Battle for Odododiodio: NDC, NPP Chase Mankata's Son
Information reaching The Chronicle indicate that, the two major political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) are on the heels of the eldest son of the late Samuel Ayikwei Mankata, Member of Parliament (MP) for the Odododiodoo Constituency, in the Greater Accra Region, to field in the by-election slated for Tuesday, August 30th.
According to the report though NPP supporters are rooting for a 'local boy', sections of the party leaders are hatching plans to snatch Mr. Nii Ayi Mankata, the eldest son of the late MP from the hands of the NDC.
This paper can report that the quest of the NDC supporters for Nii Ayi Mankata, who currently works at the sub-metro of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to contest on the party's ticket, came into a climax when the former President and Founder of the NDC, Jerry John Rawlings accompanied by Hon. E.T. Mensah, MP for Ningo Prampram visited the bereaved family last Tuesday.
The party supporters, in a bid to advance their desire for Nii Ayi's candidature, put their request through the Founder, and impressed upon him to ensure that Nii Ayi led the party to victory in the slated by-election.
Contrary to the demand of the supporters, Nii Ayi, was reported to have expressed fear to accepting the request of the masses in the constituency, based on suspicion that his late father was spiritually killed.
A visit to the Constituency yesterday revealed that though Mankata has not spoken or accepted the popular request from both the NPP and the NDC, the electorate perceived him as the best candidate against other names that were popping up.
The NPP constituency chairman, Mr. J.Y. Creech-Jones, has confirmed that sections of the party supporters are crying for the son of the late MP to run on the NPP's ticket.
"I was surprised this morning when I heard from some party members that we should go for him," he told this paper yesterday at his office.
Meanwhile, this paper can report that though the NPP supporters are divided between Nii Ayi and also a 'local boy,' to champion their battle for the seat, the NPP as a party has ruled out any primary to select a candidate for the area and would pick a candidate in consultation with the regional executives.
The names circulating among the NPP ranks, alongside the son of the late MP, include, Dr. Nii Okai Hammond, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, who contested the primary and lost to Niibi Ayi Bonte, the former MP, who has also shown interest in the race, Nii Laryea Squire, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, and Nii Akramah Tagoe, Constituency Youth Secretary and a cousin of the late MP and also a former personal secretary of the late MP when he was then with the NPP.
Against the background of the above personalities, supporters are kicking against allowing any of those who contested the last primary to lead the party, because of divisions they brought into the party that resulted in its subsequent painful defeat in the last election.
According to them, the party has since not been able to resolve the impasse, and any attempt to smuggle any of them would jeopardize the fortunes of the party.
But Mr. Creech-Jones, the constituency chairman discarded the notion of a 'local boy,' saying all the potential candidates hailed from the constituency.
According him, he believes in a marketable and credible candidate who would lead not only the party, but also the whole constituency to realize its future dream.
The chairman, who dismissed any sympathy votes for the NDC, said the constituency, as a volatile area, is not the sole prerogative of any political party as the seat rotated from one party to another, depending on the quality of the message carried to the electorate.
Mr. Creech-Jones, who refused to make further comments on who would lead the party, confirmed that he had received two applications from interested candidates but refused to disclose the names.
The Chronicle also learnt from the NDC regional office that though there is a popular request to handpick a candidate, just as in the NPP, the party would be holding its primary to select its candidate.
Names dominating the NDC candidature were, Mr. Waleed Nii Laryea, a defeated district assembly candidate for Kinka electoral area, Hon. Jonathan Tackie Kommey, the current assemblyman, Mr. Jeff Laryea and Mr. P. Owoo, who lost in the primary that selected the late MP.
Chronicle's checks revealed the NPP Regional and Constituency executives were about to hold a meeting last night to deliberate on matters arising.
But the Constituency office of the NDC was found locked up with a red flag, hung behind the door, to symbolize they are in a state of mourning.