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Who’ll Be NPP’s Chosen Five? Test Case For Nana, Alan
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Delegates at the Special Electoral College (SEC) tomorrow, Sunday, will seek to determine who stays or exits the flag-bearer race of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) when they prune down the number of aspirants from seven to five.

The poll by the party’s 781-member SEC will also be a revealing test case for the two front runners gunning for the flag-bearer slot of the party for the 2016 election.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the 2008 and 2012 presidential candidate, and his closest rival, Mr Alan John Kwadjo Kyerematen, a former Minister of Trade and Industry, are slugging it out once again, together with five other contestants. They are a former Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku; a former Minister of Information, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng.

Others are the Member of Parliament for Mampong and ranking member of the Select Committee of Environment, Science and Technology in Parliament, Mr Francis Addai-Nimoh; the Member of Parliament for Asuogyaman, Mr Kofi Osei Ameyaw; and the Second Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan, Mr Joe Ghartey.

NPP’s amended constitution

According to the party's amended constitution, whenever there are more than five persons vying for the position of a flag bearer, a Special Electoral College will be constituted to reduce the number of contestants to five.

This is the first time this constitutional provision is being implemented.

This first phase of the process of electing who leads the NPP, as flag bearer, into the 2016 election will commence at 11 polling centres in the 10 regional capitals and the headquarters in Accra. Subsequently, a super delegates congress of almost 141,000 delegates will elect one of the last five as flag bearer on October 18.

Test case for front-runners

There is evidence of high expectations within the camps of Nana Akufo-Addo and Mr Kyerematen, as the two front runners are hoping to do exceedingly well at the SEC to assure the Ghanaian electorate that they are poised for election 2016.

Nana Akufo-Addo, in particular, is hoping to secure the much-touted high percentage votes of 90 per cent and beyond at the SEC, while Mr Kyerematen has no choice but to succeed this time round in his bid to become the flag bearer and at worse, maintain his enviable second position, since any slip to third or fourth position will dent his political ambition.

The momentum of open endorsements of Nana Akufo-Addo's campaign from NPP supporters, both in the diaspora and at home, gives an impression that many delegates have resolved to give him a resounding margin of victory, and, in its wake, eclipse the 78.89 per cent margin he received from party delegates in the last historic expanded congress on Saturday August 7, 2010. Anything short of meeting this high expectation will no doubt signal that Nana Akufo-Addo is going into election 2016 without the full force of NPP supporters behind him.

The show of open support given to Nana Akufo-Addo has been tremendous, but others, including Dr Kobina Arthur Kennedy, his own campaign manager in 2012 elections, have accused him of masterminding internal wrangling of the party.

Some also think that his age, 69, is a problem. But Nana Akufo-Addo has swiftly countered these positions, declaring that he is a peacemaker, as he demonstrated by his acceptance of the Supreme Court ruling in the 2012 Election Petition, and fit and strong to carry on.

Mr Kyerematen, who garnered 19.91 per cent in that congress, has also been accused by a section of the party members of leaving the party behind in troubled times and not showing enough loyalty and dedication to party cause. Consistently, Mr Kyerematen has debunked these accusations, highlighting his positive contributions to the party’s welfare and development.

On the contrary, awaiting any reverses of fortunes by the two front runners, the other five aspirants, Dr Apraku, Mr Asamoah-Boateng, Mr Addai-Nimoh, Mr Osei Ameyaw and Mr Joe Ghartey have a lot to gain if they make a good showing at the SEC. Anyone of them who places tops or comes close to second will trigger a debate within the party and the political sphere as to who can best represent the NPP as a flag bearer for the 2016 polls.

Who emerges tops

No doubt, each of the seven aspirants has worked tirelessly, criss-crossing the length and breadth of the country with campaign messages.

Without looking through the crystal ball, many are predicting an overwhelming delegates vote for the party’s two-time presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo. But can Mr Kyerematen cause an upset to emerge tops or can the other five aspirants spring a surprise?

Appeal to aspirants

Meanwhile, a number of party members, including the Ashanti Regional Council of Elders and Mr Isaac Osei, MP for Subin, have urged the seven aspirants to use the outcome of the SEC to bring to a closure the internal processes being used to determine the party’s flag bearer for the 2016 Election.

The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Council of Elders of the party, Mr Akenten Appiah-Menkah, admitted that although the suggestion was at variance with the party’s constitution, it would create a united front necessary to battle the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the next election.

It is their contention that it would be in the overall interest of the party for the losers on their own volition to step down from any further contest and pledge their support for the winner.

It will be recalled that Mr Kyeremanten did it before in the 2007 congress and the congress subsequently acclaimed Nana Akufo-Addo as the flag bearer for the 2008 Election.

But some members of the party have strongly kicked against the suggestion, arguing that the party must simply stick to its constitution and laid-down guidelines and regulations.

All set for SEC

Meanwhile, the party’s General Secretary, Mr Kwabena Adjei Agyepong, has told the Daily Graphic that “all is set for Sunday’s Special Electoral College”.

He disclosed that the party’s leadership had held meetings with the hierarchy of the Ghana Police Service to ensure adequate security throughout the 11 voting centres.

The Ashanti Region has the largest electoral list of 133 delegates and the Upper West, the smallest, with 32 delegates.

According to Mr Agyepong, tomorrow’s nationwide exercise would be conducted by the EC in line with the party’s constitution and the dictates of the regulation and guidelines approved by the national council of the party.

Who votes at SEC

The SEC shall comprise the national council, the national executive committees, regional executive committees, national council of elders, Members of Parliament, three representatives each of a special organ of the party, past national officers, three representatives each of every branch and founder members at the time of registering the party at the EC.

Every delegate shall be entitled to one vote and where the number of aspirants approved by the vetting committee exceeds five, the SEC shall elect and submit for election by the party’s delegates the names of five aspirants as specified in Article 12 (A) (6), according to the party’s constitution. It further states that the election of the first five contestants by the SEC shall be conducted by the EC.
Source: Daily Graphic

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