Five heavyweights of the biggest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), were given the shocks of their lives last Saturday when they were defeated in their quest to become regional chairmen of the party in their respective regions.
They are the former Transport Minister, Ms Aku Dzifa Ativor, who failed in her bid to lead the NDC in the Volta Region; the incumbent Eastern Regional Chairman, Mr Bismark Tawiah Boateng, who was also booted out as regional chairman; a former Central Regional Minister, Mr Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, who was floored in the Central Regional polls and Mr Joseph Yammin, who was also defeated in the Ashanti Regional delegates elections.
In the Western Region, incumbent Michael Aidooo aka Big Aidoo was also lost his position chairman.
The Greater Accra Regional Chairman Mr Joseph Kobina Ade Coker, however, retained his position after a closely contested elections.
Dzifa Ativor fails bid
Ms Attivor was kicked to the curb by delegates in the NDC stronghold after the party’s just ended regional elections.
She was left to lick her wounds after she lost the chairman position to the incumbent, John Kwadwo Gyapong, in a fairly contested polls.
The former transport minister failed to get the maximum number of votes from the party’s “World Bank” to defeat the incumbent chairman Mr Gyapong.
She was able to garner 371 votes while Mr Gyapong won with 491 votes.
Delegates who voted in the elections rejected Ms Ativor who had been tipped to overthrow the incumbent chairman.
A total of 54 persons filed their papers to contest various regional executive positions of the NDC in the region.
Prior to the elections, Madam Attivor, who is also the chair of the Women Working Committee of the party, noted that the party had come of age to have women playing commanding roles at the helm of affairs, stressing that “men have led this party since its inception but I believe the time has come for women to take charge and lead the NDC into the future.”
She thus appealed to the party delegates to support her to make history, saying she had the clout to unite and give hope to the party’s branches, connect the party back to the cadres, get women to be part of the new NDC, attract first-time voters into the NDC, as well as build a strong partnership with the media in the region.
Tawiah Boateng in painful defeat
In the Eastern Region, the incumbent Eastern Regional Chairman, Mr Boateng, was defeated by his long-term political rival, John Owusu Amankrah, popularly known as Jowak, a businessman.
Mr Amankrah polled 379 votes as against the 281 votes secured by Mr Boateng to avenge a painful defeat he suffered in the hands of Mr Boateng in 2014.
The Eastern regional NDC election recorded several dramatic incidents before and during the voting process, which delayed the election.
For instance, delegates initially boycotted the event in demand of their transportation fares before they took part in the exercise.
Also, the exercise suffered power outage which was interpreted to be an alleged orchestrated attempt to manipulate the polls, a situation which caused a chaotic scene and led to the suspension of the election for a while. Voting ended around 1:30 a.m. and declaration was done around 3:40 a.m. yesterday.
A former Central Regional Minister, Mr Ebenezer Kojo Tei Addo, won the central regional chairman contest of the NDC.
The veteran politician and lawyer polled 299 votes to beat his closest contender, Mr Kakra Yalley, who polled 256 votes.
Another former Central Regional Minister, under the Mahama administration, Mr Quansah, who was widely tipped to win the election, came third in the three-man contest, polling 157 votes despite the huge support he allegedly enjoyed from the outgoing chairman, Mr Bernard Allotey Jacobs, popularly referred to as “Educated Fisherman”.
Fierce race in Ashanti
The race for the chairmanship was fierce in the Ashanti Region. It saw Mr Augustus Andrew Nana Kwasi win the seat with 699 votes, while Mr Yammin garnered 611 votes.
The former Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Yammin, was rejected in his attempt to lead the NDC as chairman in the Ashanti Region.
Yammin, who was also a former Ashanti Regional Secretary of the party, lost by 88 votes as against Nana Akwasi’s 699 votes on Saturday at the Twebeboah Kodua Senior High School at Kumawu where the Ashanti Regional NDC delegates held their conference.
When Yammin and a crowd of 'macho men' arrived, the gates to the hall had been locked but they bulldozed their way into the assembly hall where the election was taking place.
The aspiring chairman was seen making a forceful entry into the hall when police personnel tried to stop him at the entrance.
The General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, who was there to observe proceedings asked that the door to the hall be closed to allow the delegates to listen to his remarks.
Mr Yammin’s forceful entry drew disapproval from some of the delegates and got the NDC members hooting and making fun of him.
In explaining what happened after the dust had settled, Mr Asiedu Nketia said the aspiring chairman forcefully entered the hall because he thought it was a plan to “lock him out.”
He explained further that Yammin’s action was because he was absent when the order to lock the door for less distraction was made.
He apologised on behalf of Mr Yammin for the seeming confusion.
About 1500 delegates of the NDC in the Ashanti Region voted to elect the new regional executives.
Shocking defeat in W/R
A former NDC Western Regional Chairman, Nana Kojo Toku, defeated Mr Aidoo, the incumbent, to recapture the seat he once held.
Nana Toku lost the chairman’s seat to Mr Aidoo on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 and subsequently collapsed out of shock.
After four years, Nana Toku has returned to recapture the seat from the one who nearly cost him his life.
Mr Aidoo, after snatching the seat from Nana Toku in November 2014, pledged to unite the party and increase its parliamentary seats from the then 18.
While some analysts opined that Mr Aidoo failed to unite the party because deep cracks had developed after the Bogoso elections, others believe his incompetence led to the party’s loss of about seven parliamentary seats in the 2016 general election.
Mr Aidoo in November 2014 won 133 out of 295 votes, while Nana Toku got 126.
During the party’s regional election last Saturday, Nana Toku won by 469 of the total votes, while Mr Aidoo lost after securing 346 votes, a 123 vote difference compared to the seven votes Mr Aidoo used to defeat Nana Toku in 2014.
It is believed that because Nana Toku’s era brought the NDC to power in 2008 and 2012, his return will bring back the party from opposition to power come the 2020 general election.
Ade Coker retains post
Meanwhile, in the Greater Accra Region, the incumbent Chairman, Mr Ade Coker, has retained his position following a closely contested election.
Going into the polls as the favourite, many predicted a landslide victory for Mr Ade Coker.
After the elections, however, the Greater Accra regional chairman beat his closest compatriot by 26 votes.
Although it was a sweet victory, pundits will question what might have gone wrong to deny Chairman Ade Coker a landslide victory and what that could mean for the affairs of the party in the capital.
His competitors, Daniel Amartey, Yahya Kundow and Nii Ashie-Moore polled 293, 113 and 283, respectively.
Over 1,000 delegates converged on the Central Cafeteria of the University of Ghana to elect the regional officers who would steer the affairs of the party in the 2020 general election.