DAYS before the Central Committee of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) could sit down to decide on the fate of the beleaguered 1st Speaker and Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ellembele Constituency, Hon. Freddie Blay, to stand on the ticket of the party, his boys in the western regional executive had planned to scuttle the party, but the Central Committee, on Tuesday night, cleared an agitated Freddie Blay to contest on the party's ticket, at a meeting attended by national executives of the party.
If the Central Committee had failed to endorse their choice from standing in the name of the CPP for the fourth consecutive term, they would have scuttled the Central Committee's plans.
The Regional Executive of the CPP, at an emergency press conference held on Tuesday, resolved to throw the party's constitution to the dogs, and endorse the candidature of the 1st Speaker to contest on the ticket of the party.
The executives, however, conceded that, “Though we know that we don't have the mandate and power to endorse Freddie Blay, we are basing our argument on the Court ruling that cleared Hon. Blay, which recognises the party's elected parliamentary candidate.
“We don't want to loose the seat, but we are basing our argument on a Court ruling, and believe that Freddie Blay has every right to file his nomination, and we will back him.”
For that reason, “we are going to back him and endorse his candidature, to pick nomination forms from the Electoral Commission to contest on the ticket of the CPP.”
This position taken by the regional executives follows apprehension visibly expressed by the executives, at a press conference, that the Central Committee (CC) of the party might eventually rule against the Ellembele legislator, to stand on the ticket of the party as its aspiring parliamentary candidate for the Ellembele constituency for the fourth term.
Indications were that Freddie Blay might contest the Ellembele seat as an independent candidate, even though he was shaken at the prospect of contesting as an independent in an area, where the name the late Osagyefo still counted.
The press briefing by the regional executives followed the CPP's decision to de-list the name of Freddie Blay from the list of the party's parliamentary aspirants in the region, thereby preventing him from picking his nomination forms from the Electoral Commission (EC).
Addressing the media after the executives had convened a thirty-minute meeting to declare their position on the 'brouhaha', the Regional Secretary of the party, Mr. Kofi Alozuke, told the media that they (executives) of the party did not understand why the national executives should exclude the name of the Ellembele man from the list of other aspirants picking their nomination forms from the EC.
As a result, according to the Secretary who was flanked by the other executives of the party, the executives resolved to withhold the nomination forms of the approved aspirants to its chest for good, until their candidates' name was endorsed by the CPP to stand.
“We are prepared to withhold for good, and not to give the nomination forms of the other aspirants out, till Freddie Blay's own is released,” Secretary Alozuke told the media.
“But this is disrespect to the CPP directive to give the confirmation forms to the approved parliamentary aspirants of the party?” asked this reporter.
But Secretary Alozuke responded, “Sometimes when persuasion fails, little force must be replied. This is just a tentative calculation we are making.” What is more, the executives have frozen all political activities in the region, until the final determination of Freddie Blay's raging impasse with the Central Committee of the party.
As a result, a rally which was to be held in the Sekondi-Takoradi, this week Saturday, was postponed until the Central Committee rescinded its decision.
Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, the flagbearer, who had been ambushed by Freddie Blay's paper, the Daily Guide, shrugged off the attacks, and was moved by Blay's grovelling and exercised magnanimity to put in a word for him.
But, that was not before the committee had exacted an undertaking from Blay, to show respect for the party and its flagbearer.
The Central Committee members include Mr. Mike Eghan, Hajia Hamdatta, (National Organizer), Mr. Kwabena Bomfe, National Youth Organiser, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson (Chairman of Manifesto Committee), Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, Finance Committee Chairman, Madam Evelyn Lamisi and Mr. K. T. Dadzie.
Mr. Greenstreet told The Chronicle last night, that the party had not even thought about taking positions in the event of a run off.
He said they were on their on their own now, after a series of alliances with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) beginning with Mr. Arkaah in 1992, in a great alliance, with Professor George Hagan in 2000, when they went with the NPP, with Aggudey in 2004, they went in for a skirt and blouse informal arrangement.
“This year, we are on our own. CPP is a sitting duck for any suitor with the appropriate words to woo.”
Their strength at the polls, after the late Kojo Botsio and Kojo Tsikata had mortgaged the party to the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the CPP remains to be tested on their own in the presidency, and also with the number of parliamentary seats that the party hopes to garner.
NDUOM'S HIGH RATINGS
While Dr. Nduom is standing very firm on his own steam in the polls commissioned by the three major parties, the parliamentary race appears to be lopsided, with the CPP hoping to triumph in more areas in the Western Region than they would actually pull, and Nduom careful not to push the Freddie case ticket too far, in the event that the CPP ends up with only a pair of parliamentary seats by end of 2008.
Even party hawk, Ivor Greenstreeet, was conciliatory when he spoke to Joy FM yesterday.
The son-in-law of former Vice President Ekow Nkensen Arkaah (deceased), said they had obtained assurances from Freddie Blay that he would be loyal to the CPP all the way, though there is enough evidence to show that Blay is more interested in how he will win the seat on the ticket of the CPP, than any demonstration of loyalty to the party.
There was a surfeit of evidence to show Freddie had toiled for the party in halcyon days when the going was tough, and he did not mince words in his emotional meeting with the Central Committee.
With a key member of the United Renaissance Party, Mr. Kofi Wayo, revealing reports of alliance talks on the way, the direction of which horse the CPP would hitch to in the event of a run-off, suddenly became alight with possibilities.
With the CPP categorically excluded from the coalition of opposition parties, led by the NDC, the smart money is on the CPP going to the party which would butter their bread.
Sources close to Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom and Mr. Mike Eghan, have both made it clear that they will go with the party that would offer the party the best deal.
The Chronicle sources close to Dr. Nduom suggested that his partymen should be looking forward to an arrangement that would offer them plenty of room to maneuver.
Should the NDC offer them the best deal, it would not be difficult for them to go along.
With the Central Committee loaded with pro-NDC sentiments, and only the leader and Freddie Blay (who is not a member of the Central Committee) partial to the NPP, it looks like the two leading parties would now have to win on the first round - with fifty plus 1 per cent.
NDC'S CONSTANT 44 PER CENT
The NPP Campaign Manager, Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, continues to whip up the NPP to work hard to avoid a run-off, by acknowledging that the opposition NDC had continuously maintained a 44 per cent of the popular votes, and need a magical five per cent to force a run off.
There is one thing that seems to stand in the way – the large incidence of independent candidates appearing on the horizon, usually after a defeat at the primaries, or the rare case of imposed candidates.
That is sapping the strength of the party, and it appears the leadership of the party is imposing candidates, regardless of what the electorate like - the case of Abakah in Shama and Coomson in Effia-Kwesimintsim, both in the Western Region, and Wereko-Brobbey in Jukwa.
With Paa Kwesi Nduom billed to cream up to 11 per cent of the votes, according to the Daily Dispatch's Ben Ephson, and the NPP's own polls, giving Nduom no more than five per cent, with the number set to whittle to 3 per cent by end of December, no one is certain which way the election would go, but there is a consensus that it was time to build alliances, just in case.
Will the NPP bank on Freddie going with the NPP to further Blay's personal interests, or will they risk losing out on sealing a deal with a wild card CPP, and leave them to be seduced by the NDC? In the next few weeks, the calculus of this charged election will pan out for all to see.