Nii Noi Nortey and Philip Kojo Addison
Celebrated lawyer Philip Kojo Addison over the weekend pulled a major surprise when he defied the odds to win the re-run parliamentary primary of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Klottey Korle constituency.
He beat Valentino Nii Noi Nortey to become the party’s parliamentary candidate for the 2016 polls.
Many were those who had tipped Nii Noi as the one likely to emerge the eventual winner of the closely-fought contest, having cruised to victory in the earlier contest.
The re-run was ordered by a court after it had declared the earlier election (held last year) null and void.
Both aspirants were satisfied with the activities surrounding the election, unlike the previous one when Addison claimed his supporters’ names were not in the album.
But supporters of Nii Noi are calling on him to go independent, especially since he stormed out of the venue before declaration of results and asked his agent not to append his signature on the results sheet.
Both candidates had vowed to support each other after the polls. With the results out, it is not clear yet if Nii Noi will hold on to his earlier vow to support Addison.
With the last-minute stepping down of Nii Adjei Tawiah, who threw his weight behind Philip Addison, it made the contest a straight fight between Nii Noi and the legal giant who rose to fame during the 2012 presidential petition hearing at the Supreme Court.
The atmosphere at the party’s national headquarters at Asylum Down in Accra, where the election was held, was enough to tell how hot the contest was going to be, with supporters of both sides chanting the names and slogans of their preferred candidates.
But the mood changed when voting eventually came to an end at exactly 3pm.
Of the 790 delegates who were expected to vote, 765 managed to cast their votes, with two votes rejected while the remaining 25 did not turn up.
While Nii Noi, former party chairman for the constituency, looked a bit tense, Addison seemed a bit relaxed, sipping a bottle of water.
Not too long thereafter, counting began in earnest and the supporters of Nii Noi, with bottles of Talcum powder in their hands, took to singing and dancing, believing it was a done deal for their candidate.
That euphoria was, however, short-lived after the counting of the votes garnered by Nii Noi, who secured 367 out of the valid votes cast.
The signs looked brighter for Addison who hit his hand on a table close by and took another sip of water, having a premonition of a victory ahead.
He started beaming with smiles when his votes went past those of his contender, well assured of victory.
By the close of counting, Addison, who was wearing an all-white apparel, had garnered 396 votes to beat Nii Noi with 23 difference to the surprise of many, especially supporters of Nii Noi, most of whom became agitated and started expressing disappointment, with some questioning the credibility of the election.
But an obviously bemused Nii Noi could no longer hold on to the hope he was nursing than to shake hands with an all-smiling Addison, the former apparently conceding defeat.
Moments later, the young man stood up and walked to his lawyer and friend, Garry Nimako, only to be sandwiched and whisked away by his supporters, some of whom were seething with anger.
Even though supporters of the defeated candidate are pushing him to go independent and have sworn that “No Nii Noi, No Vote,” Addison has indicated his preparedness to reach out to his opponent and supporters in the larger interest of the party.
Lawyer Addison, in an interview with the media, said: “I feel vindicated; it has been one year now since we started the process… The media blitz has been predominantly negative. So today I feel vindicated by the results.
“It has been one year of wrangling, insults, what have you…now today it is all over. Today is the time to start building bridges and friendships that bring the party together. That starts today.”
Addison will now face Dr Zanetor Rawlings who clinched the NDC slot but the incumbent, Nii Armah Ashietey, has dragged her to court over non-possession of voter’s card. The case is still being heard in court.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu