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Opinions of Friday, 7 September 2007

Columnist: Sankah, Darrel Oko

17 questions for 17 presidential aspirants

As the 2008 presidential elections draw closer, all seem to be set for the ruling NPP's own presidential beauty pageant with a firm list of 17 aspirants vying for the presidential slot of the party.

When the NPP national delegates' conference comes off later this year, the question onlookers may be asking is 'who wears the crown'?. But within the NPP's own circles the question may probably be 'who is the best swimmer?, in that the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Peter Mac Manu has described the pageant as a water testing process.

When the pageant became put in the latter part of last year, the list of names was 21. At the time party kingpins complained that the numbers were too high. Some thought an exorbitant candidacy fee of C500 million (GHC50,000) could separate the boys from the men, but as things would have it, it seems money was not a factor at all. The numbers rose to 24, but as we speak now at least 17 names are on the block.

The list include sitting Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Mr. Osafo Maafo, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, Mr. Alan Kyeremanteng, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, Mr. Hackman Owusu Agyeman, Mr. Felix Agyapong, Nkrabeah Effah Dartey, Papa Owusu Ankomah, Kwame Addo Kufuor, Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey, Dr. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Dan Botwe, Kwabena Agyapong, Professor Mike Ocquaye, Dr. Arthur Kennedy and Dr. Yaw Agyarko.

Speculations are that there are even more names in the pipeline. Well we live to see.

But the question that people have always asked in the advent of this long list of NPP presidential aspirants is 'how many of them have what it takes'?
Speaking of what it takes, we can probably find that out to some extent if we get answers to these 17 questions to the 17 aspirants.

First off Alhaji Aliu Mahama; I want to find out whether Alhaji honestly believes that after serving as a mere NPP bate to attract some northern votes for the party in previous elections, he stands the chance of winning the support of the largely Ashanti national delegates to bear the party?s flag for 2008.

How come everyone else sees that he was just used as bate but he alone and probably his friends who hope to cash in on his wishful presidency believe he could be NPP presidential candidate for 2008?

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has been described as probably the most apt replacement for President Kufuor. I am told some pastors have even prophesied about his presidency from January 2009. But I am worried over why Nana could not use his eloquence and brilliant legal brains to get some justice for the 44 Ghanaians murdered like fowls in Zambia. He had a brilliant opportunity as Foreign Minister to bring the Zambians to book but he failed woefully.

Nana how come you were able to set up a fast track court in your own country in a very short time to jail your political enemies and yet you have done virtually nothing about the murder of the 44 Ghanaians in Zambia. How can we be sure that as President you would defend the 22 million people of Ghana if you could not get justice for just 44 Ghanaians? And you had the nerve to talk about equal justice for all under your presidency, I beg your pardon.

Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey; Isha Allah! I wonder if he is being honest about his hopes for the NPP presidential slot given that he is Ga. I am not implying anything everybody does not know already. Is it not obvious how over time the Akan majority in the party has pushed people like Mr. Peter Ala Adjetey, Odoi Sykes and even Jake himself from all the sensitive and valuable posts in the party?

Moreover in recent times Otanka has been in bed with the Mormons, who are known to hold demeaning ideas about the black race in general and also for harbouring lots of America's CIA agents.

Jake facilitated the construction of the Mormon temple near Ako Adjei overpass in the name of tourism and the allegation is that his children were sponsored by the Mormons to school in the states. How can we be sure that his presidency would not bring in more CIA agents into this country, given the history of CIA involvement in the over throw of our first president? Even the mention of the Mormons and the secrecy surrounding their style of worship puts the shivers in most Ghanaians. Over to you Otanka

Kwabena Agyapong; It's a strange world. If not, how would people like Kwabena Agyapong come from a few years of presidential press secretaryship and want to be Ghana's president. We are talking about serious money, experience and leadership prowess here in a democratic setting.

