I gave money for "Koko", not for votes –Defeated DFP aspirant
Former National Chairman of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Issaka, who contested the party's flag bearer position and lost over the weekend, has confessed that on the day of voting he actually shared money to the party's delegates.
According to him, the money was not meant to influence the delegates to vote for him but was only meant for 'koko', a popular local porridge.
He fumbled as he mounted the dais and tried to explain the rationale behind the sharing of 'koko' money to the party delegates on voting day.
“This morning when I came in; no, yesterday evening, we were here when you the delegates - some of you - came and said that the ¢25,000 given to you was inadequate and some of you did not even have places to sleep and therefore it became a crisis issue for the party.
“By the grace of God and efforts of Madam Frances Essiam, the issue of accommodation was resolved. This morning when I came, the same story was prevailing and some of you hadn't eaten since morning so what I did was that I gave 'koko' money to the Kumasi delegation and I came up; when I came up, Dr. Obed Asamoah asked me, 'they say you are distributing money' and I said 'do I have the money?' but he added that he dismissed that information outright because yesterday, money was given to some of your leaders.”
Alhaji Issaka, who spoke with much emotion and venom while reading his manifesto at the party's first National Delegates' Congress, launched verbal attacks on the Electoral Commission (EC) and the DFP's Life Patron, Dr. Obed Asamoah, accusing them of supporting the other flag bearer aspirant, Emmanuel Ansah-Antwi.
He said the EC had allowed Mr. Ansah-Antwi to speak for 10 minutes, while he was only given five minutes.
“The Electoral Commission wants to cheat me - they gave Antwi 10 minutes and I have spoken for only five minutes - because I put my watch here and I have been timing myself.
I am the chairman; I am the chairman and I know what it takes so I have my watch here; so I still have five minutes to go.” And true to his words, Alhaji Issaka continued to speak for well over five minutes until he was satisfied.
He alleged that Dr. Obed Asamoah, speaking at the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, had declared his support for Mr. Ansah-Antwi and that should he, Alhaji Issaka lose the election, the defeat would be partly blamed on Dr. Asamoah.
Alhaji Issaka said he had what it takes to win the presidential race in the 2008 elections because he was in school together with the presidential candidates of the other parties.
“I tell you that Nana Addo was my course mate at Legon; Edward Mahama was our mate at Legon; Prof. Atta Mills was one year ahead of us at Legon and Dr. Nduom was several years behind us at college. So distinguished members of the party, I can assure you that I have the capacity to challenge all the four contestants on your behalf.”
After the ballots were counted, Kwadwo Osafo Kantanka, EC Deputy Chairman in Charge of Operations and his team of officials declared Ansah-Antwi, a 48-year-old Marketing and Communications Consultant, winner with 868 votes, representing 81.2 percent as against Alhaji Issaka's 201 votes representing 18.8 percent.
When the new flag bearer, Mr. Ansah-Antwi, in his victory speech invited Alhaji Issaka to come over for a hug as a symbol of a healthy contest, the Alhaji was nowhere to be found barely 30 minutes after the competition, prompting the delegates to start shouting his name in chorus “Ei, Alhaji, Alhaji, “ Ei, Alhaji, Alhaji”, as they clapped and danced.
Dr. Obed Asamoah told Daily Guide he would not respond to any of Alhaji Issaka's allegations while DFP General Secretary, Bede Zedeng said it was true that the issue of the flag bearer had come up at the NEC meeting but the Life Patron did not declare his support for anyone.
Some NEC members told Daily Guide that what Dr. Asamoah said at the meeting was that he had no candidate to support in the race and that Issaka had felt that being the National Chairman of the party, it was an indictment on him.
The NEC sources disclosed also that at a previous meeting Alhaji Issaka had questioned Dr. Asamoah on why he was so critical of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and that he, Issaka, was seen as someone who had a soft spot for the NDC.
Daily Guide also gathered that Alhaji Issaka was perceived by the delegates as one who still had his umbilical cord tied to the NDC, thus they doubted his loyalty to the party.
The congress as well acclaimed Lawyer Kweku Baah as its National Chairman, Nii Okaija Adamafio as the First Vice Chairperson and Madam Frances Essiam as the Second National Vice Chairperson.
Mr. Bede Zedeng was maintained as the General Secretary, Mr. Osei Piesie Antoh as the National Organizer and Madam Faustina Asamoah as the National Women's Organizer.