"If I am given the nod as the Party's flag bearer, all party members will be treated alike, whether or not they voted for me,” Nana Akufo-Addo assured members of the New Patriotic Party through a public broadcast Tuesday that was received by millions of Ghanaians nationwide and beyond.
He also urged NPP delegates to continue the tradition of voting wisely and freely to maintain the democratic culture of the party.
His call has come to some party executives in constituencies across the country as a source of major comfort, with the 17-man race feared by some as, potentially, a keg for creating factionalism after the December 22 National Congress.
“If the NPP is to be the party of national development, it has to be the party of national unity, with the unity coming out of itself and it must eschew religious, ethnic or regional divisions. If the NPP is to promote national reconciliation, it has to promote reconciliation within itself. We must guard against factionalism,” Akufo-Addo said at his Alisa Hotel meeting with the media.
He also warned against the NPP becoming an “appendage” of Government and called for the sovereignty of the party to be respected and protected.
“The December Congress of the Party will be a unique one in the Party's history, for it will be the first time that the selection of the leader will be taking place when the Party is in power with a sitting President.”
Nana continued, “The National Council is thus working out clear modalities that will bind all actors to ensure that the Party maintains its sovereignty in the choice of leader and does not become an appendage of the Executive. This is the best way of safeguarding the Party's democratic culture and heritage.”
It took Nana Akufo-Addo 13 months to complete his first national tour of all 230 constituencies, as a consequence of his job, until 31st July, as Foreign Minister.
He, however, plans to travel the country two more times before the Congress, which takes place three days before Christmas. He is expected to start his second tour soon from the Central Region.
After his first tour, which ended August 23rd, Nana said, "I returned to my constituency, Abuakwa South, assured by the Party rank and file that come the hour, delegates of the National Congress will do what they have steadfastly done since August 1992, which is to assert their wisdom and the supreme authority granted them by the Party's constitution, and vote for the most appropriate person to lead the Party into victory in December 2008 and the nation into more victories after January 7, 2009."
Constituency officers who spoke to The Statesman have welcomed Nana Akufo-Addo's pledge that he would treat all delegates alike after the congress in order to have a united force going into the December 2008 election.
"I think its good, that's how it should be," Nicholas K Baako, Assin North Constituency Chairman told The Statesman's Nana Obeng-Danquah. The party needs someone who has the "expertise, competence, and the qualities to unite the NPP" going into the congress, he added.
Lt Col Dwamena, Abetifi Constituency Chairman concurred with his fellow Chairman, reminding the party of previous occasions when the party has quickly come together after highly competitive contests, such as what pertained in 1998, and forged ahead as one family.