President John Agyekum Kufuor has reminded New Patriotic Party flagbearer aspirants that it was important for all of them to feel the heat of the internal competition as a useful preparation for the more intense competition during the general elections.
A statement signed by Mr. Peter Mac Manu, National Chairman of NPP on the meeting the President had with the aspiring flagbearers of the party at the Castle, Osu on Oct 16, this year denied the President ever giving his support to any of the aspirants.
It said at the meeting "President Kufuor sought to allay the fears of the Aspirants by stating emphatically, his denial of his support for any of the candidates.
"He reiterated his statement made at the Asamankese rally on October 7, 2007 that the competition for the Flagbearer slot was an internal NPP affair, and emphasised that he considered it his responsibility to refrain from any manifest support for any one candidate".
The statement said the meeting was "At the instance of the Member of the Council of Elders of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and President John Agyekum Kufuor."
It said 17 out of the 19 aspirants seeking the nomination as flagbearer for the Party in the 2008 elections were present except Mr Boakye Kyeremanteng Agyarko and Mr John Kwame Kodua.
The statement said "two major concerns raised by various Aspirants were the alleged support of the President for a particular candidate in the contest, and the selection of delegates for the December 22 Congress of the Party.”
It said the meeting which lasted for about three hours was "held in an atmosphere of frankness and openness and was characterized by civility and decorum. It was preceded by a presentation on the concerns of the Aspirants by the chairman of the Committee, Mr Francis Opoku, who appealed for unity and goodwill among the Aspirants.
The statement said, "The National Chairman Mac Manu also gave a special presentation, in which he assured the Aspirants that the integrity of the electoral process would not be compromised and that the Party would strive to ensure that the electoral processes and procedures would be entirely fair and transparent.”
He said the Party had called on the Aspirants to nominate a representative each who would be briefed regularly on the processes to ensure that they were "fully conversant with the process."
The statement said the former National Chairman of the party, Mr S.A. Odoi-Sykes reminded the meeting that, "there had been other Congresses to nominate Flagbearers for elections from 1992 to the current one and that each of these had been characterised by tensions and anxieties."
It said "however, cool heads had prevailed eventually to maintain the unity and team spirit of the Party.”
Mr Odoi-Sykes advised all the aspirants to work for the unity of the Party.
According to the statement, all aspirants agreed that the NPP under President Kufuor had performed outstandingly and it was therefore incumbent on all true NPP members to ensure that the elected candidate would continue the good work of the Party and government in the next eight years.