MR DANIEL Ohene Agyekum, former Ashanti Regional Minister, in the out-gone National Democratic Congress (NDC), administration has publicly declared his stand in the Obed, Rawlings fend, in the party, with the explanation that NDC will suffer very serious cracks, if its founder, Mr Rawlings, decides to distance himself from the activities of the party.
He further stated that NDC cannot stand on its feet to function effectively, as a formidable political party, to win any election, if Jerry Rawlings is relegated to the background, in the day-to-day administration of the party. “I am very certain about that you cannot mention NDC without mentioning Rawlings, just as CPP cannot be mentioned without identifying it with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah”, he maintained.
Ohene Agyekum, who is actively campaigning for election as the Ashanti regional chairman of NDC, made those remarks on Kapital Radio, a private station, in Kumasi, during the newspaper review segment, of its morning show programme, yesterday.
Continuing, the former Ashanti regional minister noted that former President Rawlings is a factor that nobody can wish away, in the annals of the party. According to him, he could not discount the enormous contributions and the concerted efforts Rawlings made toward ensuring the realisation of unsuccessful victory in the 2000 and 2004 general elections, respectively.
“I tell you, if Rawlings decides to distance himself from the activities of the party; it will suffer very serious cracks, because of the enormous influence be wields in the party.
Daniel Ohene Agyekum, a diplomat, told the station's listeners that any person who served the country, in any political appointment, since 1982, during the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) regime, led by former President Rawlings, through to 1992, when he introduced the constitutional democracy, in the country's body politic, belongs to the Rawlings bloc.
He made this remark when he was asked to admit, or deny the existence of perceived difference between Dr. Yao Obed Asamoah, chairman of the party, and its founder, Jerry John Rawlings, thus creating factions in the party. While denying the existence of Obed and Rawlings factions, in the party, the aspiring NDC Ashanti regional chairman pointed out that if there is any bloc, at all, it is only one bloc, which is Rawlings bloc.
He, however, opined that in any human organisation there is bound to be differences in opinions, as people cannot easily agree on one thing. He disclosed that he belongs to the so-called Rawlings faction, since it was the former President who made it possible for them to serve the country in various capacities, while NDC was in power.
Ohene Agyekum described as unfortunate, situations in which some of NDC leading members publicly, criticise the conduct of the former President, instead of approaching him to offer him pieces of advice. “We must realise that Rawlings is the founder of the party, and nobody else”, he exploded.
He related, Kwame Nkrumah founded CPP. He is dead, but he is still considered by everybody who believes in Nkrumaism-the ideals of Kwame Nkrumah. In much the same way, the UP tradition is referred to as Danquah-Busia tradition. According to him, they did not form the United Party (UP) alone. There were other individuals who supported in the formation of UP, yet, only the names of Danquah and Busia are mentioned.
“Whether you love Rawlings or hate him, he is a major partner in the politics of the country. He has been the major partner in the social and economic development over the past 20 years”, he claimed.
Asked whether the founder of NDC approved his intention to contest the Ashanti Regional chairmanship position of the party, Ohene Agyekum related that he had not informed him about it.
He, however, believed that when former President Rawlings learns of his decision he will be very excited, since he knows him Agyekum to have the courage to move the party forward, on the path of unity. It is recalled that when Ohene Agyakum, recently announced his intention to contest the chairmanship seat, the incumbent chairman, Mr. Nti Fordjour, accused him of being power-drunk, and doing everything feasible, to axe him, in order to take up his position.
Reacting to Nti Fordjour's effusions, Ohene Agyekum noted that the NDC chairman's, stop seat is not a royal stool, designed for only Nti Fordjour, and his ilk to cling to it, in power.
According to him, he sees nothing wrong with his resolution to join the fray, since the constitution of the party allows for an election to elect executives of the party, to manage its affairs, at all levels.
Therefore, any member of the party, who thinks he, or she has in-depth knowledge, and political ideas to improve the lot of the party, has the right to contest the seat, during elections conducted by the party to elect new executives.
According to him, he is contesting the elections, because be has realised the administration of the party, in the region, is in shambles. His election into the chairmanship position, he noted, would place him in a better position, to restructure the foundations of the party, in the region so as to enable the party to win the 2008 elections.
