Mr. Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, Tourism and Diasporan Relations Minister and a contender for the presidential candidature of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has, in a four page document to all party members, cautioned about potential dangers for the party in the 2008 elections should things not be done well.
The Minister also unveiled his campaign message to potential party delegates and told them what he seeks to do if given the mandate to lead the nation.
“We must not assume that our flagbearer will automatically become President of Ghana. In 2004, after only one term, while we were still in our 'honeymoon' period, with an incumbent President and better resourced than we had ever been, we still got only 52.5% of the presidential vote and 51.5 % of the Parliamentary vote," he pointed out in his letter.
"In 2008, we will have a new candidate; we will not be on 'honeymoon'. Our honeymoon is over and realistically, things are going to get tougher for us,” he warned.
In the letter written and signed by the Minister, he announced his intention to contest for the party's flagbearership and outlined what he thought delegates should look out for in choosing the presidential candidate of the party, under three main themes: 'Vote for president of Ghana not President of NPP', 'Vote a president who will build a more prosperous Ghana and someone who will professionalize and institutionalize the NPP'.
He outlined why he was the right candidate in the context of the three points stated, highlighting his potential credentials to all the party men via the letter that The Chronicle says it obtained from close sources to the Minister.
His campaign slogan, as contained in and at the bottom of all the pages of his letter, will be, "He did it for JAK-He can do it for JAKE." He seeks to roll on his role as two-term campaign manager of President Kufuor in the 2000 and 2004 elections, his chairmanship of the Greater Accra wing of the NPP for three terms and his other roles for the Danquah-Busia Tradition starting from the days of Victor Owusu, as the major weapons for his bid.
In the letter to the party members across the country, Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey indicated that despite the grumbling and complaints among the party members, he has what it takes to galvanize the members and reach the floating voters.
The Minister, who is torn between resigning from his ministerial portfolio to concentrate on his ambition and staying on to ensure that the incumbent President, Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor leaves a better legacy for the nation, said, "You know that I can excite and galvanize our people and get them to vote again."
"You know that my appeal to voters is not limited to any tribe or area of this country. I have strong appeal everywhere to men and women, young and old. I will be able to hold our strongholds and reach areas that are not normally NPP," Jake further stated.
The Minister, who identified himself in the letter as the founder of the Nasara Club, which he described as a strategic group to win votes in the Zongo Communities, noted that Mr. Kufuor had managed to stop the rot and built a platform which the next President must be able to build on.
He observed that the major problem confronting the nation was unemployment because thousands of people pass out of various educational institutions every year without getting jobs. "We must generate jobs for our youth. This is the greatest challenge facing our nation. These are young people who will not go back to the farms. Indeed, if we are successful in modernizing agriculture, fewer and fewer people will be needed on the farms of Ghana," he emphasized.
Jake admonished delegates to elect a President who thinks, as he put it, "outside the box" and someone with a productive private sector experience to be able to reform and restructure the economy. 'I know how to devise and implement a winning strategy. I did for JAK and can do it for JAKE," he boasted.
Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, who has had a book captioned, "The Strategist," written on him by one Mr. John Westernwood which would be launched before the end of this month, said, when given the chance, he would professionalise and institutionalize the NPP.
According to him, after six years in office, the party needs to continue to build itself into the natural party of governance and entrench the NPP's vision of Ghana as being "A Property Owning Democracy."
He stressed that, "We need to have the party and government working ever more closely together. We need to professionalise the party and make it a viable institution and not just a club."
He urged all 'kukrudites', as he preferred to call his fellow party men and women, who are charged with the responsibility to select "our presidential candidate, to enter congress determined to do what is right."
"His first commandment was, 'Let there be Light', so let us do His work and choose a Light that will lead us from the darkness of poverty into the richness of his promise to Ghana and Ghanaians."
The Minister, who returned from Volta Region over the weekend, believes that for the NPP to win the 2008 elections, there was the need to look for a man with a winnable track record like him.
In the soon to be launched book, he catalogued his concerns over his inability to speak any Ghanaian language, his vision for the nation, his political activities and his educational background, among others.
On page 93 of the book, under the caption, 'President in the making," Jake says, "You cannot be a respected capitalist whilst you are still a beggar nation. We must produce what we consume and produce more if we want to consume more," adding that, "I believe I can make life for my people better."
Culled from The Chronicle