Nana Akuffo-Addo, Dr Konadu Apraku, Francis Kofi Nimoh, Alan Kyerematen and Joe Ghartey
Four key figures of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have emerged as contenders for the flagbearer position of the party.
The latest roll-call include the immediate past flagbearer of the party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; John Kwadwo Alan Kyerematen; Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, former Minister of State in the erstwhile NPP administration; Joe Ghartey, the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Attorney General and Minister of Justice in the John Agyekum Kufuor administration and Francis Addai Nimoh, Member of Parliament (MP) for Mampong.
With five individuals coming out to show interest in the race, the opposition party may have reached its limit on the number of people who can contest the flagbearership primary and get elected for the December 2016 presidential poll.
The recently amended NPP constitution restricts the number of flagbearer aspirants to five. DAILY GUIDE can confirm that any number above this figure will compel the party to conduct a special congress to trim the number to five.
All these gentlemen who have openly indicated their willingness to contest on the party’s ticket have been described as the ‘real deal’, as the other names making the rounds are said to be mere speculations.
The others include: Isaac Osei, Member of Parliament for Subin and former Cocobod boss; Asamoah Boateng, former Minister of Information; Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, a respected heart surgeon and Kofi Osei Ameyaw, Member of Parliament for the Asuogyaman constituency.
However, DAILY GUIDE sources within the opposition party have indicated that the dynamics of the race may change when nominations are opened – some of the aspirants may drop out while others may be replaced by totally new faces.
Nana Addo’s Declaration
On March 29, 2014, during his 70 th birthday party, Nana Addo made a public declaration of his intention to run for presidency the third time on the NPP’s ticket.
Even though his closest rival, Alan Kyeremanteng had not officially declared his intention then, his aides had stated explicitly that he would contest the party’s flagbearership, and he has been spotted making moves suggestive of his intention.
Meanwhile, Dr. Apraku, on Tuesday hit the campaign trail in his bid to vie for the party’s flagbearership position in what he described as ‘a consultative tour.’
Baah Acheamfour, Dr. Apraku’s aide, who revealed details of the tour to Accra-based Citi News, explained that the tour would take the flagbearer hopeful to all parts of the country to collate views on his quest for the NPP top job and apparently solicit support from members of the party.
Mr. Acheamfour said, ‘Dr. Apraku is meeting people in the various constituencies… talking to them to get their views about the two defeats the party suffered in 2008 and 2012.’
‘We need change in the party,’ he pointed out. ‘The party has suffered these two defeats because of leadership.’
Dr. Apraku’s office has always maintained that he is motivated to contest Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the two-time flagbearer, because according to him, Nana had reduced the electoral fortunes of the NPP in the last two presidential elections.
The office recently issued a statement describing Akufo-Addo as a ‘threat’ to any potential victory of the NPP in the 2016 presidential poll.
It noted that Nana Akufo-Addo had progressively eroded the party’s fortunes in regions that were hitherto rooting for the NPP.
‘Former President Kufuor in his first victory won five regions. The second time he won seven regions. So when Kufuor was leaving, he handed over seven regions to Nana Addo,’ Dennis Kobina, an aide to Dr. Apraku recently stated.
‘Let’s compare now. Nana Addo dropped from seven to two regions. The second time, he dropped from two regions to one-and-a-half regions,’ Kobina said.
‘My boss is ready to take the NPP from one-and-a-half regions to seven regions.’
Look in the mirror
But critics have lashed Dr. Apraku and others, saying they are the least likely to emerge victorious in the flagbearership race against formidable aspirants like Akufo-Addo and possibly John Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, who have been tipped as the most popular in the party.
According to Kwesi Pratt, the Managing Editor of The Insight newspaper, some of the names being mentioned as nursing the idea of aspiring for the position of a flagbearer are ‘amazing’.
‘I wonder what they see when they look into a mirror. You know that as for this position you will not win but yet you go ahead and spend so much (resources and time) in contesting. All the same, we are in a democratic dispensation, so some of these things can be allowed,’ he added.
Dr. Apraku’s move is said to encourage other aspirants to take similar steps.
On Tuesday Mr. Ghartey and Mr. Addai-Nimoh confirmed to State-run newspaper Daily Graphic that they intended to pick nomination forms to contest the presidential primary if nominations opened sometime in June this year.
‘I will be picking nomination forms to contest the presidential primary of the NPP for the 2016 elections,’ Mr. Ghartey confirmed to the newspaper.
He is currently in Tamale in the Northern Region as part of a series of consultations within and outside the party on his presidential bid.
According to Mr. Ghartey, he is ready to serve his party and the nation in the high office of president.
On his part, Mr. Addai-Nimoh, who, over the years, has been working in the background for the NPP, described himself as a ‘silent pusher of actions in the Ashanti Region, the ‘World Bank’ of the NPP,’ and he believed his candidature would consolidate the strength of the NPP in the region.
Philip Longdon, a special aide to Mr. Kyerematen, was recently quoted as saying of his boss, ‘I am telling you on authority that he will be in the race and he is aware that I have given this confirmation on his behalf and so be assured that he will be in the race.’
Nana Addo is however mostly viewed as having an advantage over Mr. Kyerematen, given his sustained association with the NPP flagbearership.
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