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Opinions of Saturday, 18 October 2014

Columnist: Nti, Kwame

Can Alan do to Nana what Kufuor did to Adu Boahen in 1996?

KWAKU NTI's Library: Can Alan do to Nana what Kufuor did to Adu Boahen in 1996?

"I choose the limits of my writing, not interpretation" - Kwaku Nti

The line is drawn, the systems are set and the final music is about to be played for the remaining three contestants of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearership race to know their fate. Delegates clad in the party’s red, blue and white colours of the party with the symbolic elephant embossed in them would gather at the two hundred and seventy five (275) constituency centres to cast their votes.

The EC other than any other media house or contestant is the only body mandated to declare the final results at the NPP party headquarters where supporters would gather to hear the final results. Various candidate agents have also been informed of the dos and don’ts of the contest as a means of ensuring that the NPP sail through peacefully. 

While party supporters and individual sympathisers wait to know who leads the NPP into 2016, I tried to recollect when a major heavyweight in this kind of contest in the NPP was beaten to the ultimate by an underdog contestant. And yes, I do now remember that once in the democratic walk of the psrty, a man from nowhere emerged to beat a major favourite to first position.

His name is John Agyekum Kufuor, yes, J.A Kufuor as he was known then, emerged from a third position he placed in the 1992 congress to beat the favourite contender, the late Albert Adu Boahen. This happened on 20th April, 1996 when the man who was accused of flirting with the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) made it past the late Professor to contest the 1996 national elections on the ticket of the NPP.

Prof. Adu Boahen’s political career was given a boost after a speech in 1988 which broke the age-long culture of silence in Ghana. With the NPP backing out of the 1992 elections to write the ‘Stolen Verdict’ as a protest, every NPP sympathiser chanted ‘Hail Adu Boahen’ as the 1996 elections approached. Roses were virtually thrown at the feet of the man who everyone thought would emerge to give Rawlings that heated chase for the presidency. Prof. Adu-Boahen’s chances glittered when the Supreme Court upheld a controversial law preventing individuals convicted of treasonous acts from holding public office, even if such acts were committed during periods of unconstitutional rule. A favourite in the contest, Mr. Andrews Kwame Pianim became fell to this ruling.

Thus, with the NPP achieving some of the electoral reforms they had proposed prior to the 1996 contest, it was highly anticipated both within and outside Ghana that the Part Two of Jerry Rawlings versus Adu Boahen would be staged when Ghanaians head to the polls. True to this expectation, the University of Ghana venue for the 1996 NPP congress, where the Professor lectured in History was also flooded with several images of the contenders with his being very visible. But the final results as was announced turned to be the opposite and it meant there would never be a Part Two of the much anticipated contest:

NPP 1996 primaries results

Name of Aspirant Votes Obtained Percentage

John Agyekum Kufuor 1,034 51.99%

Prof. Albert Adu Boahen 710 35.70%

John Henry Mensah 110 5.53%

Dr. Jones Ofori Atta 69 3.47%

Dr. Kwame Safo Adu 42 2.11%

Dr. Kofi Dsane Selby 24 1.21%

Credit: antwi-boasiako.blogspot.com

The above table indicates how the show played out when the NPP trotted to the hill of knowledge to determine their political destiny.

Prominent among the various reasons assigned for the success of the ‘Gentle Giant’ as Kufuor was latter to be known was the fact that NPP delegates at the time thought it wise to select a calm person who would help ease the political tension that existed between the NPP and the NDC at the time. It was felt Adu Boahen was too radical a personality to contest Rawlings again. Ghana was not ready to have its political tensions go beyond a hundred degree Celsius, hence the feeling that Kufuor would do the trick for the NPP.

But the NPP delegates had to wait to repose confidence in the candidature of Kufuor two years later in 1998 before the party could ascend the highest office of the land. The 1998 congress of the NPP organized in Sunyani also had similar results with Kufuor winning over Nana Addo but this time round, the marketability of the candidate was of prime concern. Kufuor was thought to have an advantage over Mills who would be a new face on the electoral poster after Rawlings is done with his second term.

2014 congress

Eighteen years after the interesting contest of 1996, the NPP is once again preparing to go to run a similar one which I seek to know whether history would repeat itself when delegates gather to cast their votes. The difference this time is the change in venue which would mean that the delegates would gather in their individual constituencies and determine who carry high the elephant to face the NDC in 2016. Also, unlike the 1996 contest, which had six contestants who were allowed to contest directly, the seven aspirants that filed in 2014 were cut down to five courtesy a clause in the NPP’s constitution that allowed for a special congress to decide on who qualifies and who doesn’t. The official result as published indicated some have to give way for others.

