NPP super delegates conference: 4 Cruise into Nov. 4 - Run- off to decide last slot
Per the predictions of various surveys, the Special Electoral College Election of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) hardly produced any surprises as the party last Saturday scaled the first hurdle towards selecting a presidential candidate for the 2024 general election.
It is now certain that Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong; a former Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, and a former Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, are the candidates for the November 4, 2023, showdown after emerging tops in that order from the list of 10 candidates.
Dr Bawumia had the biggest endorsement, securing 629 votes, representing 68.15 per cent, while Mr Agyapong had 132 votes, representing 14.30 per cent.Mr Kyerematen secured 95 votes, which represents 10.29 per cent, while Dr Akoto had 36 votes, representing 3.90 per cent.
Last Saturday’s election, however, fell short of producing a fifth candidate as required for the final round of the process, as a former Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, and the former MP for Mampong in the Ashanti Region, Francis Addai-Nimoh, secured nine votes each in fifth place.
The Chairman of the Presidential Election Committee of the party, Prof. Mike Oquaye, said if neither of the two tying aspirants threw in the towel, the party would go for another election on Saturday, September 2, this year to break the tie to bring the number to five as required by the party’s constitution.
The Vice-Chairman of the committee, Kwabena Abankwa-Yeboah, told journalists that the election to break the tie for the fifth candidate would be held across all the 17 voting centres in the country, with the 956 delegates voting to decide.
At the close of events last Saturday, Kwabena Agyapong had six votes, representing 0.35 per cent; Joe Ghartey, four votes, representing 0.34 per cent; Kojo Poku, three votes, representing 0.32 per cent and Kofi Konadu Apraku, had no vote, effectively losing their presidential ambition, at least on the ticket of the NPP in 2024.
The four-hour election passed off almost smoothly, with pockets of incidents recorded at some of the voting centres as tensions sometimes reached boiling limits.
In one of the incidents, a video emerged of Mr Ohene Agyapong fuming over supposed mistreatment of one of his polling agents and promising to give the Vice-President “a showdown”, while some party figures also went viral with accusations and complaints about the process.
Meanwhile, Dr Bawumia has described as humbling the endorsement he received at last Saturday’s polls, reports Chris Nunoo.
He has consequently expressed appreciation to the rank and file of the party for the "emphatic nature" of his election among the top five candidates expected to contest the November 4 presidential primary.
He said that was a step towards winning the flagbearership of the party but acknowledged that there was more work to be done.
Dr Bawumia, who was speaking to journalists at his residence at Cantonments in Accra after the declaration of the results by the Electoral Commission (EC), said the main event was the December 2024 election, and urged party faithful to unite to break the cycle of the eight-year reign by the NPP and the National Democratic Congress since the advent of the fourth republic.
"We all have to keep in mind that what we are working towards is a win in December 2024 for the NPP and, therefore, break the ‘8’.
“This will require a lot of unity among ourselves as a party and among all the various flagbearer hopefuls, and so it is very important as we go on this journey towards 2024 that we do not have a situation where there are cracks in our ranks.
We have to close our ranks all the time, and work together," Dr Bawumia said.
The National Campaign Coordinator of Dr Akoto’s camp, Peter Oteng Darko, expressed gratitude to the party elections committee for doing “a marvelous job”, adding that the Electoral Commission conducted an election he never saw in the country.
He said the election was meant to select five for the November flagbearer primary, “and so, to us, position (in last Saturday’s race) does not matter”.
“The result from yesterday’s election is just like more people want Dr Bawumia to contest and not that he is first.
That is the real interpretation of the outcome of the election,” Mr Darko said.
He said the electoral college was not representative of the delegates for the main election.
“The other thing is that the number that voted in the Super Delegates Conference is manipulable, and officialdom came into play.
“The votes that we saw outside is not a true reflection of the party’s decision because a lot of things went on since we cannot rule out intimidation because people voted out of fear,” Mr Darko added.
He said “the mere fact that majority want Dr Bawumia to contest does not mean they want him to lead”, adding that in the November 4 election, it would be difficult for anyone to control the over 200,000 electorate, stressing that “the main election will be on November 4”.
In interviews monitored by the Daily Graphic, Mr Kyerematen’s spokesperson, Hopeson Adorye, said what was important was to be a part of the main decider on November 4, and that the positions of the candidates in last Saturday’s polls were not necessarily a big issue.
The elections were conducted across 17 polling stations in the 16 regions involving 956 delegates.
The delegates comprised the National Council, National Executive Committee (NEC), regional executive committees, members of the National Council of Elders, Members of Parliament, three representatives of each of the special organs of the party, past national officers, three representatives each from every external branch (27 branches in all), and founder members at the registration of the party at the Electoral Commission (EC).
The Special Electoral College system was introduced by the party after the 2007 primary in which 17 aspirants contested the flagbearership for the 2008 general election.
The party subsequently amended its constitution to accommodate not more than five persons for the flagbearership contest, with the new format applied in the processes towards the 2016 general election.
During the polls, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, immediately after casting his ballot, expressed confidence in the discernment of the delegates to ultimately elect a leader capable of guiding the party and the nation through the prevailing challenges.
"It’s difficult, I’m the first to admit it.
I have said it several times, but at the end of the day, I believe when the moment comes, Ghanaians will reflect on who is best to get us out of this difficulty and take us to the next stage," he said.