Ohene Agyekum opined that any politica1 party that fails to set, in place measures to maximise votes, In Ashanti, during elections, is bound to lose. According to him, during 1992 and 1996 general elections, NDC secured over 30 per cent of the votes in the region, but the figure dwindled in the 2000 and the 2004 elections. He has, therefore, decided to offer himself to seek the mandate of the delegates of the party, in the region, to this time a round, bring to bear, his political experience to reverse the trend.
He, wondered why he is accused of being power-drunk, just because of his resolution to contest for the seat.
Critics of Ohene Agyekum argued that having served the country in various envious capacities, as ambassador, and minister, the regional chairmanship position, is below him.
But, the NDC leading member contended that the regiona1 chairmanship position is not a mere rank, that should be taken for granted. Given the mandate, he pledged to team up with the executives of all the 39 constituencies in the region to devise new pragmatic strategies, to enable the party to improve on its vote-winning performances.
He claimed that he has no strength to fight physical battles, but has the strength to lead the party to victory.
Meanwhile a quarrel has broken out between two loyalists of former President Jerry John Rawlings over the chairmanship of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Ashanti Region.
The two protagonists are Mr. Daniel-Ohene Agyekum, who was a one-time Ashanti Regional Minister, and a certain Alhaji Alhassan Tapsoba, who claims to be a special assistant to the former President, for the northern sector of the country.
Sources close to Alhaji Tapsoba say that one of the contestants has allegedly approached him, Alhaji Tapsoba, to step down from the race, with an amount of ¢60 million, being promised as compensation. The two are flexing their muscles, to snatch the chairmanship position from the incumbent, Mr. Nti Fordjour, who has also frowned on the moves, especially from Mr. Daniel Ohene Agyekum. The contestants, recently, took the fight to a Kumasi radio station, Kapital Radio, over who was fit to take-over the chairmanship of the party in the region. Whilst the two were virtually at each other's throat Mr Nti Fordjour, the NDC regional chairman threatened to resign from the party, should Mr. Ohene Agyekum go ahead with his plans.
“If he wants to take it from me, he should come, when he takes it, I would resign, and leave the party for him”, remarked Nti Fordjour. Investigations by Daily Guide indicate that Mr. Ntim Fordjour, is peeved, because it was Mr. Ohene Agyekum who backed him to win the position of chairman. He, therefore, regards this new turn as a stab in his back. Mr. Daniel Ohene Agyekum, who appeared on the radio station's Morning Show programme hosted by Mr. Kojo Marfo, launched his bid for the chairmanship for the region, as if to taunt the incumbent, describing his comments as unfortunate.
According to him, it is his democratic right to contest the position, adding that “the position is of Regional chairman of NDC, but not Mr. Nti Fordjour's family affair.”
He enumerated that his decision has been informed by the need to improve the position of the party, in the region, and to help it gain more seats in the next election. Mr. Daniel Ohene Agyekum indicated that he was not going to comment further, because he was avoiding washing the dirty linen of the party in public. He disclosed that although he has been assisting the party, financially, he would do more, through fund-raising events to save the party from its present financial woes, adding that he is confident of winning the chairmanship seat. He refused to comment on the current state of factionalism, which has rocked NDC, saying that there are no factions in the party. The only faction in the party, he noted, is the Rawlings factions pointing out that those whom Rawlings gave the opportunity to serve the country, belong to the Rawlings faction. The former NDC minister reiterated, the position held by Rawlings' loyalists that there will be no NDC without Rawlings, just like, according to him, “there is no NPP without Busia/Danquah, or CPP, without Dr. Nkrumah”.
He explained that although nobody can wash away the Rawlings factor, from NDC, it does not mean that the party would die on the death of the founder, noting, however that Rawlings' name would always be associated with NDC. This development in the NDC in Ashanti comes at the heel of the attack by the party's founder on the conduct of the recent congress of the party, in the Northern Region.
Mr. Rawlings, in his outburst at the Tamale congress, ironically stated that money and offensive weapons were used to influence the out-come of the election, in which Alhaji Sumani Zakari was “chosen” as the chairman. The defeat of the other contestant, Mr. Ibrahim Adam, a Rawlings loyalist, did not go down well with Rawlings.
The new twist in Ashanti is certainly another problem on the plate of NDC, especially against the backdrop of the incumbent chairman's threat to resign.