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29.01.2009 Politics

Mills Dumps Spio

By Daily Guide
Mills Dumps Spio

Dr. Spio-Garbrah President John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills, the man with a dozen positive accolades, may be a God-fearing man, humble, and perhaps incorruptible, but when it comes to demonstrating the rare trait of a forgiving spirit, the law professor and staunch Christian may be found wanting.

After taking the political landscape by storm last Tuesday night with the final list of his ministerial nominations, the President has indeed indicated that he could be quite vindictive when he wishes to be.

DAILY GUIDE has been closely monitoring the ministerial appointments in the past three weeks and observed that the committee responsible for the nominations at the presidency is leaving no room to accommodate even party members who were critical of the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer in the run-up to the December 2008 general elections.

It also came to light that even though the ruling party prides itself in following the governing style of President Barack Obama of the US, the situation in Ghana is a far-cry from what pertains in America.

While Obama picked his closest contestant in the Republican race, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, Ghana's President Mills saw nothing good in Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Eddie Annan, and Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, the three personalities who contested the presidential primaries with him, and went ahead to financially support his campaign.

According to DAILY GUIDE's close observations, two prominent party personalities whose rejection could be as a result of existing bad blood, were Dr. Spio-Garbrah, CEO of the London-based Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) and former Minister for Education in the Jerry Rawlings era, and Hon. Michael Teye Nyaunu, four-time MP for Lower Manya Krobo constituency and member of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Both Spio and Nyaunu had in the heat of the political race touched the raw nerves of the professor by openly calling on the party to present a more physically fit presidential candidate. And even though they were expressing their personal opinions, the issue seemed to have hit the candidate below the belt.

As at the time of going to press yesterday, President Mills had reportedly closed his ministerial appointments without the two, even though some party faithful had said they were qualified to be nominated for appointments, particularly Spio, who had played a role in bringing back the NDC to power.

Spio-Garbrah, according to party sources, was touted for the post of Minister of Local Government and Rural Development or Foreign Affairs, while Nyaunu was reportedly lobbying to become the Eastern Region Minister.

Interestingly, the dreams of the two ministerial hopefuls were shattered when the final list of 35 nominations was released on Tuesday night, ostensibly due to the 'actions' ahead of the elections.

In the case of Spio, DAILY GUIDE learnt that he has not been forgiven for opening his mouth too wide in raising the issue of Mills' health when he said he was the youngest and most active of the four NDC aspirants.

He was also suspected to be behind some text-message 'wahala' as far back as October 2006, two months before the NDC primaries.

Hon. Nyaunu added insult to injury when on 1st March 2008 he called for an emergency congress to replace the professor because he feared the latter would not be able to finish the race for health reasons.

It also came to light that some regional appointments in the north were also withdrawn because members of the Azorka team in Tamale claimed they too had some problems with the initial list.

Prof. Mills had penciled down Nasamu Asabigi, former deputy Northern Regional Minister in the erstwhile Jerry Rawlings NDC administration as substantive Regional Minister before the dreaded Azorka boys, headed by Sofo Azorka, stormed Accra to protest against the choice of Asabigi.

Kofi Attor, former MP for Ho Central, also lost out in the power game to become the Volta Regional Minister just as Captain George Nfodjo, MP for the area, who lobbied to become the successor of Kofi Dzamesi.  

President Mills' final list is as follows: Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance; Mrs. Zita Okaikwei, Minister of Information; Lt Gen. Rtd. J. H. Smith, Minister of Defence; Moses Asaga, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing; Joe Gidisu, Minister of Roads and Highways; Alhaji Muntaka Mubarrak Muhammed, Minister of Youth and Sports; Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration; Dr. George Yankey, Minister of Health; Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture; Stephen Kwao Amoanor, Minister of Employment and Social Welfare; Alexander Asuom Ahinsa, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture; Cletus Avoka, Minister of the Interior; Joseph Yela Kyere, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development; Mrs. Huliti Alhassan, Minister at the Presidency; and Azong Alhassan, Minister at the Presidency.

Earlier nominees were Mike Hammah, Minister of Transport; Alex Tetteh-Enyo, Minister of Education; Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry; Dr. Oteng Adjei, Minister of Energy; Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General; Ms. Akua Dansua, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs; Mrs. Juliana Azumah Mensah, Minister of Tourism; Collins Dauda, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources; Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications; and Ms. Sherry Ayitey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology.

The full list of nominated regional ministers is as follows: Joseph Amenowode, Volta; Mark Wayongo, Upper East; S.S. Nanyina, Northern; Paul Evans-Aidoo, Western; Mahmood Khalid, Upper West; Nyamekye Marfo, Brong Ahafo; Nii Armah Ashitey, Greater Accra; Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Eastern; Ms. Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Central; and Kofi Opoku Manu (former Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance), Ashanti.

Mahama Ayariga, Presidential Spokesperson has confirmed the nominations are over and said only deputy Ministers are left to be nominated.   

Unconfirmed reports say Kwabena Dufuor, a known Nkrumaist and a Convention People's Party (CPP) presidential hopeful, was among those who bankrolled the Mills campaign.

It is however not clear whether he gave the same financial backing to Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom as well as the New Patriotic Party (NPP) of which he is alleged to be a founding member.

By Bennett Akuaku