The Volta Regional executive election is of paramount interest to the larger National Democratic Congress since its outcome could largely determine the opposition party’s chances in the 2020 general elections.
The party’s humiliating defeat at the 2016 polls has largely been attributed to growing apathy in the region often touted as their stronghold.
Many within the party have thus called on delegates to elect executives who will revamp the party at the base to win back the love and support of the people. This interest thus draws attention to the contest for certain key positions.
The chairmanship race is a two-horse race between former Transport Minister, Dzifa Attivor and the incumbent, Gyapong Kudzo.
Gyapong Kudzo is seen as a selfless politician who would place party interest above others. However, many have called his leadership style into question. He stands accused of running a “one-man show”.
It would be recalled that in the heat of the 2016 campaign, the rest of the executives threatened a boycott after accusing Mr. Gyapong and the Regional Secretary, Simon Viglo of side-lining them. Most party folks have even accused the Chairman, the Secretary and the Organizer, Henry Ametefi of hijacking party operations.
Maybe, this election would provide that opportunity for the disgruntled members. Secretary Simon Viglo and Chairman Gyapong Kudzo are both seeking re-election.
They have in separate interviews with Citi News touted their achievements in the region and believe delegates will give them another chance.
The woman popularly known as Viva Mama is former Transport Minister, Dzifa Ativor. She sees no reason why a woman cannot unseat a man in this election. She believes the time is right for the NDC in Volta Region to welcome an all-inclusive administration.
But for the infamous bus re-branding saga that hit her tenure as transport minister, many are of the view that Madam Attivor could be a sure bet for the Volta NDC. She has however been discounting the effect of that scandal on her chances since she says she’s not been implicated officially. Dzifa, as many call her, believes she has proven over the subsequent years to be a mother for all.
Delegates will surely have a tough time deciding who leads the party in the region.
The position of Regional Secretary will be an intriguing race among four personalities, each distinguished in his/her own way.
The incumbent Simon Viglo after finishing two terms faces stiff challenge from former North Dayi MP, George Loh, Former DCE of Akatsi North, James Gunu, and former Regional Administrator of the party, Manfred Nuku-Dei.
George Loh, a one-term MP, suffered a historic defeat as the only Volta NDC MP to have failed to retain his seat in the 2016 parliamentary elections. Nonetheless, his support as a member of the party’s legal team has been unflinching over the years. He’s also on an additional responsibility as a Party Communicator both within and outside the region.
James Gunu on the other hand, is acclaimed as one of the most effective DCE under the Mahama administration. He is praised for his works in the then new and deprived Akatsi North District. He holds two Masters in Communication and Local Government Administration, and is said to good at whipping grassroots participation. He thinks of himself as the man to rejuvenate the party in the Region.
Manfred Nuku-Dei is an old party man; selflessly served as Regional Administrator in the early years of the party. He broke ranks with the party to join Dr. Obed Asamoah’s then-Democratic Freedom Party in early 2006, but returned in 2009. He hopes to bridge the gap between the old cadres and the young democrats if given the opportunity.
What is however clear is a keen contest between George Loh and James Gunu. Many fear this may even tilt scales in favour of either of the two old hands; Simon Viglo and Manfred Nuku-Dei.
The camps of the respective 54 candidates in the September 1 election, have been crisscrossing the region with hopes of victory.
But the contest for the youth and women’s wing elections has been decided already, with the incumbent Regional Youth Organiser Egypt Kudoto, an aide to Dzifa Attivor losing his place to his deputy Mathias Alagbo. Egypt polled 47 votes, whiles Mathias polled 51, just four votes difference. The third contender, Prince Toseafa has no vote.
Sulemana Mumuni emerged as the Deputy Youth Organizer after beating off competition from six people.
In the women’s category, the incumbent was not in the race because she had passed on in 2017.
Miss Fafa Agbai, a new entrant, polled 39 votes to emerge the winner. Her contenders, Miss Joyce Osei Yaa polled 12, Victoria Dzeklo 19, and Yvette Bridget Simpi 7 votes.
In the women’s category, two of them, Miss Marian Adzroe and Miss Paulina Magyam, emerged as deputy organizers with 23 votes each.
Until the die is cast completely on Saturday September 1, 2018, the delegates will remain the centre of attraction for each candidate.