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Politics Wed, 30 Nov 2005

Ohene Ntow: I?m everybody?s candidate

THE man tipped as clear favourite to become General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Ohene Ntow (pictured left), has said he is ready to work with whoever becomes the party chairman or flagbearer to build the NPP as a corporate entity.

Speaking to The Statesman, the Government Spokesperson on Finance said, ?I?m everybody?s candidate.?

He also countered attempts to tag him as the preferred candidate of either the Castle or a presidential aspirant. ?There?s been a campaign to pigeon-hole me. But, fortunately for me, the support I?m enjoying cuts across, from the national leadership to the grassroots. My campaign enjoys the endorsement of several leading members of the party, including potential presidential candidates, because they know my commitment is to the party, period. All the people who have shown interest in either the national executive positions or as presidential candidates are very respectable members of the NPP who qualify for the positions and if each one of them wins I?m ready to work with them for the common good.?

National Chairman Harona Esseku?s ?revelations? have exposed the apparent weaknesses within the NPP structure. This has called for the relationship between the party and Government to be re-defined.

Ohene Ntow had this to say: ?As far as I?m concerned our system of democracy underlines the non-severable link between a government and its parent party. The best thing, therefore, is to remind the people in government that the basis of their power is the party and that they have a primary responsibility to keep the party ever-growing in strength. It is in their interest as government to support the party in whichever way possible.?

With nearly five years experience as a government official behind him, Ohene Ntow says of himself, ?For someone who has worked in government for more than a term, I think I can work as General Secretary and maintain a strong, well-defined and constructive relationship between the two forces without infringing any laws. More importantly, the next national executive team must build a progressive and constructive working relationship of mutual respect between the party and Government.?

He said the NPP as a ruling party is faced with new challenges that call for innovation and cross fertilisation of ideas to confront them.

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Earlier in the week, Nana Ohene Ntow said in Kumasi that his foremost agenda when elected is to see to the retention of power by the NPP in the 2008 elections and building the party into a potent political force. This afternoon, he is holding a press conference at the Press Centre, Accra, following it up with a tour to the Volta Region.

The NPP aspiring candidate told a press conference in Kumasi after meeting with constituency executives in Kumasi that what people erroneously see as a power struggle in the NPP is simply internal democracy at display and rejected assertions from certain quarters that there is in-fighting among the NPP. Nana Ohene Ntow stressed his determination to work assiduously to resolve all conflicts in the party when elected.

Touching on media practice in the country and the award of heavy fines against media houses despite the removal of the criminal libel law from the statute books, Nana Ohene Ntow said the time has come to revisit journalism practice in the country. He said the unlimited, unrestricted press freedom that currently pertains in the country calls for the highest level of responsible journalism. According to Nana Ohene Ntow, there is the need for media practitioners to do a lot of soul searching and self-censorship. He emphasised, however, that the state would not minimise the borders of press freedom. ?The fact that the media should regulate its operations is not a call to curtail the liberties of the press,? he asserted.

Nana Ohene Ntow, who is himself a journalist and taught at the Ghana Institute of Journalism for several years, was optimistic of becoming the next General Secretary of the NPP since his message to the constituency executives has received widespread acceptance.

The National Delegates Congress of the NPP takes place in Accra on December 17. Information reaching The Statesman indicates that the NDC has shifted its congress, which takes place at Koforidua, to December 22.

Source: Statesman
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