Politics Fri, 17 Jul 2009

Aliu Mahama Joins NPP Chairmanship

Independent Intelligence picked up by The Chronicle has revealed that former vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, who was among the 17 candidates who contested the presidential primaries of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), is going to be among the next batch of candidates to vie for the National Chairmanship of the NPP, the biggest minority party in Ghana.

Although strong names such as that of Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, 66, former Tourism Minister under the erstwhile Kufuor administration, and Mr. Stephen Ntim, 51, former first vice chairman of the party who lost out to Mr. Peter Mac Manu in the last congress, have also thrown in their bids. Names of Ms. Ama Busia, 73, sister of the former Prime Minister – Prof. Kofi Busia, and Mr. Sammy Crabbe, 46, Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the party have also come up as possible candidates, who have already expressed interest in the position to lead the party into the next general elections. Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the paper gathered, has been tipped by many party bigwigs to secure the coveted slot. First hint of Aliu’s interest was shown in the Accra Mail, edited by Alhaji Haruna Atta, his media manager, when he published an interview with Mr. Mac Manu and grotesquely mangled a headline which incinerated Mac Manu, and managed at the same time to promote Aliu’s candidature for the national chairmanship position.

Mac Manu showed his anger and frustration by dashing to The Patriot, another pro-NPP newspaper, to redeem his shredded image. Earlier information pieced by the paper indicate that Mr. Kwame Pianim, former chairman of the Public Utility and Regulatory Commission (PURC) was highly tipped by party big wigs for the position, and was being convinced by party stalwarts to take over and repair the damage caused to the party. However, the paper gathered that he declined to contest. With Kwame out of the hustings, Jake fancied his chances for the top position. When Nana Addo visited Takoradi during his nationwide ‘Thank You’ tour, Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey was contacted on phone by this paper, and he confirmed his desire to contest for the position, but denied reports that he would only contest if Pianim would not.

But the pro-Akuffo newspaper, The Statesman, now controlled by Databank, owned by Ken Ofori-Atta and Kekeli Gadzekpo, broke the news that Ama Busia is one of the names vying for the position of national chairman. The East Airport /East Legon resident has the powerful support of President Kufuor, but supporters say that she will accept the position if no one will contest it. That means Steve Ntim, who commands some following in the party, will be running on an empty pocket. Steve Ntim is now on his own, without the powerful backing of ex-President Kufuor.

But latest information has shown that what Haruna Atta, a die hard Danquah-Dombo-Busia adherent, reported has been substantially true. If truth be told, then the profile of Aliu is extraordinarily suited for the position. The NPP is so tagged with the brush of ethnic based (Asante–based) party, that having Aliu, a Northerner from the Dagbani stock as chairman, would give a turbo boost to the image of the party. The NPP needs to defuse that perception now, more than ever. But that proposition is countered by the pro-Ga argument that has always permeated discussions with the historically Ga chairmanship of the NPP. Viz; Hon Odoi Sykes, Peter Ala Adjetey, and a Fante, Harruna Esseku and Mr. Demi-god. That argument seems to favour Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, who at 66 has all the glowing credentials and the guile to push for the job. He also has the considerable backing of a power house of the party, in no less a personality than Mr. Osafo Maafo.


This reporter gathers that Jake has a few powerful opponents of his own, which includes Hon. Mike Oquaye, the 1st deputy Speaker and Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson. Add that to the Ga youth who accused Jake of collaborating in the wholesale looting of Ga property. Above all, there is the small opponent in Raymond Archer’s Enquirer, whose unrelenting assault on Jake cannot be discounted in the event that his name comes up as a contender for the position of national chairman. When Mr. Kwame Pianim publicly expressed the need for a Ga to take up the mantle of leadership for the party, it sent a powerful suggestion for a Jake or young Sammy Crabbe, the only two Gas in the race for chairmanship. But the natural follow up question would be - who is the most vulnerable, politically of the two Gas?

Would it be Crabbe, whose beard is yet to break out of its follicles on account of his youthfulness - he’s even younger than Barrack Obama and his backers, notably Mr. Moses Afaglo - have not been able to force Crabbe into a three piece agbada and give a semblance of Seniority, for him to be taken seriously for a conservative party like the NPP. With the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) party in full swing, and looking as beatable as they come, there is an exciting scramble for positions in the NPP party. With the likes of Crabbe and Otanka going for the chairmanship, other positions are already being hotly contested for, and Ms. Busia’s son, Hon. Kofi Busia, a former Consul General in the US, is also showing keen interest in the General Secretary position, now occupied by Nana Ohene Ntow.

As laughable as it appears, Ama Busia has not come out yet to dispute the fact that Mother and Son are going for positions in the party. Nana Ohene Ntow himself has several Achilles heels to deal with. Alhaji Aminu Onasis, the Western Regional Youth Organizer of the party, in an interview confirmed to the paper Aliu’s interest in the chairmanship position, as is being speculated in the Region. Onassis, who was the coordinator of Aliu’s presidential candidacy in the Region during the NPP’s presidential primaries, however, indicated that the former vice President, who is currently out of the country would make his intentions known when he returns.

He told the paper that the speculation about Aliu’s bid for chairmanship was very rife, but revealed that if the former Veep would contest, he (Onasis), among other loyalists of Aliu would surely be informed. Athanasius Ada Yankey, NPP constituency secretary in Ahanta west, in an interview also confirmed the Aliu candidature. According to him, Aliu Mahama was among a host of other competent elements within the party tipped to take over its leadership. Several other constituency executives in the Western Region confirmed the indoor whispering of how the party was trying to build consensus during congress around Aliu, to clinch the position of chairmanship in order to put the party in a good position, in opposition. There are other Northerners vying for positions in the party, they include Alhaji Muktar Bamba, Boniface Saddique and Alhaji MND Jawula among others; Information indicates that the party bigwigs are excited.

Source: The Chronicle