The hordes of New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer aspirants have been stopped from pitching camp in the Northern Region as a move to instil discipline among contenders as well as party members.
The Northern Regional Chairman of the party, Daniel Bugri Naabu, who issued the diktat, said such persons should stay away from the region until nominations are opened. Until then however, none of such persons would be welcomed in the region to meet delegates.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE last night, the NPP chairman noted that presidential aspirants could meet their coordinators but not party executives in the region.
He said he would not allow the interests of the individual persons seeking the position of flagbearer to supersede the party’s overall interest.
Perhaps to indicate his seriousness, he went ahead to warn party executives to desist from granting such persons audience, failure of which would attract sanctions.
‘Aspirants cannot use party structures when nominations have not been opened,’ he told DAILY GUIDE.
He said the decision to stop aspirants from canvassing votes in the various regions was taken at the National Executive Committee meeting last Thursday.
‘I was only communicating the NEC decision to my party executives at the regional and constituency levels so that they don’t breach the rules,’ he stated.
He said it was not only party executives who were not available, but delegates as well until nominations were opened.
Some of the presidential aspirants canvassing for votes are Joe Ghartey, MP for Essikado-Ketan; Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku; Kofi Osei Ameyaw, MP for Asuogyaman; Francis Addai Nimo, MP for Mampong and Stephen Asamoah Boateng, former MP for Mfantsiman West.
Mr. Bugri Naabu criticised the smear campaign which had featured in the activities of some of the flagbearer aspirants pointing out that, ‘We are one family and we must not give our political opponents the weapon to fire at us.’
He threw his weight behind the idea of an early congress to pick a flagbearer ahead of the 2016 polls, stressing that the NPP must re-strategise to deny the ruling NDC another go at governance in the next elections.
With nothing new up the sleeves of the ruling NDC, he said, the NPP is the best alternative for the country, adding, ‘We need power in 2016 and it is only unity that can guarantee us power; Ghanaians are looking up to us to come to power and fix the economy.’
Mr. Bugri Naabu’s tough stand comes on the heels of recent covert and overt manoeuvres by some persons seeking the highly coveted position when nominations are not yet open.
While some of such persons have already printed and pasted posters at vantage places in some regional capitals including Accra, others have engaged NPP executives abroad with a view to harnessing foreign votes when the time is due.
The most prominent of such persons is Alan Kyerematen aka Alan Cash, who appears to be following a carefully designed schedule to enhance his chances when the time is due for the delegates to vote.
While in the US recently ostensibly for his son’s graduation in an American College, he took time off to meet delegates, and the remarks he made at the meeting featured in the headlines of the various media outlets in the country.
He reportedly asked to be given the chance to lead the party to victory because he appeals to floating voters, given the failure of Nana Akufo-Addo to do so in previous polls.
This was subjected to an assortment of interpretations. His campaign team however claimed the remark was taken out of context.
Some NPP faithful think Alan Cash is jumping the gun and should wait for nominations to open, especially since the national executives are just settling down in their new positions.
Nana Akufo-Addo, the man who the other contestants must beat to lead the party in the next presidential polls in the face of the hullabaloo, has kept his cool, counselling party faithful in the midst of the furore to consider party unity as paramount and to avoid squabbles which can only take away from the much needed cohesion for victory in 2016.
With the action of Bugri Naabu likely to be replicated in other regions, the likes of Alan Cash might have to return to the drawing board.
Taking a bite at Alan’s floating voters’ mantra, Editor in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, advised him to direct his psychological knacks rather at party delegates to cajole them to vote him as the party’s presidential candidate.
Malik Baako believes that Alan, the two-time defeated flagbearer aspirant, should concentrate more on winning the primaries and only when he becomes a flagbearer that he can talk about ‘floating voters’.
Kweku Baako said on Joy FM’s News File programme that Alan’s comment on floating voters per the composition of the delegates is not a concerted effort in line with the reality check and, therefore, advised him to focus on convincing party delegates.
‘You don’t talk about floating or swing voters when you are not a flagbearer,’ he pointed out.
By A.R. Gomda
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