Fresh Polls For Okaikoi South
Chaos erupted among members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Okaikoi South yesterday, following reports that the party had decided to conduct fresh parliamentary primaries for the constituency.
Some party members from the constituency were reported to have staged a brief protest at the party headquarters, issuing threats and pushing clenched fists skywards to register their dissatisfaction at the decision.
The resolution to hold fresh elections was reached after the NPP National Executive Committee declared 'null and void' the April primaries that elected Ahmed Arthur, a former assembly man for the area, as the party's Parliamentary Candidate for the 2012 elections.
Yesterday's decision directly contradicts an earlier verdict agreed upon by the NPP Appeals Committee that the Okaikoi South parliamentary primaries went through due procedure and that Ahmed Arthur genuinely and legally won the elections and shall therefore be recognized and accepted as the party's parliamentary candidate.
'The NEC decision was to cancel the whole elections and hold a fresh one. No one has been disqualified or asked not to contest because the whole thing would start from the scratch.
The constituency would open fresh nominations, organize fresh vetting for persons who pick forms and then set a new date for voting. Everything would be looked at; from the voter's album to who qualifies to be in the Electoral College,' DAILY GUIDE gathered from a source at the party headquarters yesterday.
Vicky Bright, a former deputy minister at the Presidency in the erstwhile Kufuor administration, lost the Okaikoi South primaries by 12 votes but rejected the results and alleged that the bona fide members of the Electoral College were disenfranchised at the primaries and that the photo album used at the primaries was a forged one.
The NPP Appeals Committee, tasked to handle such petitions and chaired by former National Chairman Odoi Sykes, after a thorough and independent investigation into the issues raised by Vicky Bright, threw out her petition.
The committee concluded that her allegations were untrue because according to its findings, no delegate was prevented from voting at the said primaries and the voters' register that was used was a genuine one compiled by the constituency executive through the laid down procedures agreed on by the party.
'It was the same voters' register that the constituency gave to the national office that was used on that day. The national office, after receiving the register, gave it to the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission only rearranged the names in alphabetical order but neither removed nor added any name and that was what was used at the primaries,' a member of the Appeals Committee told DAILY GUIDE .
Vicky Bright would however have none of that and sent her petition to the party's national officers and higher bodies.
The Okaikoi South Constituency has relatively remained a 'safe seat' for the NPP but the ongoing fracas has the potential of making the party lose the seat.
Already, there are allegations and counter allegations of national officers taking biased positions on particular candidates while scheming to the disadvantage of others.
The NPP, during the 2008 general elections, lost 18 significant parliamentary seats due to reasons that have been largely attributed to the situation currently playing out at Okaikoi South.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo