General News of 2014-09-02

Akufo-Addo rolls-out ‘solo agenda’

Aspirants for the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearership race are likely to succumb to intense pressure mounted on them by party members to leave the race to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, following their disastrous showing in the Super Delegates Congress on Sunday, the Republic has gathered.
This paper can confirm that loyalists of Akufo-Addo are at the forefront of this campaign for an unopposed NPP flagbearer.
Already, Akufo-Addo is carrying himself about as the de-facto flagbearer.
Immediately after his overwhelming win, Akufo-Addo organised a press conference saying he [as an NPP flagbearer] would defeat the incumbent John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2016 presidential polls.
“I, myself, re-emphasise my commitment to working for a united NPP, focused on a common opponent whom we must beat convincingly in the 2016 elections,” the twice-defeated flagbearer of the NPP told newsmen at his office on Sunday evening.
The Sunday congress was organised to prune down the number of aspiring flagbearers from seven to the constitutionally mandated five. But the six aspirants combined, barely made 17% of the total votes cast by the party’s Electoral College with Akufo-Addo sweeping about 87% of the almost 800 votes.
First to throw in the towel is the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and former Attorney General, Joe Ghartey, who made it into the top five. On Monday, he told Sky FM in Takoradi, “I am not going to contest in the October 18 elections…We are all going to work for the NPP to come back to power.”
According to party sources, Joe Ghartey’s statement is a hint that, except for the winner on Sunday (Akufo-Addo), the other four presidential aspirants who made it through to the top five of the special delegates congress are likely to soon announce their intentions to back out of the race as the party prepares for the ultimate delegates congress to elect its substantive flagbearer on October 18, 2014.
Party stalwarts have reasoned that given the overwhelming endorsement of Akufo-Addo on Sunday by about 800 decision-making delegates of the party, the 141,000 strong national delegates would likely follow the same trend to overwhelmingly endorse Akufo-Addo.
For them, given the foregoing, it will be a clear waste of resources to organise another contest among the clearly lopsided contest run-up to October 18.
Akufo-Addo’s closest contender, John Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, Second Deputy Speaker, Joe Ghartey; the MP for Mampong in the Ashanti Region, Francis Addai-Nimo and Kofi Osei Ameyaw, the MP for Asuogyamang constituency in the Eastern Region, who all made it into the top five are being pressured by party members, particularly loyalists of Akufo-Addo, to back down.
According to Sarah Adwoa-Safo, the NPP MP for Dome-Kwabenya, abandoning their presidential quest is “what will have helped the party,” because all the resources that would have otherwise been sunk into the October 18 delegates’ congress could be saved for the ultimate face-off with the ruling NDC.
Speaking on Accra-based Okay FM, former General Secretary of the opposition party, Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie (Sir John), pleaded, “We [NPP flagbearership aspirants] should all unite and let Akufo-Addo go unopposed…It will help us and party members will thank us all,” he said.
The closest to Akufo-Addo in the Sunday's contest is Alan Kyeremanteng, who only managed to scrounge 7 % of the total votes.
The MP for Subin in the Ashanti Region, Isaac Osei opines that, it would not make sense to insist on the main congress of 141,000 people if the margin of win in the special congress is very wide.
“I think if anyone gets 15% and is second, there is no need to go for a second phase in October,” Osei was quoted recently. “For peace to prevail, I will suggest that the losing candidates should rally behind the winner with an overwhelming endorsement because the leaders of the party who are the Super Delegates have spoken,” he pleaded.
Meanwhile, the ruling NDC has stated that Akufo-Addo’s victory does not concern the ruling party, particularly because it was obtained against the backdrop of deep-seated division in the party and entrenched power blocs who are reluctant to mend fences.
Source: The Republic
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