An aspirant for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairmanship position, Mr Paul Afoko has stated that the party will not easily take over power from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) if there is no true unity and commitment in the rank and file of the party.
He said the party will only be able to convince the public to vote the party back to power if the current wrangling, character assassination, divisions and factions in the party are put to rest.
Mr Afoko said this when he led a 15-member delegation of the Central Regional Executive of the party to visit four party members who were incarcerated at the Ankaful Maximum Security Prison in the Central Region.
The visit also formed part of his campaign tour of the 23 constituencies in the Central Regional, which ended his campaign tour of all the 10 regions in the country.
Mr Afoko said the visit to the prison was to assure the members who were transferred from the Tamale Prisons that the party was still in support of them and will give them the necessary assistance which will lead to their early discharge.
He was impressed with the state of condition of the inmates, since they all looked healthy and sound, and gave the assurance that the legal team handling the case, which is before the Court of Appeal in Kumasi, will be beefed up to quicken the trial, stressing that justice delayed is justice denied.
Mr Afoko told the inmates that the regional executive will continue to pay them regular visits to make sure that they are comfortable until the appeal was heard, and urged them to be obedient and abide by all the rules and regulations at the prisons.
He was touched by the fact that even the incarcerated members were calling for peace and unity among the rank and file of the party, and called on those who are “free” to intensify the crusade for peace and unity, stressing that without unity winning the 2016 elections will be an illusion.
Deputy Director of Prisons Minnah Ahwa-Yankey, Central Regional Prisons Commander, commended the team for the visit, and urged members to pay regular visits to the prisons, stressing that the inmates needed regular visits, love, care and prayers, instead of rejection and stigmatisation from family members and the society at large.
He said the prisons should not be seen as a place for punishment, but as a facility which allows people to reform and make sober reflections on their lives to enable them lead better lives in future.
Mr Ahwa-Yankey said everyone was a potential prisoner, and people should therefore not see prisoners as the bad ones in the society, noting that it might even be through the negligence of those outside the prisons that caused the incarceration of these prisoners.
The four NPP inmates – Imoro Gunidaana, Mohammed Habib Dagbani, Shaibu Alhassan and Majeed Alhassan – were arrested in Tamale for allegedly plotting a civil war in Tamale. Meanwhile, a fifth member of the group, Yahuuza Yakubu, is in the Nsawam Prisons.
Mohammed Habib Dagbani, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, thanked the party members for the love and concern shown them, and appealed to them to help beef up the legal team handling their case so as to speed up the trial.
He called for unity and peace in the party, and said as it prepares for its national executive elections, the candidates should let Psalm 133 be their guiding principle in whatever they do.
The delegation later donated GH?1,000 towards the welfare and health needs of the four inmates.
The delegation included Mr Boniface Abubakri Siddique, former Minister of Works and Housing in the NPP administration.