THREE WEEKS to the Nkoranza North by-election, and the leadership of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is still counting on the intervention of party founder, Jerry John Rawlings to select a candidate.
The NDC leadership is indeed having a hard time picking a candidate to represent the party in the Tuesday March 13, 2007 polls.
Daily Guide learnt that while the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) would be electing a candidate on Sunday, NDC was torn between picking the former Member of Parliament( MP) of the area, Mr. Francis Hayford Amoako or his son, Dr. Kofi Amoako.
Efforts being made by the party's Functional Executive Committee (FEC) to convince Dr. Amoako to contest on the party's ticket proved unsuccessful because he insisted he needed the “blessing” of his father, who was also interested in the seat.
NDC sources said Mr. Amoako, former MP for the old Nkoranza before Nkoranza North was carved out, lost to Hon Eric Amoateng in the 2004 elections.
The former MP was said to have expressed interest in contesting again and therefore opposed to his son's bid.
“How can I contest when my father is opposed to me? I certainly need his full blessing,” Dr. Kofi Amoako is reported to have said.
Daily Guide can confirm that an attempt by former President Rawlings to resolve the logjam hit a brick wall, as a meeting called to address the problem failed to materialise.
An invitation extended to Mr. Amoako at the residence of Mr Rawlings was turned down.
“Only Dr. Amoako and a few of his relatives honoured Mr. Rawlings' invitation, but as to what the conclusion of that meeting was, I can't tell,” Mr. P.K. Abonie, chairman of the party's cadres group told Daily Guide in a telephone conversation.
According to Mr. Abonie, information gathered by the party in the constituency indicated that supporters of the party preferred Dr. Amoako to his father because the medical officer was more popular and better known to majority of people in the area.
Concerns, he said, had also been raised to the effect that Mr. Amoako was unable to secure the seat for the party during the last elections in 2004.
Asked about the NDC's next line of action, he said: “We are still trying to convince Dr. Amoako to contest despite his father's opposition.”
He said nominations would soon be opened to enable Dr. Amoako file his papers.
In a related development, Mr. Alex Quartey, Greater Accra Regional deputy secretary of the NPP has said the party was well prepared to give the NDC a fierce political battle in Nkoranza: “We will shock them by retaining the Nkoranza North seat,” he said.
Pastor George Kofi Ashiadey of the NDC however reacted sharply by saying, “The Nkoranza North seat would be won by our party. I can bet my last penny on it.”
The Nkoranza North seat was recently declared vacant by the Speaker of Parliament, following Mr. Eric Amoateng's resignation.
Mr. Amoateng is currently in detention in U.S for a drug-related offence, having been arrested in November 2005 at New York.