H.E. President, Mr J.A. Kufuor, yesterday held a crucial meeting with the presidential aspirants of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the Castle, Osu.
The meeting was held behind closed doors and attended by NPP national executive members, including the National Chairman, Mr Peter Mac-Manu, the General Secretary, Nana Ohene Ntow, and the National Organiser, Lord Commey. Although there was no official statement regarding what transpired at the meeting, snippets of information the Daily Graphic gathered pointed to the fact that the key issues centred on how the aspirants could carry out their campaigns based on issues and ensure that the ruling government handed over to itself.
The President was said to have discussed the contentious issue of his support for Mr Alan Kyerematen with the aspirants, our sources said President Kufuor once again denied his support for any of the aspirants and explained that what was important to him was the election of a candidate who could build on his legacy and unify all members of the party for the major task of the 2008 electioneering so that power could be transferred from him to another NPP candidate.
Other issues discussed included the thorny issue of the composition of delegates for the December 22 Special National Delegates Congress to choose a flag bearer from the contenders for the 2008 general election.
Among the issues raised in that respect were suggestions to the effect that the nine constituency executives in the 230 constituencies across the country be taken as delegates, with one additional delegate elected and added to them to constitute the 10 delegates for each constituency. That argument was said to have been informed by the pressure of time in conducting fresh elections to choose delegates for the congress.
The other view was that fresh constituency delegate congresses be conducted throughout the 230 constituencies, using polling station chairmen as the electoral college to select the 10 constituency delegates.
The meeting was held in a free and frank atmosphere, although the candidates did not mince words in expressing their concerns about some developments during the campaign.
It is believed by inside sources that that matter would eventually have to be resolved by the National Council of the party in the run-up to the congress.
The presidential aspirants who were present included the Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama; the former Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Papa Owusu Ankomah; the former Foreign Minister, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo; the former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang; the former Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives (PSIs), Mr Alan Kyerematen; the former Minister of Communications, Professor Mike Oquaye; the former Press Secretary to the President and Presidential Spokesman, Mr Kwabena Agyepong, and Mr Boakye K. Agyarko.
Others were former Minister of Regional Integration and NEPAD, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku; the former Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, and a former Minister of Information and a former General Secretary of the NPP, Mr Dan Botwe.
The rest were the former Minister of Defence, Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor; a former Deputy Minister of the Interior, Captain Nkrabeah Effah-Darteh (retd); a former Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong; Dr Arthur Kennedy; a former Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo; Ghana's Ambassador to Japan, Dr Baffour Adjei Bawuah, and the former Chief Executive Officer of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.
At the time of filing this report, Mr Kwame Kodua was yet to attend the meeting.
The National Executive was said to have assured all the candidates that it would endeavour to abide by the code governing the process of the election of a presidential candidate.