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23.04.2007 Politics

Papa Owusu- Ankomah to resign

By Frank ADDO

Minister for Education, Science & Sports, Papa Owusu-Ankomah is all set to announce his resignation from President Kufuor's cabinet.

The resignation is intended to allow him enough time to embark on a sustained campaign ahead of the December 2007 presidential primaries. A reliable source close to the minister has also told the dailyEXPRESS that as a lawyer, taking that decisive step will be in conformity with the New Patriotic Party's constitution which mandates minister-aspirants to resign.

Currently suffering on the ground because of the late declaration of interest, and a tactful act not to go contrary to the president's caution against aspirants peaking before time, close aides say an early resignation will help his campaign efforts. Unlike other minister-aspirants, Papa Owusu Ankomah has been unable to effectively campaign.

Having been left on the mark by fellow contestants and unable to campaign effectively, his backers and aides believe that dropping out of government will allow him enough time to try a catch up game.

The resignation decision and his ability to carry it through will according to a close aide also embolden him to articulate his personal plans, vision and programs to the party delegates.

The expected resignation of Papa Owusu- Ankomah who is also MP for Sekondi will make him the first to resign among the seven cabinet ministers struggling it out to lead the NPP to the polls.

Though rumoured for a long time, the Education Minister who is heading a record 6th ministry since joining the government in 2001, officially made public his interest late month.

He has since then visited a few constituencies where dailyEXPRESS has learnt he told his audience that he is a great team player and has garnered enough governmental experience over the last six years, during which period the president has put him in charge of six different ministries.

But critics have been quick to point out that the Sekondi lawyer & legislator must not count his reshuffle to six different ministries as a plus because according to one such critic, “it is rather the case that he is unable to perform that's why the president keeps moving around... more like a management trainee yet to graduate to the next level.”

Over the last few weeks, there has been debates among legal personalities in the NPP about the party constitutional provision that requires that minister- aspirants resign from government.

While some are advocating that the constitution is respected to the letter, others are calling for a second look at the provision.

The NDC in joining the debate of a purely internal NPP matter brought in fears of an abuse of incumbency, insisting that the minister-aspirants are likely to use state resources for their campaigns.