NDC opens floodgates for serious challenges in Gt Accra Region
The decision by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to expand the barriers of suffrage into a universal one where registered party members can cast their vote in electing representatives at the party level seems to have opened the floodgates for serious challenges.
The departure from the electoral college system where a few ‘elites’ were selected to vote on the selection of candidates has been described by many as a blessing but for those who had a stake in the selection process, the business may have ended.
The Greater Accra Region, being the national capital, may be the most challenged region; not just for the sake of it being the hub of national economic business but it is the apex of national political power for which reason power brokerage becomes a very crucial driving force.
In the overall presentation of the number of persons who have filed their nominations to contest primaries in the region, the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said that a total of 110 candidates had filed their nominations to contest the primaries.
In the region, three constituencies have resolved to present unopposed persons who, barring any unpleasant occurrence at the vetting, may contest without any internal challenge.
He named the constituencies as Odododiodio, Ayawaso West Wuogon and Tema Central.
The Odododiodio Constituency is currently in the hold of the NDC held by Nii Lante Vanderpuije, a rather outspoken personality who seems to have created a niche for himself within the constituency.
However, the Ayawaso West Wuogon and Tema Central constituencies are within the holds of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), who have stated the resolve not to let go of their hold.
But if the NDC, prior to its primaries, make unilateral decisions to place their bets on individual hoists, then there could be a certain reason.
However, there are other constituencies, where there promises to be fierce contests arising from a clash between popularity based on selective allies on one hand and grassroots popularity accrued from regular engagement with the masses.
The common view being echoed by persons within the various constituencies in the region bespeak a common tradition of neglect where the persons, who prior to their election as Members of Parliament (MPs) sat, drank and ate with the ordinary people, now surrounded themselves with bodyguards thereby removing themselves from the reach of the very people who voted them into power.
Ordinarily, the trend would have been that when time approached for the primaries, overtures would be made to members of the Electoral College in a bid to influence voting preferences.
Quite often, that gave undue advantage to those who had the resources and for that matter, were able to ‘buy’ votes while others who may be very popular on the ground but lack resources lose out.
One constituency that promises more action is the Ashaiman Constituency which has so far registered the highest number of persons wanting to contest in the primaries.
At the close of nominations, 11 persons had filed to contest the primary in that constituency; an indication of a likely spirited contest should all of them pass the vetting.
The MP for the Ablekuma South Constituency, Mr Fritz Baffour, has decided not to contest again but in that constituency, another individual believed to be a political powerhouse, the Chief Executive Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, has filed to contest the primary.
Another constituency where attention would be riveted is Abokobi-Madina where a fresh entrant, Human Rights Lawyer, Mr Francis Xavier Sosu, promises to be a potent force that threatens the reign of the incumbent, Alhaji Amadu Sorogho.
Mr Sosu in recent years has endeared himself to the people of the constituency through philanthropic acts and a frequent engagement with the grassroots supporters of the party.
He recently organised free vacation classes for schoolchildren within the constituency; a move that is likely to buoy his chances against the incumbent.
Other constituencies to watch out for are Klottey Korle, where a daughter of former President Rawlings, Dr Ezanetor Rawlings has decided to contest; Ningo-Prampram, Domeabra-Obom, Ledzokuku, Ayawaso North and Adentan.
The director in charge of elections of the NDC, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, told the Daily Graphic that the novelty in the decision to base the primaries on universal suffrage would even out the odds and deal with the issue of vote buying.
He said teams had been set up, made up of executives from the national, regional and constituency levels to vet the applicants following which balloting for positions on the ballot paper would be done.