When he left office as the National Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) on the night of July 16, 2022, Frederick Worsemao Armah Blay – aka Freddie Blay – had been managing the institutional affairs of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo ideological and political establishment for some 8 unbroken years. Now, that is quite a long time in the national political arena. He had initially run for the post of First-Deputy National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, having crossed over from the Nkrumah-inspired rump-Convention People’s Party (r-CPP), and handily clinched victory the first time around. He would shortly be, in retrospect, auspiciously elevated to the mega-post of substantive National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, when it soon became clear that The Afoko Gang – comprised of Messrs. Paul Awentami Afoko, Kwabena Agyei Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe, among several others – had been strategically schemed into the cardinal administrative positions of National Chairman, General-Secretary and Second-Deputy National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, in the order in which their names appear above, with the express mission and purpose of effectively torpedoing the presidential ambitions of Candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as well as to ensure that the much-rumored cabal of the Asante Mafia would, once again, take complete possession of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo establishment with inimitable finesse.
In other words, the fundamental breastwork had been laid for the succession of the John “European Airbus Payola” Dramani Mahama-led faux social-democratic establishment of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in much the same way that a lame-duck and officially departing President John “Kofi Diawuo” Agyekum-Kufuor is widely alleged to have deftly schemed to have the late President John Evans Atta “Woyome” Mills succeed him at his Indian-government funded newly constructed Jubilee House. In short, what the preceding recollection of the details of the circumstances surrounding the appointment of Chairman Freddie Blay by the membership of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the New Patriotic Party indisputably means is that then twice-elected Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party and the newly appointed National Chairman of the party had not been expected to succeed by any stretch of the imagination. In reality, the glaring albeit strategically muted fact of the matter was that having crossed over from the Nkrumah-inspired and even more fractious rump-Convention People’s Party, Blay had literally graduated with flying colors from the proverbial school of hard knocks, which effectively made him one hell of a tough nut to crack. He had already served thrice on the coveted ticket of the rump-CPP in Ghana’s National Assembly, under what might be aptly termed as a gentlemen’s agreement between the Nkrumah-inspired political establishment and the then-ruling Agyekum-Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party.
It was obviously an arrangement that was geared towards the highly unlikely possibility of ensuring the imminent and ultimate “democratic dissolution” and the definitive proscription of the extortionate Chairman Jeremiah “Jerry” John Rawlings-founded veritable revolutionary junta of the faux-civilianized, terror-sponsoring establishment of the National Democratic Congress, a rather far-fetched but, nevertheless, progressive strategic gambit that, paradoxically, was also expected to almost exclusively benefit the Kufuor-Mpiani-Kyerematen Faction of the New Patriotic Party. You see, in 2008, Candidate Akufo-Addo was fiercely fighting on two battlefronts, namely, the then Atta-Mills-led main opposition National Democratic Congress, on the one hand, and the Kufuor-Mpiani-Kyerematen Faction of the New Patriotic Party. That Candidate Akufo-Addo lost that year’s Presidential Election, literally, by the skin of his teeth was in of itself, a smashingly great accomplishment, but it would also become an indelible and an ineradicable scar on the conscience of the party’s leadership that nearly two years into the second term of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has yet to heel.
The festering wound under this scar would be reopened but significantly minimized in scope about the time that Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, late, succeeded to the National Chairmanship of the New Patriotic Party, only to be further aggravated by the accession of the Afoko-Agyepong-Crabbe Gang. As of this writing, it was still decidedly a tossup. Now, what is remarkable here is the fact that Freddie Blay was able to deliver the two most convincing Presidential-Election Victories for the party under the bleakest of internecine circumstances. The nephew of the legendary R S Blay, of United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) fame, was able to deliver these watershed moments of triumph because he had at his disposal the requisite formidable media network establishment whose single most prominent mouthpiece was the well respected and qualitatively edited Daily Guide newspaper. Now, it is highly unlikely that the post-Blay staff at the Kokomlemle Headquarters of the New Patriotic Party would be able to any significantly raise the bar or level and electoral reach and thrust so laudably and magnificently attained by the Blay Administration.
And yes, there was a Blay Administration in much the same way that one can speak of the Kufuor and Akufo-Addo Administrations with absolutely no qualms or uncertainty. On the other hand, one cannot be very certain of any practically significant talk of a Stephen Ayensu Ntim or an Ntim Administration, in much the same manner or breath as one can proudly and confidently talk about or even boast about the Blay Administration. But, of course, even as the legendary and immortalized Nigerian novelist, thinker and educator, Prof. Chinua Achebe once titled one of his most significant collection of essays, it is still “Morning Yet on Creation Day.” In short, it may very well be still much too early in the game to decide whither NPP.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
August 13, 2022
E-mail: [email protected]