General News of Thu, 31 Oct 2013115
Make a non-Akan flagbearer – Kwakye Ofosu challenges NPP
Deputy Information Minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, is challenging the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to bring up a non-Akan as flagbearer to dispel the "Akan party" tag attributed to the party.
According to him, the "Akan party" tag, which is an albatross around the NPP’s neck, has been exemplified by the action and inactions of leading members of the NPP.
Citing the infamous "yen Akan fo" comment by the NPP’s 2012 presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, to buttress his point, the Information Minister said the opposition party will win only one region in the 2016 general elections if the status quo remains.
Felix Kwakye Ofosu's comment follows the claim by a leading member of the NPP, Joseph Ayikoi-Otoo, that the non-Akans in the party have been sidelined.
Ayikoi Otoo, who is also vying for the chairmanship position, feared the NPP might remain in opposition if it does not resolve the Ashanti-Akyem faction within the party.
But other leading members have vehemently denied Ayikoi Otoo’s assertions, maintaining that the NPP is a national party made up of people from diverse backgrounds.
Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Wednesday, Kwakye Ofosu described as laughable the attempt by some NPP members to cover up an open secret.
He stated that a party, which has not had a non-Akan as flagbearer since its inception, could not be described as a national party.
Kwakye Ofosu intimated that the party in 2007 had a juicy opportunity to nib the "Akan party" tag in the bud, when the late Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, a Northerner, contested the flagbearership position, but rather voted for an Akan to lead the party.
“Not only was it opportune for the NPP to dispel that Akan party notion by electing Aliu Mahama, he was competent and fit for the job. He had eight years of top level governance experience among 17 aspirants, but they rather voted for an Akan,” he noted.
The deputy information minister further noted that the Akan label on the NPP could not be shed off because it has been seriously entrenched.
Kwakye Ofosu said the only way the NPP could deal with that perception was to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the minority tribes have equal opportunity like the Akans within the party.
In a quick rebuttal, the Member of Parliament for Manhyia constituency, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, discounted Ofosu Kwakye's claim.
He said a party founded on the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition could not be said to be an Akan party.
He observed that the argument about whether or not the NPP is a tribal party, will not solve the bread and butter issues confronting Ghanaians.
The Manhyia MP said the NPP will not be distracted by such mischievous claim championed by the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), which was meant to divide their ranks.
Napo as he is popularly called, urged party members to remain focus and threat such a “fallacy” with the contempt it deserves.