NDC in turmoil at Odododiodoo
THE NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC), yesterday experienced the anger and absolute resilience of its members against what they termed as the unjust and unfair treatment meted out to one of the aspiring parliamentary candidates at the Odododiodoo Constituency in the Greater Accra Region in the up-coming bye-election.
Supporters clad in red with machetes and other weapons, invaded the Richard Akwei Memorial School compound, the meeting place of the party leadership, and accused them of being hypocrites, amidst threats of giving their votes to the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The supporters charged, heaping insults, accusations and counter accusations, shouting that the executives of the party had sold the NDC, hence the injustices.
The irate party supporters' anger erupted when the national executives, after vetting two aspiring candidates, wrote to disqualify Mr. Walid Ayertei Lartey, one of the aspirants and unanimously endorsed Mr. Jordan Tackie Commey, as the sole candidate for the NDC in the Odododiodoo Constituency.
To ease the bitterness and confusion that had rocked the party, supporters, who flexed muscles at each other, demanded primaries to avoid further controversy. “We want to go to the primary and whoever emerges as the winner, we shall support him. If the leadership go ahead with their plan, we shall vote for the NPP. What injustice is this?” supporters declared in a chorus.
As things got to a head, the National Women's Organizer, Ms. Frances Asiam, and Mr. Baba Jamal, the Deputy National Secretary in charge of Finance, postponed the primary and indicated their preparedness to go back to the drawing board to correct what was wrong.
Ms. Asiam who was the first person to speak on the postponement of the scheduled endorsement, said, “Looking at what was happening here, I think it would not be easy for us to do what we wanted to do. For that reason, we have postponed the programme so that the party leadership would meet and do the right thing.”
She pleaded with the supporters to hold their peace until the right things were done, adding that the current confusion and bickering would not help the party if the party were determined to win back its seat.
Baba Jamal who corroborated the national women's organizer's statement, commended the supporters for their resilience in fighting injustice and called on them to close their ranks to ensure that victory was theirs in the bye-election.
“We shall go back and look at the mistakes that we have done and correct them. Let us not move out from here with this conflict. Let us not inflict this avoidable confusion on ourselves. I humbly request that you give the leadership of the party the opportunity to resolve this issue amicably,” he admonished.
On his part, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, the sole pillar in the constituency, decried the decision taken by the party leadership by disqualifying Mr. Walid Laryea, to the advantage of Mr. Commey.
He gave an indication that if the party executives failed to conduct a primary, there would be a trouble for the NDC in the constituency.
“Let us go to the primary to elect the candidate and whoever wins, we shall support the person. No primary, no vote,” he said.
His assertion of no primary, no vote was corroborated by supporters of Mr. Laryea, who carried placards with inscriptions such as, “No Walid, no vote for the NDC,” “No Walid, no NDC,” “Our men have sold the NDC,” Walid is the right choice,” “NDC Odododiodio executives are corrupt,” and others.
The irate supporters, who had earlier threatened to trace their root to the NPP and indicated their preparedness to hold a press conference to condemn the position taken by the party leadership, went on another excitement rampage when the programme was called off.
The letter, which generated the controversy and signed by the party's acting general secretary, Mr. Bede Ziedeng, stated that, “Mr. Walid Ayertei Laryea, one of the contestants failed to meet the eligibility criteria provided under the qualifications of prospective contestants in the rules and guidelines governing the election of parliamentary candidates. He admitted he did not have a membership card, a very important criteria, even though he acquired a silver card only February, 2005.”
According to Ziedeng, the contestant had admitted that he had not been an active member of the party for more than two years even though he was a former deputy youth organizer for the constituency and had printed some T-shirts for the 2004 parliamentary candidate, the late, Ayikwei Mankanta.
He said Mr. Laryea had failed to convince the vetting committee about the branch that he belonged to and that no single member of the branch he claimed he belonged to endorsed his candidature.
“Accordingly, Mr. Laryea has been disqualified as a candidate to contest the primaries for the election of a candidate to contest on the ticket of the NDC at the Odododiodio constituency bye-election,” adding that, “It must however be noted that Mr. Walid Laryea was able to establish the fact that he is still with the party, even though he woefully failed to meet the eligibility criteria to contest on the ticket of the party.”
The NDC's chief scribe indicated further that, “in the circumstances, Mr. Jonathan Nii Tackie Commey, who met all the eligibility criteria, has been declared the sole candidate for the Odododiodio constituency in the up-coming bye-election.”
Mr. Ziedeng concluded that, “You therefore have the mandate of FEC to organize a constituency conference for the endorsement of Mr. Jonathan Nii Tackie Commey as the parliamentary candidate for the Odododiodio bye-election.”
Supporters of the disqualified candidate, who had stormed the premises of the Richard Akwei Memorial School very early, protested vehemently against the party's position and questioned the rational.
Currently, tongues are wagging among the party supporters, following an attempt to impose a candidate on them. They have resolved to do everything possible to prevent any move of the sort by the party leadership.
The joy of Mr. Jonathan Commey who was carried shoulder high to the venue for his endorsement, was cut short when a police on duty stopped him and his supporters and briefed him about the latest development.