Tamale is vibrating to the sounds of the New Patriotic Party. With Tens of thousands of followers of the Elephant family already in town for tomorrow’s make or break party congress, the ancient metropolis is a sea of red, white and blue, the three colours which distinguish the party faithful from any other person in the Republic of Ghana.
At every corner, street and public joint in the Northern Regional capital, the topic for discussion is the congress which opens at the Tamale Sports Stadium on the Education Ridge and Nyohini, and within the view of the the Zogbeli Forest. This is no ordinary congress.
It is an assembly, primarily aimed at electing national executives for the N.P.P. Its repercussions, though goes wider than identifying nine individuals to direct the affairs of the party at its headquarters at Asylum Down in Accra.
The major objective of the congress, according to political analysts, is to identify and elect nine committed souls who will shepherd the elephant back to Government House when elections are called on December 7, 2016.
Positions on offer for which 44 personalities are facing the polls are: National Chairman, being contested for by four people – incumbent boss Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, his former First Vice-Chairman Fred Oware, one-time Vice-Chairman Stephen Ntim and new-comer Paul Afoko.
There are four strong contenders to the General Secretary’s position. They are Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, Captain (rtd) Nkrabea Effah-Darteh and Kwabena Adjei Adjapong.
At least eight persons are vying for the three positions available in the Vice-Chairmanship slots. The leading contenders though, are Messrs. Freddie Blay, Sammy Crabbe, E.F. Anto, T.B. Bamba and Mrs. Philomena Sam.
Mr. John Boadu is leading the race for the post of National Organizer. The others are Mr. Hopeson Adorye and incumbent Moctar Bamba.
The post of National Youth Organiser will be fiercely contested by Mr. Sammy Awuku, Richard Nyamah, Pius Enam Hadzide, Emmanuel Attafua Danso, Charles Adu Gyamfi and Gifty Oware.
The National Treasurer position is a straight for-cornered fight with incumbent Esther Ofori standing tall. There will be another session to elect the national co-ordinator for the Nasara Club.
The electoral college of 5,265 candidates will elect nine persons from a field of 44 contestants to run the affairs of the NPP in the next four years. What is interesting in the political game in Ghana is that those to be elected tomorrow are likely to influence the course of politics in the country.
With the Government of President John Dramani Mahama fumbling badly and triggering an unusual high cost of living, the conventional wisdom is that Tamale has the potential of changing the course of national politics.
According to official document from the party’s Electoral office, each of the 275 constituencies in Ghana will be represented by 16 delegates. The breakdown makes Ashanti Region the highest voting block with 752 delegates. Brong Ahafo Region are parading 464 voters, Central will parade 368 delegates and Eastern Region accounting for 528 voters.
The Greater Accra Region, with 34 constituencies have assembled 544 voting delegates in Tamale, Northern Region, with 34 constituencies having 496 delegates ready for the vote, Upper East have 240 delegates representing the 15 constituencies, Volta Region with its 26 constituencies have 416 delegates ready to exercise their franchise. Western Region, also with 26 constituencies parade 416 delegates.
In addition to the constituency representations, all the 123 Members of Parliament will be voting. Also on the voters’ list are all the founding members, members of the council of elders, national council, as well as the National Executive Committee.
NPP’s student body, TESCON, in all the 118 tertiary institutions in the country, has two representations, each in the voting process. The last but not the least is the party’s branches overseas.
The significance of the Tamale Congress is its repercussion on the Presidential and Parliamentary elections of 2016. The entry of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in Tamale with all guns blazing, tells no story than that the 2012 Presidential Candidate of the NPP is the man to lead the NPP to victory in 2016.
Tamale is shaping up to be the mother of all congresses.