General News of Sunday, 31 January 2010

Source: Daily Guide

Akufo-Addo Sacks Bodyguards

NANA AKUFO-ADDO, presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the 2008 elections, has suspended members of his security detail who allegedly assaulted a number of party members on Thursday night.

The injured have since been treated and discharged, and though the matter was reported to the Police, DAILY GUIDE gathered as at press time that the complainants have jointly withdrawn the case.

DAILY GUIDE sighted the withdrawal statement signed by Richard Dadzie, Nana Gyasi and Kwasi Abass in which they noted that “we have jointly resolved the matter amicably and there is no need pursuing it any further…based on the above, we discontinue the case from further Police or court action”.

In a personally signed news release, Nana Addo described the episode as “most unfortunate and regrettable.” He also personally visited the injured persons to render an apology and reassure them of his stance against violence.

Unconfirmed reports say the said bodyguards, numbering about seven, on Thursday night raided the NPP Greater Accra Regional secretariat and ‘put the fear of God’ in some party members for allegedly raining insults on Nana Addo.

Party sources say one of the injured persons, Seth Opoku, is the alleged ringleader of a group that consistently rains insults on Nana Addo and that they publicly bad-mouthed the former presidential candidate at the Kotoka International Airport during the arrival of the body of the late Courage Quashigah.

The insults and counter insults were said to have been revived at the premises of the party headquarters during the recently held National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting and again on Thursday just before the live-telecast of the Ghana-Nigeria crunch match.

Nana Addo, in his statement noted: “I have always been opposed to the use of force to resolve political disputes or arguments. I have thus consistently advised all members of my staff and sympathizers not to respond violently to any provocations, taunts or insults directed against me.

“I hereby call on all members of our party to consider the wider implications of their actions and conduct themselves in a manner which will foster unity and singleness of purpose amongst us. It is my fervent prayer and hope that we all work together to promote peace and harmony within the NPP,” Nana Addo added.

Nana Addo, Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, and a number of party bigwigs spent the entire Thursday night shuffling between the Nima Police Station where the case was reported and visiting the injured persons at Ridge Hospital to ensure all was well with them.

Reports indicate that Kofi Osei-Ameyaw was instrumental in getting the matter settled amicably. He would however not comment on the matter when sighted by DAILY GUIDE at the Nima Police Station.

One of the assaulted persons, Seth Opoku, is a staff of the regional office and told an Accra-based radio station that the said bodyguards and some other persons stormed the office moments after the Ghana-Nigeria match and started to beat up people without provocation.

Adjei Sowah, a regional executive and former parliamentary candidate for Odododiodoo, is also reported to have told a number of journalists that the attack was unprovoked.

The attackers, after brutalizing their victims, took to their heels and vamoosed into thin air.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of the NPP, Nana Ohene Ntow, has condemned the alleged assault and implored the leadership of the party to bring Nana Addo and Alan Kyerematen together to talk to their supporters to avoid disunity in the NPP.

“I think that we have to bring those two personalities together with the leadership of the party to discuss these issues thoroughly, honestly and realistically and then based on whatever

decisions we arrive at, we send that message throughout the party structure, get the two of them to make public statements and commitment and get their supporters to realize that this is not what is going to get the party where we need to go,” he said.

Nana Ohene Ntow lamented the rate at which mere support for people has suddenly degenerated into physical attacks.

He said the development is foreign to the NPP as a party and should therefore be confronted and dealt with as soon as possible.

“This is a matter of serious concern to me because I do not see how the mere fact that someone supports this person and you support the other person should lead to physical attacks.

“This is a party that anytime there is internal election, you will have party members supporting this person or the other. It has always been the case and I do not see why suddenly this should become an extraordinary problem.”