The New Patriotic Party (NPP) last Saturday moved a step further in its preparation towards the 2016 general election when it successfully conducted elections in all the 10 regions to elect its regional officers.
The regional elections came after the party had concluded elections in 275 constituencies to elect polling station and constituency executives.
The election of new national executive for the party will take place on March 1,2014.
Nominations for the positions are scheduled to open, today.
The national executive elections will be the last hurdle for the party to complete its reorganisational efforts and then elect a presidential candidate to lead the party into the 2016 general election.
About 5,000 delegates cast their votes at 10 voting centres across the country for 267 candidates who contested the various regional positions.
Rose Hayford Darko & Benjamin Xomam Glover report from Tema that the atmosphere was relaxed when the 33 candidates vying for various positions were given two minutes each to address delegates prior to the start of voting.
After the elections the incumbent Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the party, Mr Ishmael Ashitey, polled 344 votes out of the 550 votes cast to retain his position for another term.
His main challenger, Mr George Isaac Amoo, obtained 205 votes.
One ballot was rejected.
The election was Supervised by the Greater Accra Regional Office of the Electoral Commission (EC), led by Mr Alex Poku-Akubia.
A third candidate for the chairmanship, Nii Akwei Addo, withdrew from the contest some few minutes before voting.
In all, 575 delegates from 31 out of the 34 constituencies in the region accredited to vote took part in the election.
Delegates from three constituencies, namely, Krowor, Okaikoi North and Okaikoi South, could not participate in election because of a court injunction secured by some members of the party to prevent them from holding constituency elections.
The newly elected regional party executives were sworn into office by Mr Ben Annan, a founder member of NPP in the Greater Accra Region.
The election of a chairman for the Ashanti Regional branch of the NPP ended in a landslide victory for the young party philanthropist, Bernard Antwi-Boasiako, over his older and more politically experienced opponent, Kwame Osei Prempeh, a former MP for Nsuta-Kwamang-Beposo, last Saturday, reports Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor from Kumasi.
Antwi Boasiako, also known as Chairman Wontumi, polled 559 votes, as against 209 by Mr Osei Prempeh, to win the much coveted regional chairmanship of the party.
One ballot was rejected.
In all, 769 delegates from 44 out of the 47 constituencies in the region voted.
Three constituencies where the party is yet to hold constituency elections could not take part in the regional congress. They are Atwima Kwanwoma, Ejisu and Nsuta-Kwamang-Beposo.
Even before the election got underway, it was obvious from the cheers received by the candidates when they were introduced that it was a done deal for Chairman Wontumi.
Later, in his victory speech, Mr Antwi-Boasiako thanked all party members and supporters for their support and pledged to work assiduously to ensure victory for the party in 2016.
Mr Osei-Prempeh,who conceded defeat, pledged his support to the party and the newly elected chairman and promised to work with him for progress.
The other newly elected executives are Abdul Raul, First Vice-Chairman; Madam Beatrice Serwaa Derkyi, Second Vice-Chairman; Samuel Pyne, Regional Secretary; Manaf Ibrahim, Assistant Secretary.
The others are Regional Treasurer, Zeinabu Sallow; Regional Organiser, Kennedy Kwasi Kankam; Nana Ama Ampomaah, Regional Women’s Organiser; Regional Youth Organiser, Justin Kodua, and Nasara Coordinator for the Ashanti Region, Mohammed Abdul Hamid.
From Takoradi, Akwasi Ampratwum-Mensah & Andrew Tetteh reported that 451 delegates from the 26 constituencies in the Western Region participated in the elections held in the auditorium of the Takoradi Polytechnic (T-Poly), which saw Mr Kofi Atta Dickson Nketia, aka Kendicks, dethroning the incumbent regional chairman, Nana Owusu Ankomah, in the race.
The 55-year-old chief executive officer (CEO) of a pharmaceutical company in Takoradi polled 285 votes as against the 124 secured by Nana Ankoma, with Mr Joseph E. Payne, the third contender, obtaining 41 of the ballots in an election conducted by the Western Regional Office of the EC.
In all, 32 candidates vied for the positions of regional chairman, first and second vice chairman, secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer, organiser, women's organiser, youth organiser and Nasara coordinator.
In a short post-election address, Nana Ankomah conceded defeat wholeheartedly, noting that “what is important is that in 2016 the NPP comes to power because it is the only group willing to secure power from the National Democratic Congress (NDC)”.
For his part, Mr Nketia indicated that there was no winner and loser in the election and that what was important was for all members of the party to unite and rally solidly behind the new executive members towards a resounding victory in 2016.
Brong Ahafo Region
From the Brong Ahafo Region, Asiedu Marfo reports that the NPP successfully elected its 10-member regional executive to run the affairs of the party in the region for the next four years at the regional delegates' conference in Sunyani.
Thirty-one candidates vied for positions in the keenly contested election.
