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26.09.2005 Politics

Obed loyalists in Ashanti targeted

By Statsman
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AS the political feud between the founder of the National Democratic Congress, former President Jerry John Rawlings, and the Chairman of the Party, Obed Yao Asamoah, rages on, plans are far advanced to throw out people considered to be Obed's loyalists in the up-coming regional executive elections in the Ashanti Region.

Chief among those targeted are the incumbent Ashanti Regional Chairman and Secretary of the NDC, Emmanuel Nti Fordjour and Sly Akakpovie.

A former Ashanti Regional Minister, Daniel Ohene Agyekum, who is a close pal of both former President Rawlings and the NDC flagbearer in the 2004 elections, John Evans Atta Mills, is allegedly being sponsored to contest Mr Nti Fordjour for the Ashanti Regional chairmanship of the NDC.

This paper's investigations have established that Ohene Agyekum, a former cadre of the Rawlings-engineered revolution, wields enormous power within the party in the region, and that in the 2004 electioneering campaign, funds were routed through him whilst he was also consulted on all major decisions taken. In the run-up to the 2004 elections, the regional executive, headed by Mr Nti-Fordjour, was ignored whenever Prof Mills travelled to the region on his campaign trail.

In fact, at the press conference held by the then NDC flagbearer in the living room of Ohene Agyekum at his plush Ridge residence in Kumasi just before the December 2004 elections, both Mr Nti Fordjour and Mr Sly Akakpovie were not invited. The duo were even not aware of the itinerary of Prof Mills as they were not on the NDC Presidential candidate's trip to Obuasi the following day. Both Mr Nti Fordjour and Mr Sly Akakpovie supported and backed the candidature of Kwesi Botchway when he contested for the NDC Presidential slot against the eventual winner Prof Mills.

Mr Ohene Agyekum has meanwhile confirmed his intention to contest the regional chairmanship position of the party. He told Fox FM, a local radio station in Kumasi last Friday, that as a qualified and long serving member of the NDC, he has every right to contest the position. He said he is better placed to move the party forward to return it to power in 2008.

“The NDC does not belong to any individual and as such I have an inalienable right to vie for the Ashanti Regional Chairmanship slot of the party,” Ohene Agyekum intimated.

Ohene Agyekum, who once served as Ghana's Ambassador to Canada under the NDC regime, however regretted that since he made his intention to run for the regional chairmanship public, a lot of interpretations have been given to his decision. He said that notwithstanding, nothing would compel him to rescind his decision.

On the current rumpus and in-fighting in the NDC, Ohene Agyekum said what is happening is nothing strange and the NDC, as any political party, is bound to have and experience these differences.

He was however optimistic that the frosty relationship between the so-called Obed and Rawlings camps would end with the party becoming even stronger. Mr Ohene Agyekum said Kwamena Ahwoi's decision to quit his position as Director of Research of the NDC is a personal one but quickly added that it would have no effect on the party.

The NDC is expected to hold its Ashanti Regional Executive elections Saturday November 26, 2005 in Kumasi.

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