The National Council (NC) of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is meeting today to affirm a number of deliberations relating to the party’s presidential primary scheduled for not later than December 6, this year.
Top on the agenda include the consideration of a suggestion for the party to go to an early congress by September this year to bring to an end the needless attacks and counter-attacks among supporters of presidential hopefuls, some of which attacks have been personal, vicious and vitriolic.
Some regional chairmen of the party last Monday asked for the congress to be held earlier than the December date, possibly in September. Others have kicked against the proposal, describing it as not being in consonance with the party’s constitution.
This is the second time the NC, the second highest decision-making body of the party, is meeting under the chairmanship of Mr Paul Awentami Afoko. They first met on June 6, 2014, when they endorsed a number of issues, including the date for openning of nominations for the presidential primaries.
The NPP constitution mandates the party, when it is in opposition, to open nominations six months before a presidential primary and two years before a general election.
So far, seven aspirants have picked nomination forms to contest the flag-bearers position since nominations opened last Friday, June 6, 2014. Nominations will close on July 7, 2014.
Yesterday, Mr Kwadwo Alan Kyerematen, popularly called Alan Cash, became the seventh aspirant to pick his nomination forms to contest the primary.
The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Essikado-Ketan, Mr Joe Ghartey, also picked his nomination forms last Tuesday.
Other aspirants are the 2008 and 2012 flag bearer of the party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; a former Information Minister, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, and the MP for Mampong, Mr Francis Addai Nimoh.
The rest are a former MP for Offinso North, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, and the MP for Asuogyaman, Mr Kofi Osei Ameyaw.
Both Mr Kyerematen and Dr Konadu Apraku contested the position in 2008 and 2012 but lost to Nana Akufo-Addo.
As of today, none of the seven aspirants had returned his forms. They have up to July 7, 2014 to do so.
As things stand now, if all the seven aspirants or more file their nominations, the party will be compelled to invoke its special congress clause to whittle the number down to five for the presidential primary.
Per the revised constitution of the party, only five candidates will be allowed to contest the flag-bearer slot of the party, a disconnect from the 2007 congress where seventeen (17) candidates contested.
The amended constitution of the party has it that if more than five candidates file and are vetted to contest, a special electoral college of some 847 party executives, including all 275 constituency chairmen and all NPP MPs, will have to vote to reduce the number to five.
Others eligible to cast their vote at the special congress are national and regional executive committee members, members of the National Council of Elders, few representatives of special organs of the party, past national officers, executives of external branches and founder members.
The NPP expanded its electoral college after 17 candidates had put themselves forward for election at the party’s presidential primary in 2007.
The huge number of presidential aspirants then was hugely criticised by party insiders and those outside, with some saying that “it created the impression of an increasing obsession for the party’s presidential slot, rather than a passion to serve one’s nation in that high office”.
The NC is also expected to approve guidelines and a code of ethics for the conduct of the campaign leading to the primary during today’s meeting. Another issue on the agenda is the appointment of some officers of the party, such as deputies for the General Secretary, the National Organiser, the Women’s Organiser and the National Youth Organiser.
The re-constitution of committees of the party, including the Organising, Disciplinary and Legal and Constitutional committees, is also expected to be discussed.
Going for an electoral college would be time-consuming and the special congress has to be held before a date could be fixed for the expanded college, which should all be done 24 months before the 2016 elections.
Already, the contest is becoming intriguing, as the camps of the various aspirants are on the field canvassing for votes.