All the 17 aspiring flagbearers of the New Patriotic Party have unanimously challenged Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress to substantiate accusations of thievery he has leveled against them or render an acceptable apology.
The NDC scribe at a demonstration organised by the Committee for Joint Action on December 4 was reported to have asserted that "A gang of 17 thieves were in contest for one of them to be elected as flagbearer of the NPP and that the one who emerges as winner would be the biggest thief."
At a press conference organised by representatives of all the 17 aspirants to protest in the strongest possible terms against the NDC scribe's utterance, Asamoah Gyamfi, spokesperson for the group said since Asiedu Nketiah sounded so categorical, they challenge him to provide within 48 hours the proof that he has to back his accusation.
He said "As we know he has no proof to support his reckless accusation, we are demanding that he retract his statement forthwith and offer an appropriate apology, which will be approved by us or our chosen representatives ensuring that it gets the same prominence in the media as his accusation."
He called on the National Chairman of the NDC, Kwabena Adjei and any responsible and self respecting individual in the party to call Asiedu Nketiah to order.
According to Mr Gyamfi, failure by the NDC Scribe to comply with any of the demands of the aspirants will result in a legal action. "All the aspirants have spoken to their lawyers and if Asiedu Nketiah refuses to prove or apologise we are going to initiate individual and collective legal actions against him," he said.
Explaining the rationale behind their demands, Mr Gyamfi described the 17 aspirants as men of substance and high repute. He said each of the aspirants has sweated over decades to build more than adequate resources and acquired quite enviable reputations, and therefore has need to resort to the practice of dipping their hands in the national coffers.
He said it should also be borne in mind that in addition to supportive friends and relations, each of the 17 aspirants has established contacts with individuals and institutions that willingly make substantial contributions to their campaigns.
Mr Gyamfi described Asiedu Nketiah as a man of straw who owes his training as a teacher to the generosity of Prof Kofi Abrefa Busia.
He said for such a person to flippantly leveled unsupported charge against the 17 aspirants indicates that he is injudicious, irrational or worse.
He said the NDC is still replete with men like Asiedu Nketiah who do not want to accept that politics ought to be conducted civilly.
He said the NDC is yet to learn that the insults and senseless accusations they direct against others rather diminish them instead of gaining them political advantage.
"Our society has too long tolerated such men in our political arena. It is time for us all to tell them enough is enough," Mr Gyamfi submitted.
By Gilbert Boyefio