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Opinions of Monday, 11 May 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Let Kwabena Agyepong Enjoy His Kumasi Fufuo, While NPP Moves On

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
May 6, 2015

I just happen to strongly disagree with New Patriotic Party (NPP) Communications Director Nana Akomea, that the widely alleged divisions among the top-echelon membership of the party is exaggerated. I will devote adequate time and space in the near future to take up this matter; for now, suffice it to say, at least in passing, that now is the time to seriously tackle any bottlenecks that may well snag the cohesiveness and progress of the party in the offing, especially as the NPP heads towards the homestretch milepost of Election 2016. It would be a damn shame if the party, once again, allows petty squablles among a handful of its most influential leaders to eviscerate the chance of returning the most progressive political party of Fourth-Republican Ghana to power.

Presently, the focus of our attention is on the widely reported NPP Steering Committee's emergency meeting convened by the party's First National Vice-Chairman, Mr. Freddie Blay, from which Chairman Paul Afoko and General-Secretary Kwabena Agyei Agyepong were reported to have been conspicuously absent. Well, to emphasize how important the meeting was, we need to provide a dry-run of a few of the nine party executives who were present. They are as follows: 2016 NPP Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the Parliamentary Minority Leader; Mr. C. K. Tedam, Chairman of NPP's Council-of-Elders; and Mr. John Boadu, NPP's National Organizer. Also present were Mr. Kamal Deen Abdulai, National Nasara Coordinator, and the irrepressible National Youth Organizer, Mr. Sammy Awuku.

We are also informed that Chairman Afoko was out of the country at the time of the Steering-Committee's emergency meeting, for reasons not publicly disclosed, and so we prefer to leave Mr. Afoko out of the present discussion. It is our hope, however, that Vice-Chairman Blay was able to communicate with Chairman Afoko ahead of the scheduled emergency meeting.

The storm in the teacup here, as it were, clearly appears to revolve around Mr. Agyepong, the NPP General-Secretary, whom we are credibly informed by Mr. Blay, was smack-dab in the country and had been informed of the meeting ahead of schedule but, somehow, failed to show up. Mr. Agyepong claims that he had had absolutely no wind of the meeting, which had been scheduled to discuss matters pertaining to the party's upcoming parliamentary elections. Whether he had been informed ahead of schedule or not clearly appears to be beside the point presently. What is significant to dig up for discussion is Mr. Agyepong's rather, reportedly, rude comment when he was reached and asked about his conspicuous absence from the NPP Steering Committee's emergency meeting by an Adom-Fm reporter.

We must also quickly note that the aforementioned meeting took place at the Accra headquarters of the New Patriotic Party (See "No Coup In NPP; I've Right To Call Meetings - Freddie Blay" 5/4/15). According to widely publicized reports, Mr. Agyepong had curtly riposted as follows: "Tell them [i.e. the NPP Steering-Committee members] that I am eating fufuo in Kumasi. I don't know anything about this meeting" (See "I'm Eating Fufu In Kumasi - Agyapong Snubs NPP" / 5/5/15). There really may be absolutely no need to rush to judgment at this juncture. Still, one thing is incontrovertibly clear; and it is that Mr. Agyepong's electioneering campaign promise of fighting hard to get the New Patriotic Party back at the helm of national affairs, at the Flagstaff House, come January 2017, seems to have been a screaming hoax. Maybe it was not.

And if it was not, then Mr. Agyepong has yet to amply demonstrate to the delegates who helped him to massively trounce Mr. Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, his predecessor and the man popularly called "Sir John," that he meant every bit of his promise when he pleaded with party delegates in Tamale to help him unseat his then-besieged predecessor. On another more instructive level, Mr. Agyepong's widely reported curt remark may well be a timely blessing in disguise.It may have been meant to serve as a serious long-term notice for the New Patriotic Party to start looking for a new General-Secretary whose aims and aspirations synch with those of the overwhelming bulk of the NPP's executive membership. And, really, this is not such a bad idea at all. If anything at all, it is incumbent on the key operatives of the NPP to start negotiating with Mr. Kumasi Fufuo over a necessary parting of ways and the immediate naming of his successor, in order to properly and effectively position the party for victory in Election 2016.

Needless to say, suspended animation, the apparaent strategy of Mr. Agyepong, is no sound footing for a progressive and winsome political party like the New Patriotic Party. Mr. Agyepong clearly knows what he is doing; and the NPP national executives feign ignorance to their own disadvantage.