All roads lead to Kasoa next Sunday where the New Patriotic Party will hold a colourful mammoth rally to officially outdoor the eighteen candidates for the presidential nomination of the party. Already, the town on the Western corridor to the capital is plastered with posters and banners of the Magnificent 18.
It is a platform organised by the governing party's national secretariat for all the presidential candidates to show off their popularity (whether hired or real). And there will be trailers-load of brass bands, coaches of both cheerleaders-on-hire and genuine supporters to reflect or exaggerate the popularity of the 18 men of ambition.
But, the actual drama will be in the five minutes allotted to each of them to address the crowd. Starting from the top left, the photographs on our front page depict the roll call of speakers, from first to last.
You may call it the ultimate dress rehearsal for the D-Day - the Saturday, December 22 National Delegates Congress.
The order of speakers was balloted at the NPP national office at Asylum Down, Accra. And, by some coincidence the favourite candidate to win the flagbearership race, Nana Akufo-Addo, is the first to speak.
He will be followed by the man who throughout the nineties was a weekly columnist of The Statesman and chairman of the North American wing of the NPP, Boakye Kyeremanteng Agyarko (See P6 for an August 21st 1994 reproduction of his 'Letter from America' column).
It is not expected to be any ordinary platform message. Each candidate will give his message to the party on why he thinks he is the most qualified person to lead the NPP to victory in 2008 general election and run the nation as Head of State.
Observers will be keenly gauging responses from the cross-candidate crowd to each candidate and his message as it is read. There have been occasions where T-shirt wearing supporters have been unable to resist the temptation of cheering another candidate more than their own sponsors.
The full order of speakers, from first to last is as follows: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Boakye Kyeremanteng Agyarko, Mike Oquaye, Kofi Konadu Apraku, Papa Owusu Ankomah, Baffour Adjei-Barwuah, Alan Kyerematen, Frimpong Boateng, Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Dan Kwaku Botwe, Felix Owusu-Adjapong, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Arthur Kobina Kennedy, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, and Kwabena Agyei Agyapong
This paper can also state authoritatively that this list of speakers will be used for the Sunday rally alone.
The Statesman has further gathered that another ballot will be done to determine the speaking line-up for the December 22 congress.
Unconfirmed sources told this paper that balloting is likely to take place on Monday, December 3.
By Nana Obeng-Danquah