the support of delegates.
Even though, the poll has said that Dr Bawumia is the favourite to win chiefly because of his vision for both party and country, his ability to win the presidential election of 2024 is not a foregone conclusion.
But Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says “It is possible”.
“I have a compelling vision for Ghana’s future. It is possible for Ghana to be like the advanced nations if we put our minds and energies into it. With the technologies available, the new ones that are emerging, and a renewed mindset, we can leapfrog impossibilities and make the unimaginable possible. It is possible to break the eight, in order to continue with the transformational policies we have started. It is possible!” Dr. Bawumia asserted.
Before the 2008 general elections in Ghana, many people had never heard of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. But he is now firmly in the spotlight as the debate rages over his performance, with mixed reactions from voters.
If the delegates give Dr Bawumia the nod, it will be the first time that the party is heading north in terms of presenting a Muslim candidate.
Dr Afriyie Akoto
Dr Afriyie Akoto polled 40 votes out of the over 960 delegates who voted in the NPP’s Super Delegates Conference held on August 26, this year.
That was, however, enough to secure the former Minister of Food and Agriculture a spot in the Party’s presidential primaries.
With a much-expanded base, Dr. Akoto is hoping to clinch the ultimate.
He is promising delegates a strong party with him at the helm. A party in which activists will be duly rewarded for their sacrifices.
Under an Akoto presidency, agriculture will be given its pride of place. He believes that agriculture should be the driving force of Ghana’s economy.
“I strongly believe that agriculture, will lift Ghana out of poverty and assure us not only of food and nutrition security but also, generate the necessary resources for the development of the other sectors including Industry, Health, Education and Infrastructure in the medium to long term,” he said.
He is credited with the introduction of programmes such as the five modules of Planting for Food and Jobs, Rearing for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, Agricultural Mechanisation and Greenhouse Technology, as well as the recruitment of 6,000 agricultural extension officers to beef up the system and the recruitment of more than 1,000 veterinary doctors, which is ongoing.
Despite being sidelined by President Akufo-Addo’s government, Mr Addai-Nimoh still made it to the top 4 of the super delegates election thanks to the 9 votes he obtained and Mr Boakye Agyarko’s decision to withdraw from the run-off election.
For him, the bridge between ambition and reality is made with determination, persistence and self-belief.
He is sure of his chances of securing victory come Saturday, November 4.
Mr Addai-Nimoh is optimistic about obtaining 30% of the total votes from delegates. With the 30% of delegates votes achieved, he is also hoping to push the NPP flagbearer race into a run-off.
He believes that when this is done, it will unite the party as the various candidates will have to fall on the other aspirants who trailed for their support.
“I’ve told delegates in my rounds that they should share the votes during the November 4 election such that there will be a runoff. If you want the unity of the party you can do so through election. So, I repeat of the four of us left, the delegates should share the votes among us so we go for a round-off. When they share the votes and there’s a runoff among the first two candidates, maybe Addai Nimo and another person, I will be compelled to go to the other remaining candidates and beg for their support. If you go to solicit someone’s support, the person will put before you his conditions and if you are able to meet those conditions, you the candidate are assured of the person’s support.”
According to him, the NPP needs a new face to achieve its most touted “break the 8” mantra.
He reiterated that the new face must, be a unifier, be of unblemished character, have a history of service, and have the ability to appeal to the electorates.