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Opinions of Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Apraku Should Keep His "Floating Voters" to Himself

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The former New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Offinso-North, in the Asante Region, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, says that he is his party's best chance for securing the presidency in the 2016 election, because he is, so far, the only candidate for the presidency who can attract some curious species of an electoral quadruped called "Floating Voters" (See "I Can Attract Floating Voters Like Kufuor - Apraku Suggests" / 4/19/14).

He may well be right in his rather comically oversized opinion of himself. But the fact of the matter is that his personality is nowhere comparable to that of the man he claims to resemble. Unlike Dr. Apraku, former President John Agyekum-Kufuor is widely known to be a gap-bridging diplomatic personality whose skills and charisma the Offinso-North native can scarcely go to bed and dream about, let alone presume to approximate or even passably appreciate.

But even before he gets any poisonously farther with his arrogance, I have to, once again, ask the following question of the fired Kufuor Trade and Industry and NEPAD Minister. And it this: Why was Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku summarily expelled from the Kufuor cabinet and never reappointed to another cabinet portfolio?

Well, without even presuming to be in the know, at least two indisputable factors may be involved here. The first of these is that one does not unceremoniously get bumped off one's cabinet portfolio the way the then-President Kufuor did to Dr. Apraku, without the latter's having clearly exhibited a remarkable streak of gross incompetence on the job. And so, Dr. Apraku would do himself, and the rest of us, great good by explaining why his former boss so rudely and swiftly relieved him of his post. For instance, was it simply because President Kufuor found this prime casualty of expulsion over-qualified for the job of Trade and Industry and NEPAD Minister?

If so, then precisely how so? And then, also, if Dr. Apraku were that administratively competent, why would President Kufuor not offer him another coordinate portfolio or job? We ask these questions, obviously, because campigning for the presidency is also about one's remarkable demonstration of one's administrative flair or competence.

The second predictable factor is that Dr. Apraku's personality, obviously, clashed with that of the now-former President Kufuor's somewhere along the line, thus the latter's clearly demonstrably savvy decision not to retain his homeboy in his cabinet. And so, he cannot be taken seriously when the former Offinso-North NPP-MP so cavalierly presumes to share any semblance of personality traits with the man who so rudely and abruptly shoved him out of his kitchen cabinet.

We also firmly believe that we know exactly why Dr. Apraku was pushed out of the Kufuor cabinet. It squarely had to do with the former's widely known obnoxious personality, but we feel he is the best person to explain the same to the "floating voters" whose support he so desperately needs to put the NPP into the Flagstaff House, as he claims.

We must also highlight the fact that President Kufuor's maiden election victory was squarely clinched on the basis of rank disaffection for the Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress, and the dire need on the part of the longsuffering Ghanaian voter, who had endured two apocalyptic decades of abject economic destitution, corruption and virtual developmental stasis, for an immediate change of leadership.

Even so, the recently deceased President John Evans Atta-Mills gave the former Popular-Front Party Member of Parliament for Atwima-Nwabiagya a full-throated competition. This is what New Yorkers call a run for one's money. And if he were as competent and attractive a presidential candidate as he so exuberantly claims to be, then why did Dr. Apraku garner only 19 votes in the 2007 NPP presidential primaries? And, also, precisely how many of these votes came from "floating delegates"?

It also needs to be recalled that in his first run against then-Vice President Atta-Mills, the then-Candidate Kufuor only clearly won the contest in a run-off, or second round of the presidential tourney, not in the first round. And yes, Nana Akufo-Addo managed a polling run-off harvest of 49.32-percent in 2008, and 47.74-percent in 2012. But those percentages, clinched at the national level, far superceded Dr. Apraku's 19 delegate votes in the 2007 NPP presidential primaries.

I also don't see any viable alliance being forged between the NPP and the CPP in the lead-up to Election 2016. The situation that prevailed after two decades of Chairman Rawlings' morbid "Culture-of-Silence" does not exist presently. As well, the UGCC-CPP's nostalgic claim to proprietary rivalry of yesteryear decidedly does not exist today either.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
April 19, 2014