The National Council of Elders of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is to decide on the constitutionality or otherwise of the proposed decentralized elections to elect officers of the party.
Information picked by The Chronicle indicates that consultations are far advanced and a date will soon be fixed for the Council to meet to make a final determination on the matter.
The leadership of the party has been sharply divided over the decision backed by the National Executive Council to hold a decentralized election, instead of a conference specified by the party’s constitution with the excuse that the party’s finances cannot support all delegates assembling at one place for the elections.
Almost all contesting candidates have vehemently opposed the decision for a decentralized election, with some alleging that the current officers have something up their sleeves, to sway votes in their favour with that idea.
The current Chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, and the General Secretary of the party, Owusu Afriyie, who are also seeking re-election, have come under attack from stalwarts of the party for the decentralized election idea.
A strong advocate against the decentralization idea and a formidable contender for the General Secretary slot of the party, Kwabena Agyapong, is of the opinion that modalities for the congress should not have generated any such controversies in the first place, because the conduct of congress had been explicitly spelt out by the constitution of the party.
To him, a decentralized election will take away the team spirit and socialization element that has characterized the party’s National Delegates Congress over the years.
He added that the advantages of a congress far outweighs the one proposed by the current officers, to the effect that the party builds strongly on its identity at congress and power it into the general elections.
He told The Chronicle that as a practical person, he believes in grassroots mobilization as the base of the party’s strength.
‘That’s why I have taken my campaign to constituencies,’ he said.
According to him, one of his priorities is to bring the power back to the constituencies, because he believes that they (constituencies) should be the centre of the campaign.
But in a sharp defence, the National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, has explained that the ‘NEC took its decision for a decentralized conference and election, because they saw the party between a rock and a hard place.’
A national conference is estimated to cost the party a GH¢1million (one million Ghana Cedis).
At the heels of the raging controversies concerning the modalities for congress is a contest of wits among the various aspirants, who are seeking election for various positions in the party.
By close of nomination on Wednesday, a total of 46 aspirants had officially entered the race to contest the various positions of the party at the national level.
Oquaye pulls out
Former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye surprised many of the party followers at the eleventh hour, when a form was picked on his behalf to contest the Chairmanship position of the party.
But credible information gathered by The Chronicle indicates that Professor Oquaye might not be contesting the position after all.
Sources close to him told The Chronicle that some very powerful persons in the party, including Members of Parliament, had impressed upon the good old professor to contest the position to bring his experience to bear, to help solve problems in the party.
To this effect, the group championing his candidature went for forms on his behalf, on the closing date for the nominations, without consulting the man they were fronting for.
But information gathered by The Chronicle indicates that Professor Oquaye has told his supporters that as a member of the Council of Elders of the party, he still has what it takes to bring about the needed change in the party. Should he choose to pullout as indicated, it will be left with three contenders, seeking to unseat the current chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, who is seeking re-election. At the close of nominations, Paul Afoko, Steven Ntim and Fred Oware had picked forms to contest Jake at congress.
For the General Secretary Position, four persons, including the incumbent, Kwadwo Owusu, will battle it out for the seat.
At the heels of the incumbent are Kwabena Agyapong, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah and Capt Nkrabea Effah Dartey (RTD).
Sammy Awuku, Richard Nyamah, Michael Ampong, Gifty Oware, Emmanuel Attafuah and two others are also vying for National youth Organizer position of the party
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