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Opinions of Sunday, 25 October 2015

Columnist: Sayibu, Akilu

Afoko could have done better

Two leading members of the NPP, Alhaji Amidu Amadu and Alhaji Sulemana Yiremiah had written separate petitions against Paul Afoko on some things they thought he was doing which was affecting the fortunes of the party towards winning power next year.
The petitions of Alhaji Sulemana Yiremiah and Alhaji Amidu Amadu were dated the 22nd September, 2015 and 1st October, 2015 respectively.
On the basis of the petitions, the National Disciplinary Committee of the NPP met on the 6th of October, 2015. Chairman Afoko, who was the subject of the petitions, failed to attend. It is reported that the National Disciplinary Committee met on other occasions but he still didn’t find time to meet them.
It was reported that the failure of Chairman Afoko to meet up with the Disciplinary committee was followed by a similar refusal to meet up with the Council of Elders of the party on several occasions. It became obvious in the face of the public and the party that the chairman who was a product of the constitution of the party and had enormous constitutional powers was strangely and arbitrarily ignoring structures and committees of his own party.
It became apparent that discipline needed to be instilled in the NPP. On the instruction of the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, the First National Vice Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Freddy Blay called a National Executive Committee meeting of the NPP on 23rd October, 2015 at the NPP Headquarters and it was voted unanimously that Chairman Afoko be suspended indefinitely for his gross disrespect to his own party committees among other issues.
It must be put on record that suspension of members of a party and in some cases, national officers, is not new in Ghana. In December, 2004, the General Secretary of the NDC, Dr. Nii Josiah Aryeh was suspended for what his party termed misconduct. The current National Organiser of the NDC, Mr. Kofi Adams, was also suspended when he was deputy General Secretary for misconduct.
Dr. Charles Wereko Brobbey of the NPP is also on suspension for certain utterances that his party thought were affecting the image of the party.
Recently, some officers of the NDC were suspended in the Northern and Brong Ahafo regions for various acts that their party felt went against their image.
On his part, Chairman Afoko’s credibility as chairman started to collapse in view of his own acts and comments. During his campaign to be elected as National Chairman, he promised to provide 275 pick-ups to all constituencies of the NPP six months after his election. Up to the point of his suspension, he was yet to fulfil that promise. That particular promise painted Northerners as liars in NPP. My view is that he could have gone about his campaign without making such unrealistic promise.
His other challenge came when the Upper East Regional Chairman of the NPP, Chairman Adams Mahama was brutally and wickedly bathed with gallons of acid to death by some persons including his biological brother, Gregory Afoko.
When the murder of Chairman Adams came up in the news, Chairman Afoko was vehemently defending his brother saying nothing about Chairman Adams. He told the media on the morning chairman Adams died that his brother Gregory was nowhere near the scene of the crime and was home deeply asleep when Chairman Adams was attacked!
It was revealed later in Court that the same acid that was used to kill chairman Adams was found on the cloths of Gregory Afoko who was home “sleeping” at the time of the crime. It must be stated that chairman Adams before his death, mentioned Gregory Afoko as the man who poured the acid on him. The reaction of Chairman Afoko to the murder of Chairman Adams affected his popularity within the rank and file of the party.
Chairman Afoko was also accused of always failing to call NEC meetings so that decisions about the affairs of the party could be run effectively but was rather singlehandedly taking decisions and creating disaffection in the party. He was not seen to be a good leader and a team player.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back was his alleged failure to meet both the Council of Elders and the Disciplinary Committee. He could have avoided this in my opinion. I sure do believe that if Chairman Afoko had made some time to meet the Council of Elders and the Disciplinary committee at the time he was expected to do so, things wouldn’t have gotten to this stage.
The propaganda that the NPP does not like Northerners is going to come to the political scene again with the suspension of chairman Afoko but fact is that, the two petitioners are both Northerners. Discipline needed to be instilled in the party no matter whom it involved. If the party cannot instil discipline in its own backyard how can it when entrusted with the responsibility of the nation?
In sum, the suspension of Paul Afoko could have been avoided if he had acted differently but he still has constitutionally laid down procedures to follow in this situation if he so desires. It is my belief that there will be calm after the storm and NPP shall win the elections of next year to save Ghana.
Very best to all
Akilu Sayibu