After Saturday February 23, presidential primary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in which the former president, John Dramani Mahama, overwhelmingly secured the endorsement of the delegates of the party, the hawks have started circling.
One person, who is no stranger to the calls for who should be the running mate to president Mahama, is the managing editor of Dispatch and pollster, Ben Ephson.
In November last year, on Starr FM, Ben Ephson said the former President cannot afford to pick a non-Akan as running mate considering the complex nature of the country’s political system.
According to him, “If Mahama wins as flagbearer of the NDC, it will not be advisable for him to choose a Voltarian or Ga as a running mate. He will have to take an Akan as a running mate for balance”.
He continued: “Anita De Sooso got only about 300 votes when she contested but that doesn’t mean only 300 people from the Volta Region voted. One can tell that delegates voted for quality and not based on Regionality”.
After this statement, I took the trouble to air my view on why, I think this call by Mr Ephson is misplaced, ill-informed and should not be entertained by the former president, but after the Saturday’s contest, Mr Ephson is at it again.
Members of the NDC with deep understanding of politics must feel strongly concerned about the intricate political choice of which region is best suited to produce the running mate and the vice-president to President Mahama.
In Tuesday February 26, edition of the Daily Dispatch captioned “WHO WILL BE THE CHOSEN ONE?, the paper lined up some people, it claimed are in contention for the Veep slot of the NDC, they include’ Kwesi Ahwoi, Julius Debrah, Kofi Armah Buah, and Akwasi Oppong Fosu.
The names captured above are from the Akan speaking regions of the country.
Interestingly, not a single one is from the Volta region, the political world bank of the party. It is said that, to whom much is given, much is expected. Since the return to multi-party democracy in 1992, the people of the Volta region, have stood firmly with the NDC, even when it is obvious and apparent to all that, the NDC, has consistently neglected them.
For the people of the Volta region, their support over the years has gone to the opposition NDC, which was privileged to rule the nation for 16 years.
Ben Ephson, who has been widely acclaimed as the only credible pollster in this country, must know the core support base of the NDC.
The party, although has a national character, has most of its members coming from the minority tribes in the country.
The party gets most of its votes from people of Volta or Northern extraction, these people have mostly migrated to other regions mostly for greener pasture.
It is no surprise that, the only seat the NDC has in the capital of the Ashanti region, Asawase, is a settler Constituency.
Generally, most of the votes from the Ashanti, Central, Eastern and Western regions, are votes the party obtain from people who have migrated there.
If the NDC, has any chances of winning the 2020 elections, the party must be mindful of who to select to partner John Dramani Mahama.
The choice of who should partner Mr Mahama, should not be lost on anyone, especially a pollster, it is either someone from the Greater Accra region or the Volta region.
The Central region, since 1992, has been the biggest beneficiary of the NDC. Kow Nkensen Arkaah, was the first vice-president, since the country returned to constitutional rule in 1992.
President Jerry John Rawlings and Arkaa,h had a difficult working relationship throughout their four-year term.
The high point was an alleged punch-up between them at a cabinet meeting on December 28, 1995. Rawlings alluded that there had been some form of misunderstanding.
Going into the 1996 election, after the fall out, Arkaah, was replaced by Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, another native of the Central region.
When Rawlings was about exiting, he single handedly handed over the leadership of the NDC to Prof. Mills, in what became known as the Swedru Declaration.
Despite this in the 2000 election, John Agyekum Kufuor, had 60.3 percent of the valid votes cast in the Central region, as against Prof. Mills’s 39.8 percent.
After another unsuccessful bid in 2004, Prof. Mills went on to win the 2008 election. As fate would have it, the good Professor and one of the best presidents this country, would ever have, went the way of all mortals.
He initiated a lot projects in his home region, before his demise. His vice-president, who eventually became president, John Dramani Mahama, chose Amissah Arthur, to complete the term of President Mills, as well as for the 2012 and 2016 elections.
In standing with the whole country in 2012, the Central region, voted for the NDC but not in 2016, when the party needed the region the most.
It is said that to whom much is given, much is expected. The Central region, can only pride itself of being a swing region, despite the glaring evidence of what the NDC, had done for it.
The Volta region, cannot boast of these privileges the Central region, has enjoyed, yet politics, we are told is all about democratic dividends accruing either to individuals or group of people.
The NDC, risks losing the 2020 elections, if the party, does not consider very strategically the choice of a running mate.
This is not prophecy, not guessing, not augury but simply a fact of knowledge of how the electoral system works.
This is no rocket science but just a careful application of educated reasoning to view elections.
Ben Ephson’s sermon is full of problems.