An aspiring Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Robert Asare-Bediako, has stated that he is still in the race and committed to unseating the incumbent Regional Chairman, Mr Bernard Antwi-Bosiako.
He noted that though it had been rumoured that he had stepped down from the race due to pressure from some powerful hands, “I wish to make it clear to the teeming people in the region who are ready and are yearning for my administration that I am still in the race.”
Mr Asare-Bediako would not want to be engaged in claims and counterclaims that he had been impressed upon by the top hierarchy of the party to withdraw from the race to allow Chairman Wontumi to contest the position unopposed.
“My brother, I am currently in Obuasi meeting some delegates. My campaign has not halted and I assure you that I will emerge as the chairman of this region for our great party. This is an intra-party election and I intend to ensure that we come out stronger and more united than ever before,” he told the Daily Graphic.
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During the Easter festivities, some members of Mr Asare-Bediako’s campaign team reported that he was not contesting the position again after some “big men in Accra” told him not to challenge Chairman Wontumi.
According to the Daily Graphic sources, though some party bigwigs at the national level and some Members of Parliament in the region were insisting that Mr Asare-Bediako should call the big men’s bluff and work to unseat Chairman Wontumi, he will contest.
Currently, Mr Asare-Bediako has been locked up in a marathon meeting with some of his supporters and campaign team after his return from “the trip where he was impressed upon to step down by the big men in Accra”.
The source said “the big men” in Accra believed if Mr Asare-Bediako contested the incumbent Chairman, he was likely to beat the incumbent and that was exactly what they were trying to avoid because Chairman Wontumi must be allowed to reign for a second term.
No turning back
Prior to the current development, the two have been meeting delegates before picking their forms about a fortnight ago. Though tempers are high among the Asare-Bediako Campaign team, he will not succumb to the local pressure to turn his back on the “big men in Accra”.
Sources close to the Mr Asare-Bediako Campaign, who is described as the longest serving constituency chairman because he was first elected in 1994, till this year when he did not contest the constituency position again, confirmed that some powerful people in the party had impressed upon their candidate to step down and allow the incumbent to go unopposed.
The source told the Daily Graphic that if Mr Asare-Bediako succumbs to the pressure and bow out, it would be a great disappointment to a lot of people who threw their weight behind him and were yearning for a change.
Mr Asare-Bediako declared his intention to enter the race last year which brought some excitement to the race especially with his pledge to give Chairman Wontumi a good run for his money.
Mr Asare-Bediako, who until recently was Constituency Chairman for Asokwa, said he was entering the race to win handsomely and inject professionalism in the running of the affairs of the party in the region and engender transparency to ensure that those whose jobs have been carved out for them by the party’s constitutions did exactly that.