Four reasons why NAPO’s appointment could prove a political masterstroke by Bawumia


At long last, the biggest open secret in Ghana’s political landscape is out: Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, known as NAPO, the former Minister of Education and current Minister of Energy, and four-term Member of Parliament, has been formally announced as the running mate for the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. The confirmation of NAPO follows the approval by the National Council of the party on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at a meeting in Accra.

This announcement brings an end to months of speculation during which numerous names were bandied about as potential running mates for Dr. Bawumia. Following the confirmation, GhanaWeb examines possible reasons for Dr. Bawumia and the NPP’s decision to settle on NAPO.

Secures Ashanti Region

Election watchers predict that an 85% win for the NPP in the Ashanti Region, coupled with favourable results from the Eastern and Central Regions, could be enough to ensure that on January 7, 2025, President Akufo-Addo will be handing over to Bawumia and not John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The Ashanti Region is referred to in Ghanaian election parlance as ‘the World Bank’ of the NPP, and therefore the party is expected to win massively there. However, recent developments have cast doubt on the margin of victory as some residents have been vocal with their criticism of the Akufo-Addo government over the inadequate developmental projects in the region.

But with NAPO, the NPP has a member of the Asante royalty and an astute politician who is quite loved and liked in the region and could therefore pull significant numbers for the party. NAPO could thus prove the difference for the NPP, potentially expanding their percentage of votes from the 77% in the 2020 elections to 85-90%, which could place them in a good position for overall victory.

United Front

A video exists of Kennedy Agyapong stating that a key condition for him to join the Bawumia campaign is NAPO’s selection as running mate. So when he was spotted at a Bawumia campaign event in the Ashanti Region, it indicated that NAPO’s fate as running mate had been sealed and it was just a matter of time before the announcement would be made. The confirmation of NAPO means that Kennedy Agyapong will come on board and play an active role in the Bawumia campaign. Additionally, reports indicate that the perceived standoff between NAPO and the Ashanti Regional chairman of the NPP, Bernard Antwi Boasiako, alias Wontumi, has been resolved and that all factions are united for the victory of the NPP. The unity, particularly the coming on board of Kennedy Agyapong, who had earlier said that he was not going to be on the campaign trail, is good news for the NPP and Dr. Bawumia.

Boot-for-Boot with Prof. Opoku-Agyemang for Experience in Education Sector

Both running mates of the NDC and NPP are former education ministers, which makes for an interesting competition. With education being a topical issue in the campaigns, having someone with rich experience, particularly with the implementation of the Free SHS initiative, is a strategic move for the Bawumia campaign as he could challenge his NDC counterpart regarding the achievements and challenges of their governments in that sector.

Parliamentary Experience

With Dr. Bawumia having no parliamentary experience, having a four-term MP as a second-in-command is a strategic move in navigating some of the headaches and challenges they may face on the campaign trail and even after winning the elections. As someone who has served in the legislature for nearly sixteen years, NAPO has developed the networks and expertise to help a future Bawumia government deal with issues that may require compromise and cooperation from parliament.




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