A reported declaration of support for the presidential ambitions of Foreign Affairs Minister, Nana Akufo Addo, by the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Mr. Owusu Amankwa, is said to have raised eyebrows among party big men in the region.
The report about the Chairman's declaration of support for the Minister was carried by The Chronicle paper last week, when he was said to have pointed out that Nana Addo had been a good apprentice to the president and for that matter deserved to be given the nod as the next flagbearer of the party for the 2008 polls.
Chronicle's political sources in the regional capital Kumasi, say the report surprised many and prompted other regional executives and key members of the party to make quick calls to the regional Chairman to question him over why he should openly declare support for one aspirant at this time.
The alleged open declaration of support by the Chairman is also said to have nearly caused some animosity and mistrust at the top level of the party in the region, with some threatening to also go public with the names of their preferred candidates.
Subsequently, regional executives of the party congregated in the house of the regional party Chairman last Sunday, to seek answers from him on why he should declare open support for a candidate as carried by the paper and confirmed by other party men who had attended the meeting held with some top members of Friends of Nana Akufo Addo (FONAA) the unofficial campaign group of the Foreign Minister.
The FONAA members, who included Mr. Nich Adi Darko, Nana Eddie Ankamah, former Eastern Regional Chairman of the party and Mr. Amfo Kwakye, Special Assistant to the Minister, had visited the region recently to interact with some selected constituency executives in the region, to prepare the grounds for a formal visit later this month by Nana Addo, who is yet to visit the region as part of his campaign for the presidential ticket of the party.
The meeting was held in the house of the party chairman instead of the party's office because of the poor health conditions of the chairman, who has since been flown to the United States for medical treatment.
At the meeting in Mr. Amankwah's house, which was attended by Mr. Sam Cudjoe, Regional Secretary; Dr. Asubonten, Regional 2nd Vice Chairman; Messrs Ben Abdalla, Abed Ata Annor and Kwesi Kankam, Regional Organizer, Vice Secretary and Youth Organizer respectively, the Chairman is said to have flatly denied declaring support for the Foreign Minister.
When contacted yesterday, the regional Vice Secretary confirmed the holding of a meeting with the Chairman but would not disclose to the paper what happened at the meeting.
For his part, the Regional Secretary told the paper yesterday that the content of the speech by the regional Chairman during the meeting with the top FONAA members, which was taken to mean a declaration of support for the Minister, was virtually the same message that he normally gave to all aspirants who have been coming to the region to campaign.
Mr. Cudjoe said he was present at the meeting with the FONAA members and that the regional Chairman was only telling the Minister's emissaries that Nana Addo was also fully qualified to contest for the flagbearership position of the party because he was a known figure in the party.
"The Chairman did not, and could not have openly declared support for him even if he is his preferred candidate. He might have said something that could be interpreted to mean him having declared support for Akufo Addo, but he did not declare support for him as far as I am concerned," Mr. Cudjoe said.
Culled from The Chronicle