Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Prof. Joshua Alabi has been tipped as the favourite to be chosen as running mate for John Dramani Mahama in the upcoming 2020 elections.
This came out at a forum organised at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 by the Center for Public Discourse Analysis (CPDA).
The program, hosted by communication consultant, Dr. Etse Sekanko was empaneled by Dr. Nansata Yakubu, Development Consultant and Democracy Engineer, Dr. Akoto Boafo, Head of Current Affairs and Politics at Citi FM and Evans Mensah, Head of Political Desk at Joy FM.
In their analysis, the three panelists examined the chances of some probable candidates to partner former president and flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama but Joshua Alabi’s name came tops.
Dr. Akoto Boafo and Evans Mensah settled on Prof. Alabi as the most likely vice presidential candidate, while Dr. Yakubu’s most likely candidate was former Education Minister, Prof. Nana Jane Opoku Agyemang.
In affirmation, a quick head count conducted among audience saw Prof. Alabi gain 22 votes against two for Prof. Opoku Agyemang.
Other individuals whose name came up as viable candidates for the NDC’s vice presidential slot were, former MP for Awutu Senya West who is currently serving as Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Unioin (UNOAU), Hanna Serwah Tetteh, and former Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Nana Oye Lithur.
A former Deputy Chief of Staff under the erstwhile John Mahama administration, Valarie Sawyer, Economist and Lawyer, Prof. John Gatsi, and Hannah Bissiw, former Food and Agriculture Minister were also tipped as potential partners for the vice presidential candidate for John Mahama.
When the name of Prof. Kwesi Botwe, the man who chaired the Committee that looked into the reasons behind the NDC’s 2016 election defeat came up, the panelists explained that, he would not jell well with John Mahama.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Zenator Rawlings, names also came up when the panelists considered a youthful character for the enviable vice presidential position for the NDC for the 2020 elections.
Touching on factors that the NDC should consider for the selection of a vice presidential candidate, the panelists enumerated competence, capability, grassroots orientation and strong political stamina.
Other considerations included a charismatic person who will be able to match “boot for boot” (or serve as a foil to the kind of campaign Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia did for the NPP in the 2016 elections), and digital savvy.
Regional balance and economic expertise were also discussed as factors for choosing the vice presidential candidate for the NDC. The panelists noted that, the old age “North – South” balance will be very key but the exact region of the running mate will not be an emphatic consideration.
On economic expertise, Dr. Yakubu, Dr. Akoto Boafo and Mr. Mensah all cautioned, parading an economic “messiah” will not work for the NDC. This is because, the economics that was preached by current vice president, Dr. Bawumia during the 2016 elections has not been practicalised as expected.
The issue of either a short or long term person for the vice presidential slot was also considered. On this, the panelists opined that although it will be good for the party to opt for a more experienced and older person for the 2020 elections, it will be more important to consider a vice presidential candidate beyond the 2020 elections.
They explained that, for the party’s survival, the vice president should be someone who will be a formidable force in the upcoming elections, adding, it will be “dangerous” for a short term candidate.
Speaking at the sidelines of the program, Dr. Este Sikanku of the CPDA explained that the program was to create a space for people to have very intelligent and intelligible conversations on the future of our nation.
He stressed that a public discourse of that nature, for instance on the vice president is important, because “who ever gets that position is going to be in a leadership position, but the point is, we’ve never heard a lot from the public in terms of what they expect in their vice president.”