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The ECOWAS Chairman, this paper gathered, is not only convinced with the work of his media-shy vice president, he has confided in close aides his intention to retain the consummate economist for his second term bid.
President Mahama’s decision to retain the former Governor of Bank of Ghana, a source at the presidency told this paper, reflects in his repeated ‘public acclamation’ of the Cape Coast born vice president.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the National Economic Forum held in 2014 at Senchi, President John Mahama commended Mr. Amissah-Arthur for his role in addressing challenges facing the economy and particularly, putting together the forum.
The economic forum, which was the brainchild of the vice president, was intended to find long lasting measures to restore the country’s macroeconomic environment and to stimulate growth.
What has reinforced Mr Amissah-Arthur’s chances of retaining his position, sources say, was the President’s recent public endorsement of his vice president’s tireless effort geared towards bringing the economy back on track during his state of the nation address to parliament last week.
While commending handlers of the economy, President Mahama singled out Amissah-Arthur, who is also head of Government Economic Management Team, as “my hard working vice president,” a statement his close aides told The aL-haJJ was a vote of confidence by the President in the former deputy Finance Minister under the Rawlings administration.
Media reports last year was rife about how some lobbyists have succeeded in getting the President yield to plans to replace vice president Amissah-Arthur with a party stalwart. Some of the names bandied in the media included Foreign Affairs Minister, Madam Hannah Serwah Tetteh; Communications Minister, Edward Kofi Omane Boamah; Minister of State at the presidency, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah; Brong Ahafo regional Minister, Eric Opoku and Chief Executive of National Health Insurance Scheme, Sylvester Mensah.
The reports suggested that Madam Hannah Tetteh was likely to supplant Amissah-Arthur in order to maintain the Central region ticket and also appeal to women voters in the 2016 general elections.
However, NDC stalwarts and big shots at the presidency The aL-hAJJ spoke to rubbished the suggestion, saying it wouldn’t make sense to change Amissah-Arthur going into the next elections.
Although they admitted those mentioned as likely candidates for the running mate job are all competent and qualified in their own rights to be running mate, they say “changing Amissah-Arthur is not in the mind of the President, so one must not waste time talking about it…we all know the job the vice president has done and the president has consistently told us he has no plans of changing him.”
A source at the presidency also confirmed the president’s intention of retaining the vice president, saying “sometimes I don’t know where my media friends get their stories from…I can tell you on authority that President Mahama will contest the 2016 elections with Amissah-Arthur as his running mate.
Other party heavyweights this paper contacted also spoke highly of the vice president maintaining his job.
Despite not being popular in the media, Amissah-Arthur has managed to warm his way into the hearts of many NDC members including party founder former President Jerry John Rawlings.
Mr Rawlings at the December 20, 2014 delegates’ congress of the ruling party commended the President Mahama for nominating Amissah Arthur as his running mate in the 2012 elections, saying “the Vice President is a nice man, I like him. Mr. President you made the right choice by nominating him as vice president.”