Former Trade and Industry Minister, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, who could not make it among the first five of the flagbearership race of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has finally broken his silence, endorsing the candidature of two-time standard bearer of the party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
He crushed out after the party’s special delegates’ congress held on Sunday, August 31, 2014, to cut down the number of the presidential hopefuls from seven to five in keeping with the NPP Constitution. Former Member of Parliament for Mfantseman East and Information Minister in the erstwhile Kufuor administration, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, could not also come among the first five. The two party bigwigs obtained 10 votes, representing 1.36%, and 13 votes, representing 1.76% respectively.
Dr Apraku, who was brimming with confidence ahead of last Sunday’s congress that he was going to emerge winner, went underground after his dream had been dashed and resurfaced yesterday to break his silence with a statement, virtually endorsing Nana Akufo-Addo.
Apart from calling to congratulate Nana, who won an overwhelming 599 of the 737 total votes cast, representing 81.81%, Dr Apraku stated that he wished Nana Addo good luck.
‘I have accepted the results of the Special Electoral College elections held on Aug. 31st 2014. I wish to thank all those who supported me during the campaign period and on the day of the elections.
‘I have called and congratulated my colleague and friend, Nana Akufo-Addo, for his overwhelming victory. I wish him good luck and may God guide him as he embarks on the next phase of the campaign,’ he said in the statement.
Meanwhile, constituency executives of the NPP in the Greater Accra Region have also declared an unflinching support for Akufo-Addo’s candidature ahead of the October 18, 2014 main congress to elect the party’s flagbearer for the 2016 general elections.
The executives, made up of constituency secretaries and organisers, said Nana remains the party’s best bet for 2016.
‘The Greater Accra Region is firmly behind Nana Addo,’ Daniel Odei Appiah, spokesman for the group which stormed Akufo-Addo’s Nima residence, assured.
He continued, ‘We also came to affirm our commitment to continue working for Nana Addo in our various constituencies to ensure that he emerges the winner in the October 18 presidential primary that we will go through.’
In response, Akufo-Addo, who was beaming with smiles, thanked the executives for their support while enjoining them to work hard to ensure that he becomes not just elected flagbearer of the NPP as a party, but President, to steer the affairs of the nation.
‘I have to thank the Greater Accra executives for the extraordinary votes that you gave me on Sunday. Eighty-two percent of the votes are not small. But as your secretary said, this is just phase one of the ultimate thing. The ultimate for our internal battle in the party is the 18th of October, the ultimate, the real ultimate is 7th December, 2016. For the time being, we have to focus on 18th October.’
Even though three other aspirants who are challenging Nana Akufo-Addo for the NPP slot have not indicated when they are hitting the road, the two-time flagbearer said he was starting his campaign for the October congress next week.
A statement issued from his office said he would begin the second phase of his re-election campaign on Monday, September 8, 2014.
The statement, signed by his spokesman, Mustapha Hamid, said ‘Nana Akufo-Addo will embark on a 10-day tour of the country to thank delegates for the resounding victory they gave him on Sunday, August 31, 2014.’
He would begin it from the Upper West Regional capital, Wa, and proceed together with his campaign team to the Upper East Regional capital, Bolgatanga, on Tuesday; then head for the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, to urge the delegates to vote for him again in the October 18 presidential primary.
However, Nana Ohene-Ntow, an aide to Alan Kyerematen, leading contender to Nana Addo, who garnered 59 votes, representing 8.28% claims that Nana Addo won because the current leadership of the party was dominated by his loyalists.
Nana Ohene-Ntow made the claim while trying to explain the abysmal performance of Alan Kyerematen in last Sunday’s Special Delegates’ Congress.
Ohene-Ntow, former General Secretary of the party, in an attempt to explain why Mr Kyerematen polled only 59 votes out of 740 votes said, ‘As far as I can see, the current leadership of the party is populated with pro-Nana Akufo-Addo elements.’
Alan Kyerematen had rejected calls on him to step down for Nana Akufo-Addo, after his poor showing.
Speaking on Joy Fm on Wednesday, Ohene-Ntow said one of the reasons for Alan Kyerematen’s defeat was because only National Council members, regional executives and other leaders of the party were allowed to vote in the Special Delegates’ Congress.
He, however, said at the National Delegates’ Congress in October to elect the standard bearer, ‘the voting dynamics will change because grass root supporters will also cast their votes to elect the presidential candidate.’
Speaking to the widely held view that the current General Secretary of the party, Kwabena Agyepong, and party Chairman, Paul Afoko, are speculated to be aligned with Alan Kyerematen, Ohene-Ntow said leadership of the party is not composed of only these two personalities.
‘Apart from the General Secretary and the National Chairman, who else can they point to out of the so many at the National Council level?’ Ohene Ntow charged.
Nothing Will Change
Meanwhile, Head of Political Science Department, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr Richard Amoako Baah, thinks the elections in October will not be different from last Sunday’s congress.
He said assertions by the Alan Kyerematen camp suggesting the scales would tip in his favour because the number of delegates would be bigger, are unfounded.
‘These [delegates] are not ordinary Ghanaians, or uneducated Ghanaians who are swayed by [propaganda]. These are party faithful’, he underscored.
“The NPP wants to win and they want to win quickly. They feel that this is all a waste of time,” he observed.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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