It will be a defining moment for the NDC when former president Mahama finally presents the name of his running mate in the 2020 election to the party’s Council of Elders and National Executive Committee but very interesting developments are already coming up ahead of Mahama’s announcement.

What was purported last week to be the final shortlist of Mahama’s potential running mates, was described by the NDC leadership as a fictitious one.

Some of the names still making the rounds include Dr. Kwabena Duffour, former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Professor Kwesi Botchwey, former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Zanetor Rawlings, a medical doctor and daughter of former President J.J Rawlings, former Attorney-General, Marrietta Appiah-Opong and Alex Mould, former CEO of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.

The rest of the names on the purported list include Dr. Johnson Asiama, a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Professor Nana Opoku Agyemang, former Minister of Education and Ato Forson, MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam.

Some media reports claiming reliable sources within the NDC now say information about Mahama’s running mate has been revealed and that the sources have described the former president’s choice as a native of the Ashanti Region “with deep roots in the Ashanti royal family and wide acceptance among party rank and file.”

The reports quoted a dependable source within the party leadership as saying that the person Mahama has chosen is “well-connected internationally, very intelligent, networked Ashanti with royal and grassroots links, strategic thinking capacity, extremely resourceful to the party and highly well-spoken of”.

According to the source, this could point to Mr. Kojo Bonsu, an astute organizer and royal Ashanti family member with a track record of achievements in business, politics, public sector administration, sports administration and corporate leadership.

The description of Mahama’s alleged running mate however also fits the person of another Ashanti royal of considerable accomplishment, Kwame Awuah-Darko. Kwame Awuah-Darko’s father hails from Juaben-Asante and his mother from Akyeam in the Eastern Region.

He is described by the sources as “an Ashanti royal, business tycoon and politician with multimillion-dollar interests in international Insurance, energy and real Estate and who is a former CEO of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company BOST and the Tema Oil Refinery. He is said to be a reserved but active member of the NDC.

Of all the potential running mates mentioned in media reports, it is only Kojo Bonsu who can sway large numbers of votes to a Mahama ticket when it comes to the Ashanti vote which is crucial.

The NDC has maintained a constant of 22 percent of the votes in Ashanti! With rigorous campaigning on his old turf, Kojo Bonsu could easily obtain and add a minimum of ten percent of the Ashanti vote to the NDC’s 22 percent. A total of 32 percent would be a win for NDC.

The names making the rounds as possible running mates for Mahama are those of respected, frontline members of the NDC but most have not had as much contact with the party’s rank and file and done as much leg work for the party, as the former mayor of Kumasi.

Choosing someone older than himself in the name of striking an age balance on his ticket or because an older running mate is unlikely to try running for President in the 2024 election could cost Mahama votes among the youth in Ashanti.

Investment scouts around the world have an eye on the progress of electoral politics in countries in which they have business interests and are not likely to be impressed with a presidential ticket on which a presidential candidate and a running mate will be too aged after an eight-year term, to continue to be attractive to voters.

The sources of votes for a Mahama-Bonsu ticket in Ashanti could be many and varied. Market Women and traders in Greater Kumasi are one source: Market women in greater Kumasi love the former mayor of the city. They call Kojo Bonsu “Ohemaaba.”

Take a walk through the Kumasi Central Market any day, mention his name and watch their reaction.

The people of Ashanti consider Bonsu as one of their own, a fact likely to cause some unease for the NPP if he is on the Mahama ticket.

Kumasi voters have good reason to throw their weight behind a ticket with Bonsu’s name on it: His administration gave several markets in a Kumasi a facelift but most notably, the Asawasi Market, the Tafo Market, and Atonso-Agogo Market.

Amid public skepticism, Bonsu also redesigned and rehabilitated the famous Prempeh Hall into the architecturally imposing edifice it is today.

He built a spectacular fence around the Kejetia Market and created the Kumasi Rattray Park which has an artificial lake, a golf course, children’s playground, gymnasium, a six-square meter dancing fountain, restaurants and cafeterias.

Floating voters among the youth are likely to favour a ticket that has someone with the militant posture and experience of fighting in the trenches for a political course.

Many young people in Ashanti have been inspired by Mr. Bonsu’s trail of achievements.

Even rival players on the political turf readily concede Bonsus typical game-changing abilities in business and politics: The founder an dleader of the Independent People’s Party, Mr. Kofi Akpaloo once said of Bonsu: “Everywhere he {Bonsu} goes, he brings transformation. His term at GOIL testifies to this.”

When the sports kit giant ADIDAS went searching for its first representative for West Africa, the job went to Ghanaian, Mr. Kojo Bonsu.

As Board Chairman of the National Sports Council, he led the re-branding of the National Sports Council into a Sports Authority.

His spectacular re-branding of GOIL transformed Ghana’s leading indigenous oil company into a great international brand.

The former mayor of Kumasi is a very popular fan of Asante Kotoko FC and if politics and sports easily coincide as some pundits insist, his name on the Mahama ticket could attract votes from teeming mass of Kotoko FC supporters.

Mr. Bonsu is held in considerable esteem in the NDC. He worked hard behind the scenes for the late President Mills’ 2008 campaign, helping to tout the campaigns “Better Ghana Agenda” slogan across Ghana.

He fought hard to maintain the unity of the NDC and keep up the sagging morale of party rank and file after the party’s electoral defeat in 201, by organizing the NDC’s “Unity Walk.”

The “Unity Walk” was taken to all parts of the country and helped to repel threats of disunity emerging within the party.

The NDC may have lost the 2016 election but it is important to remember that in the 2008 election, the NDC succeeded in winning over 400, 000 votes in the Ashanti Region, which is considered the stronghold of the opposition NPP, and in the 2012 general election, they increased their votes in the region to 612,000 votes.

Bonsu is reported to have told some close associates that he will campaign for those votes and more if he is a running mate.

Other sources insist that someone else other than Bonsu may be Mahama’s choice. In the end, the prerogative of choosing a running mate lies with the presidential candidate and it is over to Mahama to make his decision.