Stephen Ntim: I will hit the ground running, not crawl like President Mills

The former First Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Stephen Ntim, has implored delegates to the party’s national delegates’ conference

on February 27, to elect him as chairman to help return the NPP to power.

The 51-year-old businessman says he has the track record to lead the party out of opposition, reminding delegates that they need not hand the party into the hands of any inexperienced person to experiment with its future.

According to Stephen Ntim, the party needs persons who will hit the ground running faster than President Mills’ ‘crawling’ speed and it will take a person of his caliber and experience to achieve that because he knows his way around.

Stephen Ntim was speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sεn programme on Wednesday, and told host, Nana Kwabena Bobie Ansah, that at least his last term in office from 2001 to 2005, when he served as the First Vice Chairman to Harona Esseku, shows that while they inherited a party in power and 101 parliamentary seats, they left office with the party still in government and a parliamentary majority of 128 seats.

Still counting his contributions to the party, he said he single-handedly procured 14 vehicles and distributed them for every regional secretariat of the party, as well as four “distressed constituencies”, plus TV sets for each of the party’s regional secretariats. He also provided them games (Ludo and draughts) for the entertainment of party members at all 230 constituency offices of the party, and also supported party offices with stationary.

Stephen Ntim said while he endorses factions in the party because it cannot be avoided in democratic pursuits in any political party, especially where contests for elections are involved, he is concerned about perceptions of factionalism in the party and the challenge it poses for party cohesion. One way to deal with the challenge, he said, is to allow the party constitution to work, and as a chairman he would not condone wrong but would apply the rules as stipulated.

He said about seventy percent of the problems that led to the party’s defeat in the 2008 elections came from the abuse of the party’s own constitution in the election of its parliamentary candidates.

Explaining the position, he alleged that some invisible hands manipulated who should be voted for and who was to be rejected; sometimes on the grounds that one person was a villager or was from the city, while money also influenced some choices.

He said in the situation where the constitution was shoved aside, and the exercise to elect parliamentary candidates even in the Ashanti Region alone registered as many as 17 independent candidates out of 39 constituencies, “how do you expect to win an election when you have so many independent candidates?”

According to Stephen Ntim, the result was that at Bekwai alone, as much as 4,000 votes were lost in the presidential poll, explaining that Joe Osei Wusu, who stood as an independent (because the party chose another person), polled 34,000 votes while the party’s candidate scored 8,000 votes. In the presidential election however, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo polled 38,000 votes, 4,000 less than the sum of the two persons. He wondered where the rest of the votes went in Nana’s case. Similarly at the Nsuta Kwamang constituency, Kwame Osei Prempeh, the incumbent MP, retained the seat with 12,300 votes, while an NPP man who contested as an independent polled 9,400 votes. In this instance again, Nana Addo scored 17,000, missing out on 4,700 votes. Thus between the two constituencies out of the17 trouble spots, the presidential candidate missed out on 8,700 votes whereas nationwide, he lost the election by 23,000.

Ntim believes that the party was sent into opposition by the strengths of the aggrieved party members who stood as independent, however there is an opportunity to correct the wrongs of the past now and recapture power in 2012, however things must be done right.