A snap survey done by this reporter from the camp of the main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has revealed that most of the Presidential aspirants who battled it out with the 2008 Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, have overwhelmingly joined the group of leading members of the party rooting for him.
The Presidential hopefuls, this reporter gathered, took this decision by taking into consideration the acrimonious congress held last year, which resulted in some sort of infractions within the corporate whole.
Out of the seventeen aspirants who 'busted their veins' in the famous race for the presidency at their egregious congress at the University of Ghana, Legon, ten are of the view that since the main core of a political party was to win power, all efforts must be put on deck to push Nana Addo to win victory for the party in 2012.
The latest information come in the wake of open declarations by some party gurus -including Dr. Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe, Hon. I.C. Quaye, Mr. Lord Commey and one of the biggest spenders of the time and MP for Dome Kwabenya and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Mike Oquaye.
They were of the opinion that the recent general elections of which their candidate won 49.13% in the first round, as against what the former President John Agyekum Kufuor had in 1996, a little of over 36%, but was given the opportunity to win for the party in 2000, was an indication that the candidate was popular.
To them, because Nana Akufo-Addo has already been marketed across the nation and seem to have a grasp of the issues, all party adherents must relinquish their personal ambitions to the larger interest of the NPP.
The Chronicle can also report that apart from some former aspirants who openly declared their support for Akufo-Addo, some others are very cautious, because they harbour intentions of vying for some positions within the party. Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, former MP and former Minister of Finance, Dr. Arthur Kennedy, Dr. Baffour Adjei Bawuah, Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, former Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, Mr. Boakye Agyarko Kyeremanteng and Hon. Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing are now all backing the Nana Addo ticket.
Others leading the crusade include, one of the renowned Ghanaian Heart surgeons, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, Captain (rtd)) Nkrabeah Effah-Darteh and the ex-Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama. The positions of Hon. Dan Kweku Botwe, Member of Parliament for Okere in the Eastern Region, Hon. Felix Owusu-Adjapong, former Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, former Minister of Defence were not known to this paper at the time of filing this report.
This paper gathered that though Mr. Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, the former Press Secretary to then President Kufuor, openly declared his support for Nana Addo, but he is now lobbying and campaigning for Mr. John Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen. The Chronicle even learnt that he accompanyed Alan Cash on his recent tour of the Northern region. Party insiders describe Kwabena Adjapong as a pretender, for switching his support from the camp of Nana Addo to that of Alan Cash.
Though Hon. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, named as 'Action Man' during the heat of the NPP presidential elections, was not available for comment, but sources close to him stated that he was of the view that the visibility and the performance of Nana Addo in the election was enough reason to maintain him and he is seriously pulling strings behind the scenes to ensure that unity prevails at the end of the day.
“You know, the old man is one of the founding fathers of our party. He is also one of the elders of the party and he believes that the members must close their ranks, stop the internal bickering and work towards a common goal of winning power,” a source explained.
But Hon. Yaw Osaafo-Maafo and the former Vice President of the Bank of New York, Mr. Boakye Agyarko, have stated in frank terms that principles and precedents within the party must not be violated or varied.
According to them, in a separate interviews, in 1996 then candidate Mr. Kufuor had 36.6% and was put forward in 2000 where he won the elections for the NPP.
To them, with 49.13% garnered by Nana Akufo-Addo in his first national election, it was enough reason to maintain him. “There is no need to re-invent the wheel and the principles of the party. We should all unite and rally behind Nana Addo if we want power,” the two men quipped.
They appealed to all members of the party to consider unity as bedrock to winning power again.
According to the former Finance Minister, it was obvious that Nana Addo is now the most popular candidate within the party, arguing that any attempt to look for a new candidate, who has to be marketed would not help the party.
He said that comments that Nana Addo could not win the elections for the party were misplaced, because “all over the world it is difficult for an incumbent party to score a third victory for any party. For Nana Addo to garner 49.13% at the first round was an excellent performance.
Osafo-Marfo pointed out that if the party members believe in regaining power, they should endorse the 2008 candidate to enable the party win in 2012. “I believe that we should bring together our collective efforts to win the elections. It is power that we are after, and if we are after power let us join our forces to support Nana Addo.”
On his part, Boagye Agyarko told this paper during the interaction on phone yesterday, said that “to me the matter is simple. There is no point in changing the precedence set. The issue is not for my individual interest, but for the supreme interest of the party,” he said.
He said it was not in the interest of party members to have a simple rancorous congress.
According to him, the same principle was also advanced by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), by maintaining Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, to lead the party on several elections.
He argued that since the NPP as a party is a corporate establishment, the onus lies on all party members to disengage themselves from activities that would break the party and rather focus on moves to re-invigorate and unite the party.
“Even though Akufo-Addo did not win, he did well at the elections and I think that we should support him,” he said. Prof. Frimpong-Boteng was very evasive to speak on the matter. According to him, after the election, a lot of things have occupied his mind.
Arthur Kennedy on his part contended that such internal arrangements are to be discussed within the party, but not for the public consumption.
Insiders hinted to this paper that because some of the presidential hopefuls are lacing their shoes to take up executives roles within the party, they would want to play it safe by supporting the current euphoria created by the party's rank and file to maintain Nana Addo.