Alan Kyeremanten and Nana Akufo-Addo
The recent media interviews granted by Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, a presidential hopeful of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), about his intention to stand again, has stoked fire in the main opposition party, pitching his supporters against those of his main rival for the flagberarership position, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – the two-time presidential candidate.
Alan’s supporters and those of Nana Akufo-Addo are virtually trading punches over certain comments made by the former in that interview to the effect that the NPP 2012 presidential candidate’s popularity in the party would not win them elections and that the party needed to interrogate how it lost the last two elections.
Nana Kufo-Addo’s supporters are also asking Mr. Kyerematen to come out with his analysis of how he lost the two primaries he contested with Nana Addo before his questions could be answered.
Some are even of the opinion that if Alan thinks his popularity transcends the NPP, he should try contesting as an independent candidate – a statement that has been strongly criticized, with some describing it as ‘provocative.’
However, Nana Akufo-Addo has stressed that he is not against any contest in the party, daring flagbearer aspirants to contest him when the time comes.
He seems unfazed by the declaration of intent by people who have contested him before, including Alan Kyerematen and Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, who have all given a tentative indication to run for the position saying, ‘I’m all for it.’
Indications are that a lot more people are lacing their boots to join the flagbearership race, notably, Joe Ghartey, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
In a recent interview with Accra-based Joy FM, Nana Addo, who hit 70 years a couple of weeks ago said, ‘Everybody has a chance to come forward,’ encouraging all interested persons to join the race.
Asked why he still wanted to run at his age instead of making way for a younger person to lead the NPP to the 2016 general elections, Nana told Joy FM, ‘If the party turns out to think that hey! I’m some kind of an old crop, so be it,’ and laughed it off.
That aside, the man who describes himself as ‘young at 70,’ articulated with emphasis, ‘Nobody prevents anybody from coming forward; nobody can, especially in the NPP.’
The astute politician posited, ‘If you have the confidence of the party, you get the opportunity to lead, to play whatever role that the party thinks you should play.’
He therefore did not want to believe there is a deliberate attempt being employed by any individual or group of persons to prevent others from contesting him since, ‘It’s a party open to all the challenges of all ages.’
The twice-defeated presidential candidate of the NPP therefore shot down the old age argument since the country’s Constitution does not debar him at age 70 from being President.
Asked whether he has the energy to go round the country to campaign as he did ahead of the controversial 2012 general elections which saw his second defeat, Nana Addo emphatically replied, ‘I will not put myself forward as I’ve done today if I don’t have the confidence that I can do it.’
Speaking on Metro TV’s ‘Good Evening Ghana’ programme on Tuesday, Alan Kyerematen, popularly called Alan Cash, was of the view that it was in the interest of the NPP to encourage people to contest and make sure the best was selected, adding that he was ready to lead the party.
‘If we lose two successive elections which we should have won by any stretch of the imagination, then something must be wrong and we should be bold enough to interrogate that and get answers to it,’ he noted.
Apart from that, the twice-defeated presidential hopeful at the primary level said, ‘Allowing people who have interest to put themselves up without any fear of intimidation or as it were, encouraged to put themselves up, I think that is the spirit of what we believe in; it should be a free process.’
However, Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, believes strongly that Nana Addo should be given another chance.
He said majority of the supporters were yelling for Nana Addo’s comeback, therefore, any attempt to disrupt that call would be a catastrophe.
‘There is one thing in the NPP; if they [supporters] decide on something and any leader goes against that, then that person will be in trouble and they [new executives] know it. For now, I don’t know who is for Nana and who is not for Nana. We are all NPP members,’ he said.
Speaking on Accra-based Adom FM, Mr. Agyapong cautioned the new executives to shun any attempt to sideline ‘the people’s choice’ [Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo].
‘Whether they like it or not, Ghanaians are calling for Nana Addo and if they refuse to present him, they will vote against us [NPP]. I still support Nana and I agree with the supporters because they are the people going to vote for us.
He categorically said, ‘By all means, Nana Addo must lead the NPP.’
In the opinion of the Head of the Political Science Department, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dr. Amoako Baah, it did not make sense to suggest that Nana Akufo-Addo should be returned unopposed for the 2016 general elections.
According to him, if Nana Akufo-Addo is truly popular, he had nothing to fear going into the presidential primaries of the party.
Dr. Amoako Baah told Joy FM the 2012 presidential candidate, like any other person, should be allowed to run and win the primaries fairly.
‘It has to be an open contest, there is no way around it,’ he said.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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