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Opinions Sat, 7 Aug 2010

Who bears NPP flag?

By Sebastian R. Freiku,

COME SATURDAY, August 7, 2010 and the main opposition party New Patriotic Party (NPP) would make history when 115,000 plus delegates go to the polls and elect a flagbearer through an expanded Electoral College in a bid to wrestle power from the ruling NDC government in the 2012 elections.

The aspirants are Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Mr. John Kwadwo Alan Kyerematen, Hon. Isaac Osei, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng and Lawyer John Kwame Koduah.

Apart from the Subin MP, Mr. Isaac Osei, all the aspirants have contested in the flagbearership race at some point in time.

No doubt, all five aspirants are good presidential materials in their own right.

Having criss-crossed the length and breadth of the entire country with their messages each of them is going to the polls confident to carry the day.

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Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 66, was the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice from 2001 to 2003 and the Foreign Minister of Ghana from April 2003 to July 2007. Akufo-Addo was one of the founding members of the New Patriotic Party in 1992. He has been a member of the National Council and National Executive Committee of the NPP since 1992 and was also the founder and first chairperson of the Ghana Committee on Human and People's Rights.

He has been Member of Parliament on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the Abuakwa (South) Constituency and was re-elected in 2000 and 2004. He is the eldest of the four children of Adeline and Edward Akufo-Addo, a former Chief Justice and President of Ghana. He trained as a lawyer in England (Member of the Middle Temple) and was called to the English Bar in July 1971 and the Ghanaian Bar in July 1975 and practised in Paris, France, and Accra.

He is said to be more popular with the electorate. He polled 1,096 votes (47.97%) at the 2007 Congress and polled 49.77% at the December 2008 General elections.

Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe, a leading member of NPP once described Nana Akufo-Addo as a "Star of NPP" and "the right person to regain power for the NPP because of his popularity". Opanin Kwame Afreh, a veteran politician in Kumasi says Nana Akufo Addo is a forerunner in the race and that the NPP risk losing him as a flagbearer. Nana Akufo Addo believes in Ghana. Mr. John Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and law from the University of Ghana. He is one of the leading contenders in the NPP 2010 Presidential Primary.He secured 738 votes representing 32.30% out of the total 2,285 valid votes cast during the 2007 Congress.

Kyerematen, 55, known as Chief, obviously named after the late Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, for the immense support his late father Dr. Kyerematen, received from the Ashanti King in his personal capacity and in his capacity as President of the Asanteman Council, is probably counting on the goodwill of his father’s contribution to the development of culture.

Alan candidature is forthright and honest.

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His mother, Mrs.Victoria Kyerematen, widow of the first director of the Centre of National Culture Dr. A. A. Y. Kyerematenof Fante and Ashanti parentage, is a native of Besease and a royal of the Ejisu Stool.

“Dr. Kyerematen, his father, is from the royal lineage of Patase in Kumasi and was once the odikro of the community.

Alan was the Ghanaian Ambassador to the U.S and later Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and the Presidential Special Initiatives; under President Kufuor led NPP government. His followers say he is the right person to lead the NPP and Ghana as a whole since he possesses leadership qualities which can indeed move the country forward. “We need a humble, intelligent and a charismatic leader like Alan Cash to lead us and take us to the Promised Land. With Alan as our leader we shall win the 2012 elections”, National Co-ordinator of Friends of Alan Cash Campaign (FACC), Mr. Joseph Boakye-Kwakwa has said.

Handsome and gentle Hon. Isaac Osei, a known Distinguished and honourable diplomat is in the race to bail the NPP out of opposition. “I am in the race because I will win.” he has assured his followers.

He says he is not only bidding to lead the NPP to the 2012 elections but also poised to execute the task of capturing power and become the president of Ghana. “The focus of my aspiration to lead the NPP is Ghana. I want to be president of Ghana and bring the country to another level of development,” he has said. According to Mr. Osei who is also the Member of Parliament for Subin, he has a long term view of Ghana and the capacity to put in place a plan for effective utilization of resources.

“I have definite ideas to develop Ghana but with the support and co-operation of Ghanaians,” he said.

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Mr. Osei, 59, who is also the ranking member on Trade, Industry and Tourism, indicated that his presidency would adopt massive development of agriculture and the cocoa industry as key to employment.

With the seeming “bloody civil war” between Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyeramaten, who by the 2007 polls are the leading contenders, many NPP members believe Isaac Osei could emerge as an acceptable candidate to both camps of the party.

Isaac Osei preaches unity and peace. NPP sympathizers see him as a unifier and a true leader. “Isaac Osei is a kind, considerate, approachable and accessible man who supports worthy causes,” they say. Mr. Osei who is counting on his experience in the Civil Service at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, a successful private businessman, High Commissioner, public servant at the COCOBOD and a parliamentarian, claims he is an agent of change and a message of hope for the youth hence his decision to aspire for the highest office of the land.

Mr. Isaac Osei, Member of Parliament for Subin in the Ashanti Region who was also a former Ghana High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and a former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD. Mr. Isaac Osei who was born in Ashanti New Town - Kumasi - to the late E.K. Osei from Sepe Timpom (first ever Otumfuo's Nkosuohene) and Mrs. Eunice Osei nee Inkumsah, his mother who hails from Dixcove in the Western Region could also be the right candidate.

In the unlikely event that he is defeated, people are suggesting that he is made the running-mate of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, NPP presidential candidate that is if he also carries the day.

Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, 60, is the former Chief Executive officer of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra. He is a Ghanaian cardiothoracic surgeon who established the National Cardiothoracic Center teaching young surgeons. He is also the director of Ghana 's National Cardiothoracic Center , and President of the Ghana Heart Foundation and the Ghana Red Cross Society He polled 12 votes (0.53%) out of 2,293 during the 2007 NPP Congress which was contested by a record 17 aspirants. The accomplished first black African heart surgeon, has pledged to give priority to development through science and technology. He would adopt policies to empower women to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. Mr. John Kwame Koduah, 68, comes into the Presidential race for the third time with a bible quotation in hand; "when the wicked is in authority the people mourn, but when the righteous take over the people rejoice."

This is the conviction of the Kumawu born lawyer. He is product of Prempeh Collegein Kumasi, and the University of Ghana and Ghana Law School

Lawyer Koduah polled nine votes to trail all contestants at the 1992 NPP Congress placing sixth. In 1998, the lawyer cum Man of God placed fourth out of six contestants with eight votes. He, however, opted out of the race in 2007 when 17 aspirants contested for the presidential slot.

His bid this time is inspired by his quest to promote core values of transparency and integrity which he said are essential to fight corruption.

An active Christian since 1968 and Co- founder of the Church of Divine Love as well as a Bible Teacher and Preacher, Lawyer Koduah says he has implicit faith in GOD which quality places him in a very good position to lead NPP and wrestle power from the NDC. The question now is: Who emerges the NPP flagbearer to lead the party to contest NDC, CPP, NVP, DFP, TCP and the rest of the political parties in Ghana to Election 2012? Could it be Nana, Alan Cash, Isaac Osei the Bohyeba, Professor the heart surgeon or the Kumasi-based private legal practitioner. We wait for an answer from the delegates from all the 231 polling stations by close of August 7.

Columnist: Freiku, Sebastian R.