The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sheikh I.C.Quaye has stated that the ever-increasing number of NPP presidential aspirants does not mean the party is full of over-ambitious people, “but it's part of the party's tradition”.
Speaking to the ADM at his residence when he feted this year's best farmers, the Minister said, since the days of the UP, the party's topmost position, that of “Leader” had been fiercely contested for by lots of people any time the need arose.
This, he said has had a strong positive impact on the party and shows how peoples' views are respected.
He gave the example of 1992, when lot of high profile party members contested with the late Prof. Adu Boahen and explained: “Before the congress, a lot of in-fighting went on, but after, all of them pulled their sleeves and joined hands with Adu Boahen. We were united as a family”.
When asked whether that did not contribute to the party losing the General Elections thereafter, he responded swiftly “no, they stole it…Mr. Pharaoh (see below) and his people stole it”.
He said “Pharaoh” rigged the elections because the NPP did not have enough polling station officers to man the various polling stations, which he noted “is critical for every party which wants to win elections”.
Citing 1998, he said President Kufuor vied with other people to contest the party's leadership position.
“In the end, Kufuor won and they all supported him, you can see most of those aspirants in government now”, he said almost triumphantly. In the NPP, he said, “we believe in the magnanimity of our democracy…I can envisage more people joining the race, because that is our tradition and it's part of us”.
With the suggestion that the bickering and dirty politics that are beginning to characterize the relationship between some aspirants could spell dangers for the party, Sheikh I.C Quaye said he had not heard nor seen any of such dirty politics but “this is not the first time…1992 was even worse, it was severe”.
The unity that often dawns after the congresses, he said is because “before every congress, we the leaders make the aspirants sign an agreement that they would support anyone who wins…And this coming congress won't be an exception”.
The Sheikh, considered one of the firebrand” leaders of the NPP, called for an end to the debate on whether the party should hold an early congress or not. “This is not an issue to debate” he told ADM, “because it makes it look like we do not have a constitution, but we have…as a democratic party we have to follow what date and time that our constitution specifies”. He said a party could market a candidate at anytime if the party knows that it is strong.
Among the host of the party's presidential aspirants, I.C Quaye's very idiosyncractic answer to the question of which of them can succeed President Kufuor, he said is President Kufuor himself.
“They are all capable of succeeding Kufuor, but, you know am a top man and what I say holds water… I have always liked 'sonfio-adede fio' - 'son' is the old guy and 'adede fio' is the youth”. Hesitantly, he added, “you blend the old and the youth and you succeed”.
He disagreed with the notion that the NPP is getting complacent. “No society would disregard a party or government that seeks its welfare… No society, that's why people think we are complacent, except …honestly, someone is seeking your welfare and you dislike him, I don't know how you would describe such people”.
He said though the NPP would not be in power forever, as it is natural for parties to rise and fall, it did not also mean that the NDC could come back to power. “A new party could emerge”, he said.
He explained in a biblical phrase: “The NDC is like Pharaoh. When God sent Moses to redeem his people, he prevented them. God could have killed him instantly, but he gave him more years. But when the time came, he could not resist…and God's people were set free… Do you think God would allow his people to go back to Pharaoh even if Pharaoh's people claim they have repented, but the Pharaoh himself has not?”
When asked who the Pharaoh was, he said “anyone in Ghana knows who Pharaoh is, so if you don't know, then you don't know about the Red Sea, which Pharaoh tried to cross but couldn't”.
When asked why his government has not tried this Pharaoh, if he had become such a nuisance to the society as he claims I.C Quaye said “Moses left Pharaoh to God”.
I.C's conclusion about his party is that it is still in a rebuilding process and as such would go through a lot of difficult times, but even with that notwithstanding, he has the strongest belief that “an NPP government would take the mantle from an NPP government to continue the building process…Like Aaron took over from Moses”.
With a cryptic turn of phrase, he declared: “I am happy today, because these days there are no free monies again…unlike the past, the ghost names have been removed…People are better off now than ever as a result of the capitation grant and the school feeding policies which now keep money in the pockets of parents. People insult as but we don't beat them.”