Mr. Boakye K. Agyarko, Vice-President, Global Network Services at the Bank of New York, has broken the ice, and as an aspirant for the presidential ticket, has declared his intention to stand when the NPP holds its congress in January 2007.
In an exclusive interview with The Chronicle in his hotel room in Accra last Tuesday, Agyarko said his personal philosophy, which borders on the satisfaction derived from serving humanity and making things better for those around him, was one of the factors that urged him to take the decision to offer himself the sacrificial job.
According to the successful banker of international repute, who was born to a Krobo mother and an Ashanti father, it is the role of a leader to lift the spirit of the people, and promised to play that ideal role when blessed with the people's mandate.
He said his leadership would do all it could to heal all wounded sentiments both within and outside the party but was quick to add, however, that the circumstances of the entire people would not change overnight.
Asked whether he does not feel disadvantaged by the very fact that others who lived longer in the country might have taken a lead in the scheme of things, Agyarko said he rather thought otherwise.
“Winston Churchill once said that one week in politics is a very long time, and as such, I can do a lot between now and 2007,” he said.
On what he would do differently from the current president, he said he would restrict the size of government, not only in terms of numbers, but also on the running cost and expenditure.
“Few words are as powerful as to say 'I am sorry' or that 'I did not do it well', and if I feel I have erred somewhere, I would be the first to concede and apologize,” he stressed, and admitted that many activists in the elephant fraternity feel left behind and dejected.
He said he had passed through a lot of difficulties in life and would like to define himself more with that identity and how those difficulties eventually strengthened him physically and spiritually, rather than be labeled only by his success of today.
The Jamaase/Krobo-Odumase lad vehemently refuted allegations in certain circles that his darling party, the NPP, had become 'Akananised' or Ashanti dominated.
“What do they mean by that? Do they mean what they are saying in terms of dominance or exclusion? It is sad that people are making appearance look stronger than reality.
But whichever way they are coming from, let them check their facts and figures because there had never been any attempt to exclude any individual or ethnic group from the party,” he noted, adding that his party is a large wagon train that can take every Ghanaian on board and still have space left.
Agyarko expressed the optimism of carrying the day at the congress grounds in 2007 and hinted that he had done a lot of work on the quiet in the last three years and promised to floor any prospective aspirant who may show up, irrespective of the name and personality, when the roll is called.
He concluded that his joining the fray should not make any aspirant jittery since it is through such competitive structures that democracy would be entrenched in this country. “The real race has just started,” he assured, as he met a number of party faithful who thronged in from the Western, Central, Volta and Northern regions to welcome him home on his first day in the country.
The level of political attrition in the NPP struck a higher pitch in the past five weeks as individuals, believed to represent the camps of the Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama and Madam Hawa Yakubu, former MP for the Bawku Central constituency, fired verbal salvos in the media and leveled several unprintable accusations against each other. Both names had popped up as persons strongly making moves to join the race. They are both Muslims from the Northern part of the country.
Nana Akufo-Addo, Foreign Affairs Minister, has strangely adopted a 'wait and see attitude', even after calls from his camp to make the first move. And when Messrs Victor Newman and Gabby Otchere-Darko called on him a week ago to announce his presence in the race, he rather chose to react in the form of an open letter that seemed to hammer more on how the party and government could get out of the current economic and political woods and brighten its chances in 2008.
His 'brother', Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister for Education, is known to have a lot of scouts both home and abroad, doing PR work for him in the presidential direction, but he too has remained mum till today. Both are Akyems from the Eastern region.
Other names still faintly on the radar screen at the last check are Allan Kyeremanteng, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, Nana Konadu Apraku, J.H. Mensah, Dan Kwaku Botwe and Dr. Addo Kufuor, all of them ministers in the current government.
Now that Agyarko has broken the ice, political observers think the floodgates have been opened to push the NPP game into another gear, and possibly tilt the scale in favour of the luckiest.