General News of Friday, 23 January 2015
Source: The Republic
The flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is being haunted by the reluctance of capable party people to want to be his campaign manager for the 2016 elections.
The Republic Newspaper gathered that all ideal candidates approached for the job have turned down his offer, citing all sorts of excuses.
A few names have been picked up by this paper as having made Akufo-Addo’s shortlist of likely campaign managers. They include: A former National Chairmanship aspirant of the party, Stephen Ayensu Ntim, the 2012 campaign manager for Akufo-Addo, Emmanuel Boakye Agyarko; Dan Kwaku Botwe, Member of Parliament for Okere in the Eastern Region and a two-time General Secretary of the party and Edward Boateng, the Chief Executive of media conglomerate- Global Media Alliance.
These names are reported to have either turned down the offer downright, or made ridiculously and unrealistic demands to scare Akufo-Addo away.
But the main reason causing the cold feet, according to sources, is the overwhelming fear that Akufo-Addo may fail at the presidential polls in 2016 for the third time in a row due to what has been described as his stubbornness in refusing to bridle his family and friends from interfering in NPP matters.
“We (NPP) have very experienced men who when we bring their experiences together, we can win (2016). We have four of our National Chairmen still alive; Odoi Sykes, Haronna Esseku, Mac Manu and Jake Obetsebi Lamptey are all alive. Two of them won us power, and two of them did not. Their experiences combined and shared with the current Chairman and his team would be very useful knowledge,” Gifty Ama Asantewaa Ayeh, popularly called ‘Daavi Ama (a Former National Treasurer of the NPP) is quoted to have said in September 2014.
Daavi Ama, however, warned that the NPP risk losing the 2016 election with the way Akufo-Addo is bent on dissociating his campaign team from the party in favour of his friends and family, “whoever would emerge as our flagbearer for 2016 would not win us power if we continue with this segregated and parallel campaign structure. I am not a prophetess of doom. I have been a national officer before, and I know what I am saying,” she said.
The fleeting loyalty being experienced by Akufo-Addo by his party members is also said to be related to the conviction of a certain segment of the party that his health condition makes him a high-risk candidate. He is alleged to have sneaked away from his Doctors and wife, Rebecca Akufo, in London when he caught wind of an impending palace coup being planned by an opposing group.
The group made up of individuals such as former Health Minister, Dr. Richard Anane and others who maintain that Akufo-Addo’s health condition does not make him suitable as the flagbearer of the NPP are said to be rapidly gaining ground in the party.
The stance of the group is said to be another reason influencing the difficulties that the beleaguered flagbearer is currently facing in picking a campaign manager.
Akufo-Addo is said to be increasingly growing uncomfortable with leaving things entirely in the hands of the hierarchy of the party whose loyalty to him have become shaky. This is said to have influenced his rushed decision to slip into the country against his wife and doctors’ advice to douse the situation.
He barely spent four days during that clandestine trip to Ghana, after which he is said to have boarded the next available flight back to London.
There are other reasons picked up by this paper, necessitating Akufo-Addo’s predicament; it is widely known within the ranks of the opposition party that the potential campaign managers of Akufo-Addo’s 2016 presidential campaign are weary of the Gabby Asare-Otchere Darko-inspired ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ of Akufo-Addo made up of friends, family and cousins from the famed Akyem bloc of the opposition party.
Mr. Gabby Asare-Otchere Darko (the founder of the Danquah Institute- an Akufo-Addo centric think-tank), and close relations of the embattled flagbearer have earned an unenviable reputation as unduly interfering with party machinery in the previous two occasions that he had been elected flagbearer. The Kitchen cabinet often forms a parallel power base of the NPP/Akufo Addo’s campaign machinery, and nobody wants to risk parrying this group.
“Whoever the flagbearer is, could keep his think-tank because at the end of the day, JA Kufuor had his think-tank but he had a single centralized campaign structure and he won. Kufuor worked with the late Courage Quarshigah as his National Organizer and Dan Botwe as his General Secretary. When Courage became a Minister, Lord Commey took charge but the campaign structure was not a parallel one.
This whole thing is about organization and empowerment of the national officers so they also empower the regional officers to also empower the constituency officers to also empower the polling stations. We should not leave the campaign at somebody’s air-condition office and when you go there, the person would think you are coming for a favour,” stated Daavi Ama, who is clearly unhappy with the manner Akufo-Addo intends to conduct his campaign.
The only person reportedly showing interest for the job is despite the overarching influence of Akufo-Addo’s friends and family is Mr. Boakye Agyarko, the Republic newspaper gathered. Mr. Agyarko led Akufo-Addo to his colossal defeat in the 2012 presidential elections as his campaign manager. Even though Akufo-Addo is said to be skeptical about Mr. Agyarko, the failure to secure a better option may force him to settle on his former campaign manager.
It is believed that the ideal person Akufo-Addo wants as his campaign manager is Dan Botwe, but the later-apparently nursing a presidential ambition-, would not want to sully his reputation with a possible failure in 2016, and has turned down the job.
The situation is reportedly giving the NPP flagbearer sleepless nights, and there are speculations making the rounds within the party that he may just relinquish the presidential race in 2016 opting for his running-mate, Dr. Mahmud Bawumia to run for presidency instead.
This paper has been unable to verify this speculation, but there are reports that a powerful constituent in the party-the Nasara group-, have become disinterested in his candidature.