THE NEW Patriotic Party (NPP) yesterday officially closed the sale of nomination forms for persons interested in contesting for Parliament on the party's ticket in constituencies with sitting MPs, with names of high-profile individuals popping up, making the battle for Parliament a do or die.
From all indications, the party's representation in Parliament next year would be a rather interesting one as some very experienced hands have decided to step aside to give others a chance to take a shot at the Legislature.
While party bigwigs like Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, MP for Offinso North; Yaw Osafo Maafo, MP for Oda; J.H. Mensah, MP or Sunyani East; Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, MP for Sunyani West; and Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, MP for Manhyia have decided to graciously bow out of Parliament, Dan Botwe, former party General Secretary last Friday picked nomination forms to contest for the Okere seat and former Works and Housing Minister, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang also went for forms to retain his Juaben North seat for the fourth time running.
Former Energy Minister, Professor Mike Oquaye believes he has not yet finished with Parliament and yesterday filed his nomination to retain his Dome Kwabenya seat; however, a 27-year-old female lawyer, Adjoa Safo, daughter of the legendary Apostle Kwadwo Safo of the Christo Asafo Church, has filed for the NPP and promised to give the learned Professor a good run for his money.
MP for Ablekuma South, Theresa Tagoe says she is no longer interested in returning to Parliament and her seat would be fiercely battled for by Ben Brown who had resigned his position as Regional NPP Secretary for Greater Accra, as well as Lawyer Kojo Smith, a staunch NPP activist.
Though news from the grapevine had earlier mentioned the Accra Mayor, Nii Stanley Adjiri Blankson as having an eye on the Ablekuma South seat, he had not picked nomination forms as at yesterday.
Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sheikh I.C. Quaye, though fired-up to become Ghana's next vice president, is reported to have picked nomination forms for the Ayawaso Central seat he already occupies.
Minister for Public Sector Reform, Samuel Owusu-Adjei and MP for Ewutu, has his ass on fire as a 29-year-old Alex Markins, a well-to-do businessman and CEO of Excel Group of Companies, has filed for the NPP parliamentary slot.
Deputy Education Minister, O.B. Amoah, has filed to replace Deputy Minister of Transportation, Magnus Opare-Asamoah for the Akuapem South seat.
For the Efiah-Kwesimintsim seat, Publisher of the Chronicle, Kofi Coomson is shoving it out boot for boot with Joe Baidoo Ansah, the incumbent MP and Minister for Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives.
Former National Disaster Management Organisation Boss, Isaac George Amoo and one other person have filed for the Ayawaso West seat, but the incumbent, Frema Osei Opare, Deputy Minister for Manpower Development, Youth and Employment has promised to teach them that it was not for nothing that she lectured at the University of Ghana, Legon.
One other seat that promises to have an intriguing primary is Okaikoi North constituency, currently occupied by Elizabeth Sackey; she has her own Constituency Chairman, John Owusu Afriyie and Greater Accra NPP Treasurer and Financial Secretary, Boye Laryea, both threatening to unseat her and run on the party's ticket.
COCOBOD Boss, Isaac Osei has filed for the Subin seat and the Ashanti Deputy Regional Minister, Osei Seben Antwi, has filed to replace Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, former Defence Minister at the Manhyia constituency.
The Executive Director of the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA), Joe Osei Owusu, is also challenging the incumbent MP, Joe Osei Owusu over the Bekwai seat.
Interior Minister, Kwamena Bartels and MP for Ablekuma North, who is no longer interested in his seat at the constituency, has his Constituency Chairman, Kofi Ofori, popularly called Bella and four other persons: David Asare popularly called Assembly Boy, one Joe Appiah, Dr. Adomako and K. Gyasi to slug it out.
Deputy Communications Minister, Fred Opare-Ansah and MP for Suhum might have to push aside one Brian Acheampong who have also filed for the Suhum seat; and Kofi Osei Ameyaw, Deputy Minister for Tourism and MP for Asuogyaman, seems to have an upper hand over one Paul Ansah Asare, a Senior Fellow and West African Director of GHAPOHA, who has filed to represent the NPP for the seat at the next elections.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo