Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (right) paying homage to Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (right) paying homage to Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene
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Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh unveiled as NPP running mate

At a carnival atmosphere in Kumasi, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) upped the campaign stakes with a rally attended by thousands of supporters at the unveiling of Manhyia South Constituency Member of Parliament (MP), Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, as the party’s running mate for the December general election.

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With the entire party machinery in assembly and a sea of red, white and blue at the Jubilee Park, the event put a seal on all intra-party contests ahead of the December 7 polls.

Party big shots consequently called for unity towards the prosecution of the electoral campaign, with Dr Prempeh, who is also the Energy Minister, urging the electorate to “vote for Dr Mahamudu Bawumia for the sake of your future”.

Earlier, the party introduced the Manhyia South lawmaker to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at a colourful durbar at Manhyia.

Jubilee Park

At the party rally which started at about 3 p.m. and ended just before 6 p.m., Dr Prempeh expressed gratitude to Vice-President Bawumia for the opportunity to serve as his running mate and said digitalisation, credited to the party’s flag bearer as a major strength, “is the future of the world”.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the NPP ticket contained the perfect pair, a blend of many different competences and characteristics, and two personalities who could deliver another electoral victory for the party.

The National Chairman, Stephen Ayesu Ntim, urged the party faithful to bury their differences to realise the electoral objective, while the Ashanti Regional Chairman, Bernard Antwi Boasiako, aka Chairman Wuntumi, declared that “what is left is to win the 2024 elections”.

The event portrayed a party forging unity after an acrimonious presidential primary that caused big frictions among the rank and file, and saw one-time major candidate for the party’s flagbearership, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, leave to pursue an independent agenda.

Up to today, many of those who stood with the former Minister of Trade and Industry remain outside the party, travelling the length and breadth of the country with their new leader campaigning for votes.

But the party still assembled almost everyone that mattered in its internal affairs yesterday, with Assin Central MP and flagbearer aspirant, Kennedy Agyapong, leading a line-up of fellow contestants in the presidential primary.

That group contained former MP for Esikado Ketan and Minister of Railways, Joe Ghartey; former General Secretary, Kwabena Agyei Agyapong; former Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Osei Afriyie Akoto, and Kwadwo Poku, who made his name for his knowledge in energy matters.

The Assin Central MP, in particular, stirred excitement when he mounted the podium to declare support for the party ticket. “With unity, we will break the 8,” he said, referencing the party’s clarion call to break the cycle of eight-year rule as experienced in the Fourth Republic.

Indeed, it was Mr Agyapong who had given Dr Bawumia the biggest run for his money. During that process, he was famous for saying he would give Dr Bawumia a “showdown” when passions reached their limits.

Now drafted into the campaign frame, he stated that he remained committed to the cause of the party. Dr Bawumia subsequently declared that the party was “now a well-oiled machine for the 2024 campaign”.

Manhyia

At the Asantehene’s forecourt, the durbar scheduled to start at noon was delayed for close to three hours due to bad weather, which delayed the presidential flight. That notwithstanding, the chiefs who were seated before noon and other party supporters who had thronged the Manhyia Palace, patiently waited for the team.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu advised his grandson, Dr Prempeh, not to let the NPP regret selecting him as a running mate. He said his nomination as the running mate to the presidential candidate of the NPP, Dr Bawumia, was good news to the Royal House and he exhorted him to be humble and take directives from his boss and not to do anything that would make the presidential candidate rue his choice.

Otumfuo said though reports were making the rounds that he was disrespectful and arrogant, it was his belief that Dr Prempeh would change that notion.

Introduction

The Asantehene gave the advice when President Akufo-Addo introduced the presidential candidate of the NPP and his running mate to him at the special durbar of chiefs organised for that purpose.

Otumfuo urged the Manhyia South lawmaker and Minister of Energy not to lend credence to the rumours about his attitude but to support his candidate to achieve their objective of leading the country.

As a person he raised, Otumfuo Osei Tutu doubted that Dr Prempeh lacked respect for people and was arrogant. He said he had entrusted his kin into the care of Dr Bawumia and asked the latter to inform him whenever Dr Prempeh erred to enable him to advise him.

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Otumfuo said Nananom would continue to pray for them and urged them to tell their story of achievements as did others to elicit the support of Ghanaians.

The Asantehene said it was only when they told the people of Ghana what they had been able to do in the last two terms in office and the plans they had for them that the people would be convinced to renew their mandate.

Purpose

In his address, President Akufo-Addo said he had almost exhausted his term of office and there was the need to elect a new candidate to lead the party in the next election.

Consequently, he said the party elected Dr Bawumia at its congress last year and when it was the turn of the presidential candidate to select a running mate the lot fell on the royal, Dr Prempeh, who was unanimously approved by the National Council at its meeting last week.

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As custom demanded, the President said, it was appropriate that he came to introduce them to the Asantehene and seek his blessings for them.

Perfect pair

President Akufo-Addo praised Dr Bawumia for the support he enjoyed from him while serving as his vice. He said he was lucky to have a Vice-President who was very supportive and dedicated to his work and expressed the belief that the electorate would benefit a lot from his leadership.

President Akufo-Addo also emphasised his belief that the Dr Bawumia and Dr Prempeh pair would develop the country better than he had done.

He said the success of the Free SHS Policy was all due to his role as the Minister of Education and prayed the people would reward their hard work by renewing the mandate of the party.

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