Name of Aspirant Votes Obtained Percentage

Nana Akufo-Addo 598 80.81% 

Alan Kyeremateng 59 7.97% 

Addai-Nimoh 22 2.97% 

Joe Ghartey 22 2.97% 

Osei Ameyaw 16 2.16% 

Asamoah Boateng 13 1.76% 

Konadu Apraku 10 1.35% 

Credit: peacefmonline.com

Misters Asamoah Boateng and Konadu Apraku, per the results, had to say goodbye to their visions of leading the NPP at least into 2016 elections.

However, two other candidates who qualified for the October 18th congress based on either their own convictions or through persuasion or a combination of the two decided to step down. One of them, Osei Ameyaw decided to throw his weight behind the Prof Adu Boahen of this contest, Nana Addo.

“I am therefore, withdrawing from the race to lend my support to the united movement… proceed to Nana Addo to congratulate and endorse him to lead the party going into the 2016 general elections…,” Osei Ameyaw said to the media. Spreading like the deadly ebola, his endorsement has led to further endorsements of the candidature of Nana Addo as the one fit to lead the NPP this time. Sworn supporters of his close contender, Alan Kyeremanten are ‘repenting’ to come and follow the man who has on two consecutive occasions carried the flag of the NPP and lost.

These endorsements and approvals make the contest similar to that of the 1996 race where Prof. Adu Boahen did not only receive endorsements but was held as the one to lead the party by hook or crook. Nana Addo’s name and posters are flying high than his contenders as well. The similarities in the contest however, does not seem to suggest a similar outcome as the recorded statistics available indicate Nana Addo has always had the best in encounters which Alan Kyeremanten is involved.

From the 2008 Legon congress where Mr. Kyeremanten threw in the towel despite Nana Addo failing to secure a required 50% of the votes in the contest run between seventeen NPP members, the fortunes of the former has always dwindled in NPP internal contest. In 2010, Mr. Kyeremanten fell from the 32.30% which he chalked in the 2007 primaries to 20.40%. This represents a significant 11.90% lost in his percentage of votes; and in the ‘2014 mock primaries’, as I have chosen to call the special delegates conference; Mr. Kyeremanten fell further to 7.97%.

With the principle of every vote counting in politics applying in the NPP internal contest, it can be deduced that Mr. Kyeremanten would be a ‘mismatch’ for Nana Addo whose fortunes have been increasing in each contest since 2007. From 47.96% in 2007 to 77.92% in 2010, Nana Addo seems to be heading for more than an 85% endorsement after he polled 80.81% in the ‘mock primaries’. Hence, it would be no news when the EC announce on Saturday, 18th October, 2014 that Nana Addo is the man chosen to represent the NPP in 2016.

The news?

What obviously would be news is the announcement that Alan Kyeremanten have managed to beat Nana Addo to the ultimate. And this, all fair minded political pundits in the country have argued seem impossible. What they see possible is Mr. Kyermenaten possibly beating any contestant brought forth by the Nana Addo camp to lead the NPP with the exit of Nana Addo from the race after 2016. The outcome of such a contest would be determined by many factors which may arise in the years leading to the said year in which such a contest would be organised.

However, Alan ought to put up a great show this time around if indeed he wants Ghanaians to see him as a viable alternative to win floating voters for the party someday. He cannot afford to continue getting single percentages because the likes of Addai Nimoh are now chasing his position in the party. The time is apt for him to do all within his means to restore the name and position he enjoyed in the NPP prior to 2010. If he fails this time, he may have to go and start all over again as the clout around him may leave.

Addai Nimoh factor

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Asante Mampong would herald his preparedness to lead the NPP in future if he is able to have a ‘more-than-expected’ results in the Saturday polls. To me, he has got nothing to lose by perhaps choosing to resign to his fate and lie at the bottom of the contest, but he has much to gain by over-stretching himself to out-jump Mr. Kyeremanten whom many have penciled to place a comfortable second.

Such a result would indicate how he has separated himself from the likes of Osei-Ameyaw, Joe-Ghartey, Asamoah Boateng and many others who are nursing the vision of leading the NPP in the near future. After showing that he has what it takes to brush aside known contestants like the named and Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, I would be among the least surprised people in Ghana if he makes it to a second place.

However, a herculous over-jump to ditch Nana Addo or Kyermanten to the position of the flagbearer of the NPP would be counted as a part of the greatest political wonders in Ghana’s fourth republic.

I wish the NPP well and I would be back to analyse the outcome and the suitability of the elected candidate to win-back power for the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition. Until then, always remember that, I choose the limits of my writing and not your interpretation.