... with personal funds STEPHEN Ayesu Ntim, NPP's National First Vice-Chairman, and one of the frontline contestants for the position of National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, yesterday in Accra launched his campaign website – www.steventim.com.
He told the gathering, “Stephen Ntim will bring the much acclaimed concept of property-owning democracy to the doorsteps of our long-neglected but hardworking and zealous polling station, constituency and regional executives, not to mention the teeming activists.” And, how is he to achieve this?
“Through rigorous, innovative and sustainable empowerment programmes and reward systems.” All these measures, he explained, “are meant to adequately motivate the officers and activists to give off their best.”
If this was all a bit abstract for them, Mr Ntim, a successful entrepreneur, promised further to encourage and “personally” contribute “toward the construction of office buildings for each of the 230 constituencies within the next three to five years.”
He added that all the constituencies have “already received their copies of the standard building plan that I commissioned.”
Since returning to Ghana from the United States of America in 1998, Mr Ntim, currently an NPP vice chairman, is known for his generosity to the party, especially during the last four years. His campaign in the Volta Region has been crowned by donations of large campaign towels to the men.
However, his bid for the national chairmanship suffered recently when he made that infamous “nkwasea ka” statement. This was in defence of a story in the Daily Dispatch that staff members at the party headquarters had not been paid and the building's power and telephones lines had been disconnected for non-payment of bills. His argument was that the party owed him money for “nkwasea ka” (useless debts) he had incurred in the party's interest.
Some die-hard party activists have also accused him of epitomising the so-called 'political paparazzi,' who are seen as 'newcomers but bigger beneficiaries' of NPP rule.
He has stated publicly, though, in his defence, through Accra's Citi FM, that he was a founding member of the NPP. But when pressed by Paul Adom-Otchere, the host, that Mr Ntim was a student in the US as at 1992 and only returned to Ghana two years before the December 2000 general elections, his response was that his father at the time paid the dues for all his children to be made founding members by proxy. Stephen Ntim's father was a treasurer of the NPP in Okaikoi South constituency in 1992.
Yesterday, reacting to his critics, Mr Ntim said, “the shortcomings of my opponents do not necessarily translate into my strengths.”
He said he was fully aware that the Electoral College would decide on his candidacy based on his vision statement, coupled with his performance over the past four years as the First National Vice-Chairman.
Mr Ntim and Mr Mac Manu, the Western Regional chairman of the NPP, are seen as the clear favourites for the top job. The incumbent, Harona Esseku, is expected to receive a humiliating drubbing at the party polls in November, since his stewardship has been generally deemed as disappointing and most unimaginative. In launching his website yesterday, Mr Ntim showed how imaginative and modern he is and his plans to reinvigorate the party and make it relevant to the 21st century.
He reminded the gathering that as an IT professional, he thought it wise “in this day and age when the information superhighway has virtually taken over every sphere of management,” to prosecute his campaign taking advantage of Information Technology. This he said was “to provide accurate and just-in-time information to not only NPP supporters, but also the inky fraternity, well-wishers and the general public both home and abroad” on the activities of his campaign.
“The NEW NPP, under Stephen Ntim's leadership,” he pledged, “will make Research and Public Relations the hallmark and an essential ingredient in the day-to-day operations of the party, to ensure that there will be rapid response to all the evil machinations of our known and unknown detractors.” In an unalloyed criticism of the status quo, the 1st Vice Chairman said the NPP needs to take an offensive posture, “as against the traditional business-as-usual, passive and defensive way of life which has severely hurt the image of the party.”
He warned the ruling party against a “recurrence of the unfortunate 1979 split in the front of the UP tradition, which led to the Nkrumaist PNP sneaking through the PFP and UNC. “Under my chairmanship,” he assured, “I will put measures in place, including the absolute neutrality of my office, to uphold party unity before, during and after the 2007 Congress that will elect our 2008 Presidential candidate.” He concluded, “Come the year 2009, I expect to leave behind me a ruling New Patriotic Party, and not an opposition party, which in my opinion, is the greatest legacy that every aspiring NPP National Chairman should strive to bequeath to the party.”
Explaining further, Mr Ntim said the website was meant to provide relevant information that people were seeking to know about him, his vision for the party, his speeches and accomplishments in the party. It was also meant to create an avenue for people to chat with him online, to get answers to pertinent questions agitating their minds, “from the horse's own mouth.”
Features of the website include sections that would enable one offer suggestions, constructive criticism, as well as other forms of contributions including financial assistance to fund the campaign. Another important feature of the site was the video clips of some events organised during campaigns that have been incorporated for viewing.
He reassured the people that his campaign team would do everything humanly possible to address their concerns, questions and criticisms; and would consider adopting some suggestions that might be useful to the cause of his campaign.