New ‘King’, New Cronies – Mahama Pushes Out Mills Men

Information available to the New Statesman from highly-placed sources in the National Democratic Congress indicates that arrangement is underway by President John Dramani to relieve Ato Ahwoi of his position as Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Company.

The arrangement could also to see the exit of George Sipa Yankey from office as the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghanagas Company.

When confronted with the issue of the legality or otherwise of the establishment of the Ghanagas Company during the pre-election Institute of Economic Affairs presidential encounter, then Vice President Mahama said he “was no part of the arrangement to set up Ghanagas.”

The arrangement to do away with Ato Ahwoi and George Sipa Yankeh is part of the elaborate plan by President Mahama to kick out loyalists of the late President John Evans Atta Mills from sensitive positions in order build a strong empire to consolidate his grips of the NDC.

Both Ato Ahwoi and Sipa Yankey were among the most influential members of the NDC government under the presidency of the late President Mills.

According to insiders, President Mahama is seeking to put his close allies in charge of the ‘juicy’ oil and gas sector which is considered as ‘a money-making sector’ so that he will always have some control over activities of the sector, especially when it comes to awards of contracts.

The president initially wanted to create a ministry of petroleum and gas, which was expected to have Haruna Iddrisu as the first minster. He had to change his choice of Haruna heading that sector because he did not trust his loyalty.

Bowing to pressure from the chiefs of the Western Region to get their kinsman to be in charge of the natural resources located on their land, President Mahama appointed Emmanuel Kofi Armah-Buah as the Minister for Energy and Petroleum.

To further his plan of keeping a close eye at the oil and gas sector, the president has nominated his two loyalists as deputy ministers for Energy and Petroleum. They are Benjamim Dagadu and John Abdulai Jinapor, his spokesperson.

President Hahama in now re-aligning the ruling party, sidelining the pro-Mills group, an arrangement that is creating inter-tribal conflicts in the NDC government, with the Akans, especially the Fante group led by the hitherto all-power Ahwois, feeling marginalised.

Both the leadership, led by General Secretary Asiedu Nketia, and grassroots members of the NDC are not happy about the decisions of the president regarding appointments to key positions in his government.

They are particular angry at the decision by the president to bring in ‘outsiders’ to occupy powerful places of influence where major decisions in government are taken. They give examples as Raymond Atuguba, his Executive Secretary, and Sulley Gariba, Policy Co-ordinator, who now influence all appointments in the government.

Mr Gariba who has still not denounced his membership of the People’s National Convention was recently said to have incurred the wrath of Kofi Totobi Quakyie when he directed him to communicate all correspondence to the president through his office.

Sources at the presidency say it took a personal apology from President Mahama to calm down the anger of the former National Security Co-ordinator in the Rawlings regime.

What has also become another source of anger among the NDC leadership, lead by Asiedu Nketia, is the new found influence of former President Rawlings in the scheme of affairs of the government.

Insiders say President Mahama has now left the security of his government in the hands of Mr Rawlings, something the Ahwois and Asiedu Nketia consider as a big affront to the party, after virtually reducing the former president and leader of the NDC to nothing.

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