The incumbent Regional Chairman, Mr Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh, polled 259 votes to beat his three opponents —- Messrs Kwame Twumasi Awua,
Kwadwo Yeboah Fordjour and Mr Joseph Adjei, who stepped down at the 11th hour.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Cheremeh called on all the candidates who lost to come together to campaign vigorously to win the 2016 general election.
Upper West Region
From Wa, Michael Quaye reports that the seemingly bitter campaigning session leading to the election, ended positively when the victor and the vanquished pledged support for each other after peaceful polls that elected new executive members for the part in the Upper West Region.
Incumbent Alhaji Abdul- Rahman Abubakar was re-elected for a third term as regional chairman for the party, but stated upon being officially declared the winner that “the true winner today is the NPP.
“If I had my way, I will stop the celebrations regarding my victory. But even if we decide to celebrate, it should be in moderation and for the entire party.”
Alhaji Abubakar beat challengers Alhaji Toyiba Mahama and Ishak Gaaba Dapilaa who polled 63 and 39 votes respectively in the main contest that had attracted interest and attention in the region.
Gilbert Agbey reports from Agona Swedru that the Central Regional conference to elect regional officers of the NPP was held at the Town Hall in Agona Swedru.
The election, which was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., was delayed until 12:30 p.m.
At the end of it all, the Chief Executive Officer of Allship Company Limited, Mr Robert K Kutin, was elected the new Regional Chairman of the party.
He polled 346 votes to defeat his only challenger, Mr Eustace Kumi Bruce, who obtained only 65 votes.
In an address after the new executives had been sworn in, Mr Kutin thanked the delegates for the confidence reposed in the new regional leadership of the party.
Upper East Region
In Bolgatanga, the regional delegates conference of the party to elect officers for the region was temporarily held up for almost one hour due to the ineligibility of delegates from the Bongo Constituency to take part in the election, reports Alhandu Abdul-Hamid.
The Deputy Upper East Regional Director of the EC, Mr Azu Boscos, said since there was an injunction on the Bongo Constituency election, delegates from that constituency could not be eligible to vote.
The Council of Elders of the party in the region, as well as the regional election committee and delegates from the Bongo Constituency, had to meet behind closed doors to resolve the problem.
After extensive consultations, it was decided that the delegates from the Bongo Constituency should not be allowed to vote.
At the end of the election, Mr Adams Mahama, a known contractor and confidante of the late Vice-President Aliu Mahama, emerged as the Chairman of the party with 153 votes.
From Tamale, Zakaria Alhassan and Samuel Duodu report that the 62-year-old businessman cum contractor, Mr Daniel Bugri Naabu, was third time lucky last Saturday when he emerged from a very competitive contest as the new Northern Regional Chairman of the NPP.
The outspoken contractor beat the incumbent Northern Regional Vice-Chairman, Alhaji Rufai Yahaya Iddi; a former Northern Regional Secretary of the party, Dr Clifford Braimah, and the incumbent Chairman, Alhaji Haruna Tia Sulemana, to the position.
In all, 39 candidates vied for the nine positions of the party in the region.
Mr Naabu, who was elated by the outcome of the election, entreated his fellow contestants and the rank and file of the party to join hands to work hard to ensure the growth of the NPP in the region.
Kofoya-Tetteh reports from Koforidua that a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Akwatia, Mr Kinston Kissi, is now the new Eastern Regional Chairman of the NPP.
He beat his only challenger, Dr Samuel Yaw Annoh, the incumbent, by 361 votes to 229 to carry the day in the election which was very peaceful.
Shortly after the new executive members had been sworn into office, Mr Kissi, on behalf of his colleagues, asked the rank and file of the party to consider the event as victory for the NPP but not for individuals.
He gave an assurance that they would do their best to ensure NPP victory in the 2016 general election and called for support from all members of the party.
A 42-year-old energy policy analyst, Mr John Peter Amewu, was elected the new NPP Volta Regional Chairman in a keenly contested election held last weekend at the Ho Polytechnic auditorium.
Mr Amewu, who is a former Hohoe District Chief Executive, beat a former Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, and Mr Julius Kwami Ametefe.
The first vice-chairman position was won by Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, while an educationist, Madam Esther Ejeani, was elected second vice-chairman, with the position of secretary going to Mr Joseph Homenya.
The post of assistant secretary went to Mr Joshua Makubu, while Mr Makafui Woanyah became the regional organiser.
Madam Akua Sika Nkansah emerged the women's organiser, with the position of youth organiser going to Mr Maxwell Lugudor.
The position of treasurer was won by a former Nkwanta District Chief Executive, Mr Joseph Dentey, while the Nasara coordinator was won by Hajia Fuseini.
In a victory speech, Mr Amewu declared that the end of factionalism in the party in the Volta Region was in sight and that the victory was a new dawn for the party to chart a fresh course for victory in the 2016 elections.
He said the party continued to make geometric growth in the region, an indication of the hard work of past executives, and called on party members to work harder and come together as a team to win power.
Delegates from the Keta Constituency were restrained by a court injunction from voting.