I wonder where Kwabena falls; whether he has appealing leadership qualities, experience or money. May be he lined his pocket during his few years in the castle, if what Haruna Esseku suggested on the famous tape is anything to go by, or else someone is sponsoring him?

Speaking of sponsorship, I want to ask Kwabena when he would step aside for Sir Dr. Sam Jonah to take his place in the pageant. Yes, I gather from very reliable sources that Kwabena is only in the queue for Dr. Sam Jonah. Kwabena, the cat is out of the sack, come clean. And we have not forgotten the spin doctoring you did in the infamous IFC loan saga. How could you even think of being president, unless you think of this whole thing as a mere political game?

The mention of IFC loan naturally puts Osafo Maafo next in the line of fire. Question: how many more IFC loans do you have down your dirty sleeve when you are given the chance to be president - how can we trust that under your presidency we would not be misled headlong into crippling, suspicious and fraudulent deals like the IFC, CNTCI and others you are so ambitiously willing to sacrifice our future for? And how many more times would you blame all the bad moves your government made on others and take credit for all the achievements? Is that your idea of team work and team responsibility?

Alan Kyeremanteng is said to be the darling boy of the sitting president. But Osafo Maafo linked him to the CNTCI saga. Alan what do you have to say for yourself. Again, being allegedly the president?s favorite, what is the guarantee that under your presidency we would not still see the literally long arms of Kufuor in the affairs of the presidency, just like people are scared of the long arms of Rawlings in an Atta Mills presidency.

We would like Alan to tell us the truth about PSI, which seems to be the president's own scheme to facilitate his (Alan's) presidential ambition.

Dr. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the great heart surgeon who wants to go from fixing hearts to fixing the national economy. That seem to be a sharp contrast but many, including some NPP kingpins think he can do it. But my question is why did you choose to move the administration of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital into the new and spacious edifice at the entrance of the hospital when the emergency and accident wards lack enough space and facilities. ICU's in the hospital are eye sores and yet you chose to sit the administration in luxury.

That for me looks elitist because it means the administrative staff of Korle Bu are more important than the medical staff and the patients for whom the hospital exist and because of whom the staff has a job in the first place. The proximity of that edifice to the entrance and its spaciousness makes it perfect to house the emergency and accident wards but the good old professor prefers to sit in there for his comfort instead. I can only imagine whose interest he would seek when he becomes president. Answers would be appreciated.

Paapa Owusu Ankomah; you have been noted to be rude to the fourth estate of the realm; one wonders how accommodating you would be to the media when you become president. Indeed on all your campaign trips, you would expect the media to let the electorate know what you are doing, what you stand for and what hope you bring to them, unless of course you have another way of getting your message across without the media, you have to tell us about your tolerance level for the media.

Speaking of rudeness towards media brings Felix Owusu Agyapong to mind. Uncle Felix is not only rude to the media but also to his own colleague Members of Parliament. As majority leader, I have watched you often bully your way through with the help of the numbers you have on the floor of the house. Do you want us to believe that under your presidency participatory democracy and rule of law would prevail? We do have our doubts, especially when we are dealing with a bully. You need to allay our fears.

Again, don't you have integrity to tell the president to appoint a substantive minister for Transport instead of you acting for all these years? Is that you idea of good governance?

Nkrabeah Effah Dartey; some say he is out of the race but that is not the vibe I get at all. I do have questions for him. Did he think presidential election was comedy? He had better woken up to reality. Ghana is looking for people who are serious and would represent this nation with the most dignified outlook and integrity. We have seen your comedies in Parliament and we have heard you express your interest to defend drug dealers to get money to finish your project at Kasoa. Please Nkrabeah, you may have enough drug money to pay ?2 billion candidacy fee but obviously the word integrity means nothing to you.

Did you think we were fools to even consider voting for a potential legal counsel for drug dealers ? how could we win the fight against drug trafficking with someone like you as president? You had better quit.

