The race for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearership will enter a new phase next month, as some high profile Cabinet ministers prepare to walk out on their plum jobs to concentrate on their presidential bids.
DAILY GUIDE can authoritatively reveal that one of the ministers has his resignation letter ready, to be delivered to President John Agyekum Kufuor.
The minister, who only publicly announced his intention a couple of weeks ago, during a meeting with his constituents, declined to comment when DAILY GUIDE contacted him yesterday.
“Hon, you owe me an interview; when should I come for it?”
“Let's make it next month,” he indicated, in apparent reference to the time he intends quitting government.
Pushed to speak about his intended resignation, he said, “No comment until the President has been adequately informed.”
“I have not told you anything,” he quipped.
The intended resignation by the young minister who holds a key portfolio, with a budget running into several millions of cedis, DAILY GUIDE learnt, would open the floodgates for other ministers to follow suit, ahead of the opening of nominations for NPP's flagbearership race in September.
While some ministers are desirous of stepping down to concentrate on their presidential bids, others are lobbying party gurus to amend part of the NPP constitution, which asks office holders including ministers and DCEs to resign their positions before filing their nominations.
Lobby groups have argued that mass resignation of ministerial aspirants would rob the administration of experienced hands, which would not be in the interest of the party, as it goes into election next year.
However, DAILY GUIDE learnt that when the issue was raised at party executive meeting last week, it was shot down.
A member of the Legal and Constitutional Committee of NPP, Hon O.B. Amoah was emphatic that the party would not repeal the constitution, at least before the December congress to elect a flagbearer.
According to him, nobody has made proposals to the committee, asking party members to discard the speculations.
At least no fewer than 10 Cabinet ministers have publicly declared their intentions to contest the party's flagbearership slot.
Some of the aspirants are, Vice President Aliu Mahama; Dan Kwaku Botwe, former party General Secretary; Yaw Osafo Maafo, former Minister of Education; Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, former Deputy Minister of the Interior; Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations; and Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, former Minister of Regional Integration and NEPAD.
Also in the race are, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Foreign Affairs Minister; Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry; 'Osiadan' Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing; Prof Mike Oquaye, Minister of Communications; Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Minister of Education, Science and Sports; and Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Minister of Defence.
The rest are, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, CEO of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital; Dr. Kobina Arthur Kennedy, a medical practitioner; Boakye Agyarko, immediate past vice president of the Bank of New York and Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, former press secretary to the President.
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that Lawyer Pastor Kwame Kodua, who has contested all the party's presidential primaries, except the last election that returned President Kufuor to the Castle for his second term, is ready to step into the race.
The Kumasi-based lawyer has not been heard of since the party came to power, until recently.
One of the ministers was reportedly asked to resign when he informed the Number One Citizen about his presidential ambition.
Sources said the minister, who played a leading role in NPP's two electoral victories, told friends that he would match any of the aspirants “boot for boot and cash for cash”.
Some of the aspirants have started counting their costs with the campaign taking its toll on their pockets.
A particular minister was reported to have spent over ¢6 billion as at December 2006, with the campaign affecting his mercantile business.
The minister, who has close contacts with the 'power house', has however indicated that he would not resign.