Bring It On! Nana Dares Challengers

Nana Akufo-Addo
Contrary to claims that the leading contender for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential slot, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, wants his fellow contestants in the flagbearership race to step down for him, the two-time presidential candidate of the party has emphasised that nobody should step down for him.

Nana Akufo-Addo has resumed his nationwide campaign for the impending congress and has consequently welcomed the three other aspirants—Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen; the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asuogyaman, Kofi Osei-Ameyaw and Francis Addai-Nimoh—into the race, urging all of them to lace their boots for the October 18 electoral exercise to elect the standard bearer.

 Nana Welcomes Competition
‘I am not going to worry myself about people standing down or not. I welcome competition, I have always welcomed competition,’ he said whiles addressing party delegates in the Upper West Regional capital, Wa, on Monday.

It followed calls by some party faithful that some candidates who contested the Special Delegates’ Congress should step down ahead of the October 18 poll because of the 81.18% margin of victory recorded by Akufo-Addo—being indicative of the choice of the party—while the six other contestants grappled with less than 19% of the valid votes cast, with Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku picking the last spot with an unimpressive 1.3 per cent.

A former Finance Minister under the Kufuor administration, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has joined the growing number of party elders calling on all other aspirants to step down for Nana Addo.

He said they should ‘voluntarily quit’ the race and allow the Nana Akufo-Addo to run unopposed.

The former minister believed such a gesture would promote unity in the party ahead of the 2016 general elections.

‘This election should unify us. I will plead with the four to voluntarily quit the race and nullify the October election so Nana can go alone. Our delegates showed the direction of our party and what they want in the super delegates’ elections,’ the former minister told Citi FM.

However, Nana Akufo-Addo told the delegates that he was solely focused on the October 18 presidential primary and would work hard to secure an emphatic margin of victory in the contest, pointing out that he was not afraid of competition.

‘The most important thing is that on that day, October 18, the party must speak emphatically like the party spoke emphatically on August 31’, he emphasised.

With this, he said ‘Our opponents will know that the NPP is resolute. This is the way that we are going and we are determined to go that way. Nobody should have any doubt about it. The NPP is determined, united and focused.’

He expressed his gratitude to the delegates for their unanimous support in giving him an emphatic victory. ‘Not only did you make the promise, but you delivered. You will recollect that Sir John used the phrase ‘fear delegates.’ I will say ‘trust delegates’, especially when they act in the true sense of the word,’ Akufo-Addo noted.

Nana Addo told the delegates that the 100% endorsement given to him by the Upper West Region was very special, as it came from the region which had produced founding fathers of the party like S.D. Dombo, B.K. Adama, Jato Kaleo, Abaayifa Karbo and Mumuni Dimbie.

‘I understand this vote in two ways. Firstly, the party is focused and is saying we want power. Secondly, the vote signifies a party that is united. We are united and will fight to win election 2016. It is a statement Ghanaians must continue to hear. We are going to protect our vote, and ensure that the declaration that will be made will be right. The country needs an NPP government to restore Ghana back onto the path of progress and prosperity,’ he emphasised.

On his part, the party’s 1 st Vice Chairman in the region, Hafiz Bin Salih, said the excuse of intimidation and victimisation of delegates from the north being attributed to the poor showing of Alan Kyerematen in the Special Delegates’ Congress, ‘is an insult to those delegates of the New Patriotic Party.’

‘Let them know that what they have said to us is a great insult which we will not forget, come October,’ he stated.

Running Mate
Meanwhile, Akufo-Addo has reiterated his commitment to maintain Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, an astute economist, as his running mate, if given the opportunity to lead the NPP into the 2016 presidential elections.

Nana Addo arrived at the Upper West Regional capital with Dr Bawumia and drove straight to the Upland Hotel where they met the delegates who gave him the overwhelming endorsement in the Super Delegates’ Conference on August 31, 2014.

Should he keep his word, this would be the third time he is choosing the celebrated economist and former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to partner him in the presidential race.

The first time was in 2008 when Nana chose him (Bawumia) from relatively political obscurity; the second time was the 2012 presidential election which went to the Supreme Court on account of some irregularities that characterised the poll.

Present at the Wa meeting were the Deputy Minority Leader in Parliament and MP for Bimbilla, Dominic Nitiwul; Mogtar Sahanun, former Upper West Regional Minister and former Ambassador to Burkina Faso; Daniel Bugri Naabu, Northern Regional NPP Chairman; Alhaji Abdul Rahman Abubakr, Upper West Regional Chairman; Dr Gyeille Nurah, former Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Upper West Regional co-ordinator for Nana Akufo-Addo’s campaign; 16 regional executives and 10 of the 11 constituency chairmen.

Nana Akufo-Addo also condemned the violence that ensued at the party’s headquarters last month, after he was accused by outspoken party stalwart, Arthur Kennedy, of being behind the fracas.

Some supporters wielding machetes stormed the party’s headquarters in Accra and disrupted a press conference being addressed by the General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, and Chairman Paul Afoko.

It turned out that the people were brought to the NPP headquarters by Kwabena Agyepong.

Nana Akufo-Addo said in Wa that the violence had dented the image of the party, adding that any right-thinking member of the NPP would not approve of such violence.

 By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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