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General News of Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Source: Asare Otchere-Darko

Akufo-Addo's campaign team revealed

Exclusive! Akufo-Addo's campaign team: Jake, Apraku, Dan, Alan, Osafo-Maafo, Hackman, Oquaye, Arthur Kennedy, and co in key roles

Though expectations that some of the defeated presidential aspirants may be recalled to Cabinet have affected the compilation of names to head the 2008 presidential campaign of the New Patriotic Party, The Statesman can report that the list is almost complete and confirmation of positions may be done in the next couple of weeks.

What is clear is that Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Campaign Manager for President Kufuor's two successive presidential victories, will be Campaign Chairman for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The former Cabinet Minister and PR guru competed for the party's flagbearership.

In his efforts to bring on board and utilise all the 16 talents that ran with him in the December Congress, Nana Akufo-Addo has also proposed a campaign Advisory Committee, to be headed by NPP National Chairman, Peter Mac Manu. Its membership will include all 16 ex-pirants, the presidential candidate and chairman of Council of Elders of the party.

A special tripartite committee of Messrs Mac Manu, J A Kufuor and Akufo-Addo will play an instrumental facilitating role as 'button pushers’.

President Kufuor has adequately assured the presidential candidate, who was at the airport yesterday to see the President board his flight to Italy for a WHO conference, of his maximum support and cooperation.

Beneath the above structures will be the NPP Campaign Committee chaired by the former Chief of Staff and Tourism Minister.

The coveted position of Campaign Director is likely to go to Kofi Konadu Apraku, MP and former Cabinet Minister. He is articulate, has a great grasp of economic issues, operated as party activist under the tutelage of the late Prof Albert Adu Boahen in 1992, a trusted, close aide to the newly-elected presidential candidate and a highly respected leading member of the party, particularly in the party’s strongest hold, Ashanti Region.

The NPP campaign is expected to be divided into two main zones, but names of those to head the northern and southern zones are yet to be confirmed.

The issue of running mate is not likely to be seriously considered until June. But, there are indications that it would take some doing to divert the presidential candidate’s attention from the northern/Muslim consideration.

Another expirant, Dan Botwe, the former General Secretary for both the 2000 and 2004 general election victories, may head the innovative role of actively co-ordinating the party’s election machinery in the constituencies and polling stations across the country as NPP Presidential Elections Co-ordinator.

The thinking of Nana Akufo-Addo is simple: "If we can hold on to our current 128 seats, at least, then we have won the 2008 elections." He is therefore seeing the various parliamentary campaign efforts of the governing party across the country with all the logistical and financial seriousness they deserve.

"We must, whenever necessary, see our parliamentary candidates as our party’s main campaign managers at the constituency level," the NPP presidential candidate made this clear when he made his maiden appearance before the National Executive Committee last month.

His campaign structure is designed to contain all the various talents that competed against him last December. He has also instructed that the membership of the seven committees of the campaign should be as representative as possible. Competence, party loyalty and inclusiveness have been the guiding philosophy.

Another high profile expirant Yaw Osafo-Maafo, who can be seen all the time on the right side of Akufo-Addo during the campaign, The Statesman can confirm has accepted the position of Campaign Spokesperson. The former Finance Minister’s eloquence, intelligence and popularity won him that role.

Former Presidential Spokesperson to President Kufuor and youngest expirant, Kwabena Agyapong may chair the Communications Committee.

Mustapha Hamid still remains the Spokesperson for the Presidential Candidate.

Expirant Hackman Owusu-Agyemang may naturally slot into his familiar position as chairman of the Finance Committee. He has also been active in the meetings of the NPP Manifesto Committee and has pledged to be actively involved in pushing the party’s electioneering agenda.

Alan Kyerematen’s name had come up strongly for the position of chief fundraiser after showing his excellent magnetism in attracting funds for his presidential bid.

But, news of his imminent return to Cabinet has been playing on the minds of the party leadership.

However, another creative role being carved out for the NPP presidential campaign is that of Public Affairs or Liaison Officer. Alan Kyerematen is seen as perfect for this vital role of lobbying various groups, institutions and organisations across the country for the NPP’s bid to retain power. Akufo-Addo began his campaign this year by doing just that, touching base with various groups. This is expected to be intensified under a formal structure.

Mr Kyerematen is expected to be ably supported by Papa Owusu-Ankomah, another expirant.

Former Majority Leader Felix Owusu-Agyapong will formally serve as the liaison officer with traditional authorities and other related organs in the country.

Mike Oquaye is already heavily involved in policy matters as a strong member of the Manifesto Committee which is coordinated by Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, son of the late Okyeame Baafuor Akoto.

Prof Oquaye has donated some of his own campaign logistics, including vehicles, to Nana Akufo-Addo and has pledged to do more.

Vice President Aliu Mahama has already donated his palatial office building at the Airport Residential Area for the campaign.

The Manifesto Committee, the work of which begun last month, has the intellectual input of those who contested for the party’s flagbearership. The expirants have been attending manifesto meetings with their technical advisors. Some of the meetings have taken place at the party’s Club House, here in Accra.

Among the other expirants active on the Manifesto Committee are Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Arthur Kennedy, Boakye Agyarko and Dr Apraku.

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