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General News of Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Source: Graphic Online

NPP bags Ghc595,000 from seven presidential aspirants

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has raked in Ghc595,000 (5.95 billion old cedis) following the filing of nominations by seven presidential hopefuls to contest the party’s presidential primaries tentatively fixed for December 6, this year.

Each had to pay Ghc10,000 of the nomination forms and Ghc75,000 for the filing of the papers. This brings the total for each candidate to Ghc85,000.

However, according to a source close to the party, the amount would be reduced when the party organises the special delegates congress, which would attract about 947 delegates.

Per the revised constitution of the party, only five candidates will be allowed to contest the flag bearer slot of the party, a departure from the 2007 congress where 17 candidates contested.

The amended constitution of the party stipulates that if more than five candidates file and are vetted to contest, a special electoral college of party executives, including all the 275 constituency chairmen and all NPP MPs, will have to vote to reduce the number to five.

Other members eligible to vote at the special congress are national and regional executive committee members, members of the National Council of Elders, representatives of special organs of the party, past national officers, executives of external branches and founder members.

Alternatively some party members are arguing that a ought to be found through vetting to prune down the number of aspirants to five as a means of saving funds for the party. The difficulty here is the measures that will be used which will satisfy all the aspirants.

Already, the seven presidential aspirants who have completed the processes to contest the primaries are Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 2012 presidential candidate of the party; Mr John Kwadwo Alan Kyerematen, a former Minister; Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, also a former Minister; and Mr Francis Addai Nimoh, the Member of Parliament for Mampong.

The rest are Mr Kofi Osei Ameyaw, Member of Parliament for Assuogyaman; Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, also a former Minister; and Mr Joe Ghartey, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Essikado-Ketan.

It will be recalled that the NPP expanded its electoral college after the 17 aspirants had put themselves forward for election at the party’s presidential primary in 2007.

The large number of presidential aspirants then was roundly criticised by party insiders as well as the general public, with some saying it created the impression of an increasing obsession for the party’s presidential slot rather than a passion to serve one’s nation in the high office of President.

This time around, the party is making strenuous efforts to avoid the pitfalls of the 2007 incident when the gate was widely opened and no ceiling was placed on the number of aspirants that could contest the race.

The national executives have also taken it upon themselves to admonish the aspirants to conduct their campaign devoid of infractions and acrimony so as to build the confidence of Ghanaians that the party is capable of being entrusted with their destiny.

In separate media interactions, the seven aspirants have all pledged their commitment to issues-based campaign, which has the interest of the party and nation at heart.

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