General News of Monday, 23 February 2015
Source: Graphic Online
The three-time flag bearer of the largest opposition party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will soon make a decision as to who becomes his campaign manager, a position that will go a long way to define his electoral fortunes in the 2016 Elections.
Ghanaians and the rank and file of the NPP in particular are all anxiously waiting for this decisive move, as the party’s 2016 flag bearer is struck by a serious dilemma in selecting his campaign manager who will help turn the electoral fortunes of the party in favour of Nana Akufo-Addo, who has lost two presidential races (2008 and 2012) already.
Sources close to Nana Akufo-Addo disclosed to the Daily Graphic that the choice for the Campaign Manager of the party and Nana Akufo-Addo ahead of the December 2016 elections will come out of four names.
Dan Kwaku Botwe, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Okere, Minority Chief Whip in Parliament and a two-term General Secretary of the NPP; Boakye Agyarko, the 2012 NPP Campaign Manager; Stephen Ntim, former First National Vice-Chairman of the NPP; and John Boadu (JB), current National Organiser of the NPP and former National Youth Organiser of the party.
Perhaps, the big surprise of the four is John Boadu, who played a key role in organising last week’s “won gbo” demonstration, which led to thousands of people pouring out onto the streets of Accra for a peaceful protest against the worsening economic conditions in the country and the energy crisis.
Already, there is some considerable discussion within the corridors of power of the NPP as to who will be responsible for the planning, coordination and organisation of a winning campaign and overseeing NPP’s campaign strategy.
Sources close to the NPP flag bearer have confirmed to the Daily Graphic that the choice of a Campaign Manager would “certainly come from this shortlist, as the four gentlemen are those Nana Akufo-Addo has been considering for some time now.”
However, there are also persons advocating that Nana Akufo-Addo should take charge of his own campaign. But “this is unrealistic”, a party source said.
For the 2014 presidential primaries, Nana Akufo-Addo did not name any campaign manager; he led the charge himself, supported by his loyal strategists, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Ken Ofori-Atta, Dominic Nitiwul, Victor Newman and Boakye Agyarko, among others.
A confidant of Nana Akufo-Addo pointed out that for Nana Akufo-Addo’s “decentralised campaign” structure, he divided the country into four sectors, appointing heads of the various sectors, including Mr Stephen Ntim, who was in charge of the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Eastern regions.
Additionally, 10 regional coordinators, assisted by 275 constituency coordinators, were appointed. This decentralised structure, chaired by Nana Akufo-Addo himself, delivered an 80.81 per cent victory in the Special Electoral College last August and a 94.35 per cent victory in the main October 18, 2014 presidential primaries.
Multiple sources within the party confirmed to the Daily Graphic that the “big men” in the party were more for Dan Botwe, who, until recently, was seen as the clear favourite.
Their confidence in Mr Botwe stems from his principled stand and exploits in 2000 and 2004 when the NPP won political power.
“The General, as Mr Botwe is otherwise known, excites the grass roots as of our party and this is crucial in firing up members of our party to work tirelessly for victory,” a senior member of the party said.
This will not be the first time Mr Botwe will be working as a member of Nana Akufo-Addo’s campaign, having snapped up the position of Director of Campaign Strategy in 2012 and Director of Electoral Affairs in 2008.
Those very close to the candidate, who were instrumental in the 2014 primaries and all his previous elections, would be happier if Boakye Agyarko was retained, a senior influential figure at the NPP disclosed.
Akufo-Addo is said to admire Boakye-Agyarko’s analytical mind and in-depth knowledge of the party and country. Boakye-Agyarko is a strong loyalist of the flag bearer, who has kept the former banker by his side since the 2008 elections.
Having been Campaign Manager for the 2012 elections, whose results the NPP challenged at the Supreme Court, but lost by a majority decision, his supporters say there is a very strong case for the eloquent Boakye-Agyarko to continue from where he left off.
A source who worked with Boakye- Agyarko at NPP’s 2012 campaign headquarters, argued, “Nana wants to run a decentralised campaign, the kind that delivered the 94 per cent victory. Boakye Agyarko can deliver because the party seems hungrier this time and the structure may favour a better bottom-up approach which was what he always wanted.”
However, a surge of support appears to be gathering around the youngest person among the four names Nana Akufo-Addo is said to be considering.
“John Boadu has gone through the mill and his record is there for all to see. He is a young man who has paid his dues and has earned this position through sheer hard work over the years. He is the National Organiser of the party and his appointment will show, to all and sundry, that the headquarters of the party and the campaign are one,” a Regional Organiser of the NPP added.
JB, as he is affectionately called, is also described as a “grass-roots man”. It is understood that the NPP flag bearer wants a “grass-roots” man to manage his campaign.
JB’s supporters say that for Akufo-Addo to even consider the young National Organiser is a strong signal that he has a lot of faith in the young people of Ghana.
The youth of the party especially, are rallying behind the National Organiser. “This election is about us the youth. So we are very excited to hear that Nana Addo is thinking of appointing JB.
Mr Stephen Ntim who was a National Chairman aspirant on three occasions is a thoroughbred party person who has paid his dues and contributed significantly to party affairs.
Coming from the Brong Ahafo Region, like John Boadu who comes from the Central Region, Mr Ntim is expected to bring in more votes from the swing region. In addition to his exceptional organisational skills, he is expected to use his grass-roots mobilisation drive to help the flag bearer and the party to win the 2016 elections.
However, a close confidant of the flag bearer has cautioned those lobbying to “give space” and trust to the judgement of Nana Akufo-Addo.
“Whoever is chosen will be Nana Akufo- Addo’s own choice after broad consultation. I know these are the top four names he has been considering for some time now and I don’t think much has changed. We must just wait,” the close confidant said.
The source, however, stressed that it would not be decided by “loud lobbying”, appealing to the supporters of the four men to give Nana Akufo-Addo the space to choose his man.
According to the confidant, “We should not make the issue of who manages the campaign such a major issue. I think what is even more important is how every single individual in the campaign chain plays his or her role.”
As to when the announcement will be made, it was not clear but it is believed that Nana Akufo-Addo is waiting for the National Executive Committee to agree on the date for the parliamentary primary.
“Once that date is firmed up at NEC, we expect he will go ahead and announce the campaign team and this can all happen within next month,” another senior member close to the flag bearer told the Daily Graphic.
The NPP has in its constitution the appointment of a Director for Campaign Strategy but that is yet to take place.