Politics of Tuesday, 4 July 2017
Twice-failed NPP National Chairman Aspirant, Stephen Ayenso Ntim and current acting Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Freddy Blay, may have to give up on their National Chairman ambitions or risk suffering heavy defeat as information reaching The aL-hAJJ indicates that, the presidency has thrown its support behind the Upper West Regional Chairman of NPP, Alhaji Abubakari Abdul Rahman, for the party’s topmost post.
Flagstaff House and NPP insiders told this paper that, Ntim and Blay have fallen out of favour with the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, who separately, promised them his support in their ambition of becoming the party’s National Chairman when he is elected President.
The President, The aL-hAJJ gathered, has landed on the three-time Upper West Regional Chairman, popularly known as Alhaji Short, for the National Chairman post and has since been using his “privileged” position to whip support for him much to the chagrin of Messrs. Ntim and Blay and other National Chairman hopefuls.
Emboldened by President Akufo-Addo’s support for his Chairmanship bid, Alhaji Short, sources revealed, has been touring various regions and having “secret” meetings with NPP founding members, Council of Elders and executives of the party ahead of the NPP’s Congress next year.
Alhaji Short, who is said to be basking in glory, believes he will go past his main contenders, Ntim and Blay, who have been left in the lurch after working hard for Akufo-Addo to achieve his childhood dream of becoming President.
After losing the National Chairman election on his second attempt to Paul Afoko at the Tamale Congress, Mr Ntim, party insiders told The aL-hAJJ, was lured with Campaign Manager post for the 2016 election by then candidate Akufo-Addo.
After committing himself to the Akufo Addo-for-president project with the hope of becoming his campaign Manager, President Akufo-Addo rather chose former National Chairman, Peter Mac Manu ahead of him (Ntim) as the party’s marksman for the 2016 campaign.
To keep his hopes alive, Akufo-Addo assigned Mr Ntim to his home region, Brong Ahafo as head of the party’s campaign. Candidate Akufo-Addo again made Ntim another offer; to back him (Ntim) for the National Chairman post if and when he (Nana) is elected President.
In the case of Mr Blay, who was installed acting National Chairman of the NPP after Mr Akufo-Addo managed to get the National Council to suspend the then incumbent chairman, Paul Afoko, he was said to have been told to prepare himself for the post of Speaker of Parliament if the NPP wins the 2016 election.
However, he lost out to Prof Mike Ocquaye after the NPP’s victory. To pacify (Blay) him, President Akufo-Addo was said to have promised him that, “he will be the presidency’s candidate for National Chairman.”
Mr Blay was subsequently appointed Board Chairman for Ghana National Petroleum Corporation after words went round that President Akufo-Addo has changed his decision to support him for the post he currently occupies, albeit, in acting capacity.
Mr Blay’s dumping by Akufo-Addo followed what some kingpins of the governing party described as his “marriage of convenience” with the National Democratic Congress ahead of the December 2016 elections.
The former 1st Deputy Speaker of Parliament and ex-CPP MP for Ellembelle early this year hinted of strain in his relationship with President Akufo-Addo when he revealed that members of the NPP accused him of supporting the NDC after his newspaper accepted to publish adverts of President Mahama during the 2016 campaign.
This was corroborated by his wife, Mrs Gina Blay, who revealed before the elections that the NPP was unhappy with adverts of then President Mahama’s achievement in the Daily Guide Newspaper which she manages. Mr Blay’s wife told Bola Ray of Starr Fm that “NPP is very unhappy about the adverts, they are very unhappy about it.”
Both Ntim and Blay, sources told The aL-hAJJ, had to be dropped by President Akufo-Addo because strategists of the governing party think “after suspending Paul Afoko, there is the need to get another Northerner to take that position. This will then defeat the NDC’s propaganda that Afoko was sacked because he is a Northerner.”
This, sources say, puts Alhaji Short in a prime position to enjoin support from leading members of the party who have bought into the idea of a Northerner becoming the National Chairman of the party.