The race as to who succeeds President Kufuor within NPP circles has now gathered momentum with all the presidential hopefuls moving surreptitiously from one region to the other to canvass for votes though the date for the election of presidential candidate is far away.
The Western Region and the Central Region have become the most important regions to conquer because anyone who has to win the Presidential or the general elections must clear the two. That is a statistical and political fact in view of the stranglehold the opposition NDC appear to have on the three Northern regions and Volta region. Here in the Western region it was Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, the junior brother of President Kufuor, who first sent his agents to the region to explain to the potential delegates his intention to succeed his brother in 2008 as the president of Ghana. The agents therefore prevailed upon the party executives who attended the meeting, said to have been held at Kojokrom, near Sekondi, to consider the junior brother of the president in the NPP presidential race. That ticket has already been consigned to the dustbin by almost discerning political observers/analysts because of the perception of intimations of the abhorrent dynastic idea akin to Togo's from father-to-son formation - Gnassingbe Eyadema to Faure Gnassingbe. Substantial investigation by the Chronicle indicates that the alleged preferred choice of the President, Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Alan Kyeremanten, 48, was probably the first to hit the ground running in the coming battle to succeed John Agyekum Kufuor, by making sorties first in the Central Region, beginning with Elmina, as early as April, this year. Ghana's last Ambassador to the United States, Alan was anxious to put a distance between him and Ashanti region because of the unspoken silent national consensus that after Kufuor, it is the turn of other ethnic groups preferably, the Fantes, to take the helm. At Elmina, Alan met the Omanhene with his brother and introduced his team and the ?ebusuapanyin' of his mother's house to ?prove' his ?Fanteness.'
Allan has however never lived, schooled, invested or promoted the region or fraternized with any of the associations in the area and critics are already lining up to debunk his claim to ?Fanteship'.
Last Friday, he was here himself in Sekondi, home region of Paapa Owusu Ankomah, an Ahanta, with a Kwahu father, whose mother is from Dixcove and has lived all his life in the area. Alan met about 66 delegates drawn from the 22 constituencies in the region.
Chronicle learnt that three delegates came from each constituency to meet the presidential hopeful.
The delegates were lodged at Lagoon Side Hotel and other hotels in town at the expense of the minister. During the meeting itself, which was held around 9pm to apparently avoid the press, the trade minister reportedly declared his intention to contest the NPP presidential slot and claimed that he has the requisite experience.
He was quoted as saying that he was the one who brought the Presidential Special Initiatives (PSI), which has now chalked some success in the country and that he has the capacity to lead the party and the country when given the chance.
The PSI has somehow being taken from him and parceled off to the Portfolio of the Minister of Private Sector Development, Mr. Kwamena Bartels.
Mr. Alan Kyeremanteng also debunked the claim by his opponents that he was a new man in the party.
He was quoted as saying that as far back as 1992, he was the chairman of the Young Executive Forum, a youth wing of the party, and that he has the experience to lead the party.
The Chronicle can independently confirm this as a statement of fact, as he was even urged by the YEF to run for President himself in 2000. He declined to do that and rather helped persuade the YEF to back then candidate Kufuor who went on to beat Nana Akufo-Addo to win the nomination and subsequently secured victory for the NPP.
The trade minister also told the delegates that that his mother comes from Elmina (Edina), near Cape Coast, and his father also comes from Ashanti, and therefore called on the delegates to surrender their votes to him when the time came for the actual election.
A source within NPP in the region explained to this reporter that the presidential hopefuls appear to have stepped up their campaigns because they wanted their favourites to be elected into the various executive positions in the constituencies to brighten their chances at the delegate's congress where the presidential candidate would be elected to lead the party for the 2008 general election.
Alan is going straight for the number one slot against a field of 10 other aspirants, almost all of whom have a constituency under their belt with some parliamentary practice and experience to boot. Whether he can surmount that challenge with his good looks and politeness remains to be seen.