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Opinions of Thursday, 3 October 2013

Columnist: Baffour, George Yaw Gyan

Who will be next NPP Presidential Candidate?

IF AKUFO-ADDO DOESN’T RUN

Fiifi Arhin

The 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s judgement on the Presidential Election petition, announced: “I intend to take some time out of the hurly burly of politics, get some rest, reflect and then announce whatever decision I come to in the not too distant future.”

The New Statesman is reliably informed that Nana Akufo-Addo in the next month or two, certainly before the end of this year, will come out with his decision on his political future, as to whether he intends to contest for the flagbearership position of the NPP for the 2016 elections or not.

Hints being picked up by the paper indicates that should Nana Addo declare his intention to run as the NPP’s flagbearer in 2016, the names which are being speculated as those interested in leading the party are not likely to run.

However, should Nana Addo decide otherwise, the NPP will still be ‘blessed’ with an abundance of persons who will be willing to lead it as its Presidential Candidate, with the New Statesman informed that as many as 12 persons could decide to contest.

The persons who could throw their names into the hat to lead the party in 2016 include Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Alan Kyerematen, Isaac Osei, Dan Botwe, Boakye Agyarko and Prof Frimpong Boateng. The others include Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Kofi Osei Ameyaw, Joe Ghartey, Dr Richard Anane and Prof. Gyan Baffour.

A cross-section of NPP sympathizers who spoke to the New Statesman stated that whether Nana Akufo-Addo will contest or should a new candidate emerge, “the strategy is: are we choosing a candidate to win in 2016 or in 2020?”

Dr Bawumia, the 2008 and 2012 Vice Presidential Candidate of the party, who was the 2nd Petitioner in the recently ended Presidential Election Petition, is one name which has come up in recent times as being the ideal person to lead the NPP due to his nationwide appeal. However, according to his aide, Anthony Karbo, “Dr Bawumia harbours no intention whatsoever at this point in time to be interested in leading the party."

Supporters of Dr Bawumia point to the fact that his influence in the three Northern Regions in the December 2012 elections resulted in an increase in votes and seats in parliament for the NPP, adding that the NPP could increase her share of votes nationwide and subsequently annex power for the party.

Alan Kyerematen, a two time Presidential aspirant of the NPP in 2007 and 2010, is another person who will certainly contest in ‘a Nana Akufo-Addo-less’ presidential primary. Having come second to Nana Akufo-Addo in both contests, supporters of Mr Kyerematen, the man popularly referred to as “Alan Cash”, believe he is the natural successor to Nana Akufo-Addo.

Alan Cash has an extensive and distinguished record in international trade, international public policy, enterprise development, politics and diplomacy, as a Cabinet Minister, as an Ambassador and negotiator, as an international public servant and as a senior corporate executive in the private sector.

Currently serving as the Member of Parliament for Subin, Mr Isaac Osei is no novice when it comes to contesting in Presidential Primaries. In 2010, at the NPP Presidential Primary, Mr Isaac Osei placed third in the contest.

Isaac Osei who has worked as a consultant for the World Bank, GoG (Ministry of trade and ministry of roads/highways), USAID, DFID was appointed High commissioner of Ghana to the United Kingdom and Ambassador to Ireland by H.E. J.A. Kufuor between 2001-2006. He was appointed Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board in 2006. Mr. Osei is the ranking member for Trade, Industry and Tourism Committee and Chairs the party's sector committee.

Dan Botwe, popularly referred to as “General”, is the NPP Member of Parliament for Okere in the Eastern Region. From 1998, when he took office as General Secretary of the party, Dan Dotwe provided the leadership and direction that transformed the party, energizing its constituency structures by encouraging party faithful to work mostly without pay in various constituency offices across the country.

Certainly an insider now, combining his knowledge of the party system with the infusion of new and dynamic ideas, Hon. Dan Botwe took the management and organization of the NPP to new level. In 2008 as a parliamentary candidate for the NPP, he obtained 11,974 votes out of the 19,684 total votes cast representing 60.8% to win the Okere seat for the NPP.

Boakye Agyarko was the 2012 Campaign Manager for the Akufo-Addo 2012 campaign. He also contested the 2007 presidential primary of the NPP. Torino, as he was affectionately called in school, is a founding Member of the NPP and has a wealth of 27 years of experience in Banking, Investments and Finance behind him, which he supporters believe makes him well equipped with excellent negotiation, organisation and managerial skills, a sense of propriety and vast international experience and connections to tackle our protracted problems head on.

Well-known for his establishment of the National Cardiothoracic Center, Prof. Frimpong Boateng is also not a first timer on the political scene and certainly well known in the NPP, Prof. Frimpong Boateng is a two-time Presidential aspirant of the party, having contested in 2007 and 2010.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng spear-headed what is known today as the first Cardiothoracic Center in Sub-Saharan Africa located at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, and also started the Ghana Heart Foundation which supports all poor patients who cannot afford to have a heart surgery.

Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, through an aide, has already made his decision to contest the 2016 elections as the flagbearer of the NPP. For the former Minister for Trade and Industry, and a former Member of Parliament for Offinso North, this will be Dr Apraku’s third attempt after the 2007 presidential primary.

Stephen Asamoah Boateng, a former Minister of Information under the Kufuor-led NPP government, has has emerged as a possible contender for the flagbearership position of the party. As a former Member of Parliament for Mfantseman West in 2004, Mr Asamoah Boateng lost his seat in 2008 and tried unsuccessfully to regain it the 2012 elections. Mr Asamoah Boateng is currently in court seeking to over-turn the parliamentary results of the 2012 elections.

Kofi Osei Ameyaw, the current Member of Parliament for Asuogyaman, according to information available to the New Statesman, is also ready to throw in his name into the hat to lead the NPP in the 2016 elections. He is a lawyer and a member of the Appointments Committee, Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Subsidiary Legislation Committee of parliament.

Joe Ghartey is currently the 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament for the Esikado Ketan Constituency in the Western Region. Having served as Attorney-General of Ghana under President John Agyekum Kufuor, Joe Ghartey first won the seat in the December 2004 election and was re-elected in both the December 2008 and December 2012 elections. During the regime of President John Agyekum Kufuor, Mr Ghartey was appointed Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice in March 2005. He was appointed the substantive Minister in April 2006, a position he held until January 2009.

Dr Richard Anane, a former Minister of Health under President Kufuor and currently Member of Parliament for Nhyiaeso, has stated he is inundated with calls from supporters within the main opposition NPP to run for President. “You can even see a call on my phone now and they are all people talking to me on this matter. I have been in this party as a student way back in 1979, I have worked with groups in this party till now, and I think I know my party and I believe that at the appropriate time whatever area I have to serve I will do,” he reported told a local radio station recently.

Prof. George Yaw Gyan Baffour is the Member of Parliament for Wenchi. He was a deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning under President Kufuor. He is a member of the Committee on Poverty Reduction Strategy; and also on the Special Budget Committee.