Prof. Mike Ocquaye; Just to remind you that you are a Ga from Osu; Remember Ala Adjetey, Odoi Sykes and Jake; nothing more.

Who is Dr. Yaw Agyarko; apart from the fact that he is the Vice President of the New York Bank in the states and probably some financial contributions he might have made to the party over the years, who is he and how well do the NPP national delegates know him, much more the rank and file of the party and the authoritative floating voters in Ghana. Please doc, you may have made your contribution to the NPP in the past but Ghana is way, way, way bigger than NPP and the electorate who do not know you are far more than those who do so I suggest you just pack your tools and stay clear of the presidency for now. What do you say to that?

Dan Botwe; is it alright to say good old or good young Dan Kweku Botwe. Here is the man who made a living interacting with the rank and file of the NPP. In fact in his capacity as General Secretary of NPP, he was Chief Executive of the ruling party and oversaw two consecutive victories for the party in 2000 and 2004. That is a no mean achievement.

But sometimes some people forget that having power in your house is not equal to having people over all other houses in your community. There is no much space to analyze the many factors that contributed to NPP victories in 2000 and 2004 other than Dan's prowess. For instance the NPP former National Youth Organizer tried to be General Secretary of the party leaning on his contribution to the 2000 and 2004 victories of the party as part of his achievements, but guess what, he lost shamefully.

Dan, the people of Ghana want more than your contribution to the victory of your party in two elections; we have not lost our memory on your spin doctoring days as Minister of Information. We are waiting on you to convince us that you have more than just some organizing skills to win elections and again that you stand for the truth and not for half truths and under hand tactics like how you projected yourself as Information Minister.

Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor; you would have had a great advantage considering your Ashanti background but are you not worried that when you become president it is just like the tradition goes on; brother handing over the baton to brother. Like you called it, a dynasty? Please, why is it that everybody else sees how much your presidency is undesirable and you alone think it is a vision worth pursuing. The fact that you are convinced about something does not necessarily mean it is worth pursuing. The bible says all things are lawful but not all things are expedient. Doesn't that mean anything to you? Come off it buddy.

And who says your political competitors are inflaming your relations with the president for their advantage. Just as you claim to have been raised to be independent so have many Ghanaians and they do not need your competitors to tell them the obvious, which is that the president is your brother. In any case on one breath you are asking Ghanaian t ignore the fact that the president is your brother, but during your encounter with the media you kept referring to the president as 'my brother' instead of 'the president'. Akufo Addo referred to him as 'the president'; that is the difference.

Mr. Hackman Owusu Agyemang a.k.a. Mr. nkatie (groundnuts) burger, a.k.a. Mr. Ariel, my question is simply whether you are done contributing to the demise of the local groundnut and powdered soap industries and now you want to be president and even have greater power to kill more industries. Remember your own lessons at the last elections and know that Ghanaians know better than to vote for someone who makes wealth on the back of the demise of local industries and its attendant unemployment in the country.

You may have created jobs for people through the retail of nkatie burger and Ariel but the difference between a job and an employment is very clear. Over to you Joe Lartey!

Dr. Arthur Kennedy I think you are full of talk and you are taking advantage of every media speculation to score cheap political points. We are told of your achievements as a medical doctor in North Carolina but that is probably no where near what Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor has done and not different from Dr. Richard Anane and Dr. Edward Mahama. The suggestions are that you are only in the race to build your profile for a possible victory in the future. Talk to us about that.

Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku; I am told he also enjoys from prophecy that he would become president after Akufo Addo. Doc, did you really tell the pastor to change the prophecy for you to rise to the presidency ahead of Akufo Addo - What about the claim to be the owner of the NPP manifesto? how come the delegates dropped you so hard at the last national delegates congress?

But people, lets look at the bright side; all these people offering themselves to be president tell us we are not short of leaders in this country after all. We have a whole load of human resource we could depend on for the leadership of this nation. The more presidential aspirants there are the good for this country's future. Long live Ghana, long live democracy.



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