General News of Monday, 16 June 2014
New Patriotic Party's Presidential hopeful Stephen Asamoah Boateng has marked out two-time presidential candidate of the party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as his biggest threat to victory.
“It is obvious. [Nana Addo] is a formidable leader….but miracles do happen," he stated on the Joy FM Super Morning Show, Monday.
Nana Akufo-Addo contested for NPP flagbearer in1995, 1999, 2007 and 2011. Since 1995, the only time he did not contest for the position was when his party then in power was going for re-election in 2004. He was then a cabinet minister under the NPP administration, led by President John Kufuor.
Nana Addo won two of the four shots at flagbearship but lost to National Democratic Congress's (NDC) John Evans Atta Mills (now deceased) in 2008 and John Mahama in 2012 in the presidential elections.
He is looking to overturn the losses if he emerges winner for the third time. But Nana Addo remains popular with the party's base and political analysts have tipped him to win the ticket in the NPP congress slated for December 2014.
“He has built a network," ex- MP for Mfantiman West Stephen Asamoah Boateng conceded.
He recalled meeting Nana Addo in the late 1970’s who was a popular anti-union government activist battling the military regime which sought to do away with democracy by introducing a Union government.
Despite Nana Addo’s clout, Stephen also known as 'Asa B' is casting himself as biblical David ready to slug it out with Goliath.
Picking up nomination forms last Friday, Stephen’ Ghana’s self-acclaimed David outlined three challenges David faced in pulling off a life-changing victory over the nine-foot giant.
He said David faced the condescending stares of his elder brothers, the skepticism of King Saul and who “thought David was a joke”.
“And the joke turned on Goliath himself," he retold.
He also saw signs of victory by examining his name. Stephen Asamoah Boateng is three blocs of seven letter words. He claimed it had biblical significance.
Stephen Asamoah Boateng said although he has picked up official forms, he is cautioning that this doesn't mean he will contest.
“That’s a strategic move," he revealed, adding he will state his intentions clearly by the end of the week. In the interim, his decision to pick up forms has refocused party chit-chats from "Alan and Nana Addo" to "Asa B and Nana Addo; he analysed.
“I have whipped up interest…I have brought excitement into the party”. He called it “vibrancy with a purpose”.
As a former minister for Information and a former minister for Local Government and Rural Development, he said he was a “grassroots man….I have done three rounds in the party”.
According to the National Council of the party, each contestant would have to pay Ghs75,000 ($ 25,000) as filing fees.
Although he conceded this is big money, he said he is undaunted by the amount and would raise it mostly through friends and family.
“Relax…even if they had taken it to 200,000 Ghana cedis I would have raised it”.
Despite losing his seat in the 2012 parliamentary elections, Asa B painted an unusually bright picture about his defeat.
“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal," he quoted Winston Churchill.
He picked up examples from former President John Kufuor and his “formidable” opponent Nana Addo.
He said although he lost the seat, the reality is, that seat has traditionally been an “NDC stronghold. Until he showed up ….and snatched it from the then incumbent and Central regional minister". He won the Mfantseman West seat in 2004 but lost in 2008 and again in 2012.
In any case “anybody who has not lost an election has not fought one," the NPP President hopeful said.
He challenged his loss in the High court in an election petition but withdrew in the interest of unity in his constituency.
Asa B faced a barrage of criticism after calling on Ghanaians to eat 'Konkonte' a local dish deemed for the poor in place of rice which was in short supply.
That was a piece of propaganda engineered by the NDC, he explained and corrected, that he only sought to create alternatives to rice by pointing out to the availability of cassava which is used to prepare Kokonte.
Incidentally, he said, it was President John Mahama during his State of the Nation’s address who called on Ghanaians to eat Kokonte in an attempt to encourage the consumption of made-in-Ghana goods.
“God has taken that kokonte business out of my life," he said.