The New Patriotic Party’s running mate for the 2008 elections, Dr Mahmoud Bawumia, has debunked suggestions that he could be lobbying to be nominated as Nana Akufo-Addo’s running mate for the 2012 polls.

Commenting publicly for the first time since the NPP’s defeat in the 2008 elections, Dr Bawumiah told Citi FM’s Moro Awudu, he is available for any role in the party’s campaign, and not necessarily to partner Nana Addo as the running mate.

Barely two weeks after the NPP went to polls to elect Nana Akufo-Addo as Flagbearer, speculations about who gets to partner him as running mate has already started making the rounds.

Media reports suggest that Dr Bawumia’s name has popped up again for the position, whilst sources in the NPP have also tipped Ambrose Derry, Deputy Minority Leader and MP for Lawra Nandom for the slot.

But Dr Bawumia, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, says these are mere speculations which should not be taken seriously.

He said the issue about who becomes a running mate for the party is not so crucial at the moment since according to him, it would not be a difficult thing for Nana Addo to choose a running mate because there are many qualified people in the NPP to take up that position.

‘‘My own page is that the party has a constitution and a process for selecting a running mate, so it’s too early to start this speculation," he stated.

"The party has to focus on policies that will put programmes together for the upcoming elections. The flagbearer should be given a space to do due diligence. The party has great and qualified people so it wouldn’t be difficult to find one. And simply because I was running mate doesn’t mean I have to be chosen again. We will be willing to support anyone who is selected. I think that there is too much focus on individual interests,’’ he added.

‘‘The biggest interest should be for the party and not individuals. We have to win 2012 elections so we can implement policies to salvage the economy. I am not angling for a position in the NPP. This is no time for that sort of discussion. This is time for hard work to bring the party back to power. I am quite happy to play whatever role I am asked to play, but I am not yearning for a position. And it is not for individuals to decide whether they will accept or not. What if you focus on a position, and the party doesn’t win, it is useless’’ he said.

Dr Bawumia, who has since the NPP’s defeat in the 2008 general elections gone back into academia at Columbia University in the United States, told Citi News that he was not surprised that Nana Addo was re-elected to lead the party for the 2012 elections. “I didn’t really see the party had a choice apart from him. He has done so much and proven a lot so the party clearly in its mind elected him because they believe he can deliver victory in 2012.

Asked what he thought caused the NPP’s defeat in 2008, Dr Bawumia said no one reason could be cited for the loss. He said the party has done enough post-mortem of the loss and that the focus now must be on the 2012 elections.

He debunked suggestions that his low popularity, contributed to the party’s defeat. According to him, that claim could not be proven scientifically, explaining that there are others who think his selection wooed more votes for the party.

‘‘People just enter the realm of speculations and say anything. The running mate is not a popularity contest. We should get away from this politics of personality and focus on the party and its policies. If you are popular and you cannot deliver, it is useless. The party needs to be made popular and not individuals’’ he added.