Contrary to speculations that the outcome of the New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) Tamale delegates’ conference signals a shift in presidential candidacy of the party, pollster Ben Ephson believes things will remain the same.
In fact he says the chances of the two-time presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have been enhanced by the outcome.
A native of Builsa in the Upper East Region, Mr. Paul Afoko, won the Chairmanship of NPP at the weekend in Tamale, with Kwabena Agyepong toppling incumbent General Secretary Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie.
Both, known allies of flagbearer hopeful Alan Kyerematen, Messrs Afoko and Agyepong are said to be strategically placed to influence the process for Mr. Kyerematen to win the NPP’s presidential nomination for the 2016 elections.
Baah Acheamfour, Communications Director of another flagbearer hopeful, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, said the almost total overhaul of the party executive is an indication of the trend in the opposition party.
He said the delegates of the NPP understand that the two electoral defeats (2008 and 2012) suffered by the NPP were attributed primarily to the leadership.
Delegates of the NPP “want a fresh face and a total overhaul and they have finished with about four or five important steps; it is left with one and they are going to add it up,” he stated.
But Aide to Nana Akufo-Addo, who has declared his intention to seek a third opportunity as flagbearer, Mustapha Hamid laughed off Mr. Acheamfour’s prognosis.
He said the delegates know full well who can win power for them and it is Nana Akufo-Addo.
Mr. Hamid dismissed suggestions that Messrs Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong will work to project the interest of Alan to the disadvantage of Mr. Akufo-Addo.
“I don’t know Paul Afoko too closely but as for Kwabena Agyepong, I’ve known him from 1992 and I know him closely; he knows what time it is and he knows how to play his game and he understands the party’s constitution. Believe me, he is an independent person, he is fair-minded and he is resolute and these are the characteristics that he is going to bring to the job. I don’t think he is going to come pandering to anybody’s whims and caprices. No, no, that is not Kwabena Agyepong at all,” Mustapha stated.
He believes the new NPP General Secretary will be a fair arbiter in any flagbearer contest. “I don’t think that Alan Kyerematen or Akufo-Addo factors have anything to do with the jobs that they have come to do; they understand their mandate and believe me, they are going to act according to that mandate."
He said those who rejoice over the outcome of the Tamale conference should “campaign hard, convince the delegates that we are better with a new face rather than just sit down and assume that because the old executive lost, Nana Addo has lost.”
Mr. Ben Ephson agreed.
He said the combined votes of Akufo-Addo backed candidates in the conference completely reduce the victories by his perceived opponents to insignificance.
He is willing to bet on Nana Akufo-Addo’s victory which he said is almost certain.