The incumbent Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Bernard Antwi-Boasiako, aka Chairman Wontumi, will contest the party’s regional primaries unopposed after his close contender, Mr Robert Asare-Bediako, decided to opt out of the race about two weeks to the election.
When it was initially rumoured that Mr Asare-Bediako, who has been the Asokwa Chairman for over two decades, had stepped down, he denied the claims but less than a week later, he came out to confirm that he had opted out of the race.Follow @Graphicgh
The National Officer in-charge of the Ashanti Region election, Mr F.F. Antoh, confirmed the withdrawal of Mr Asare-Bediako to the Daily Graphic and said all was set for the 800 delegates to converge on the Ejura Agriculture College to elect regional officers who would steer the affairs of the party for another resounding 2020 victory.
Chairman Wontumi, who is credited with leading the party to victory and increasing both popular votes and parliamentary seats in 2016, is also building a huge regional edifice to be used to honour the memory of Nana Baffuor Akoto, one of the leading figures of the party in the region who passed on to glory in 2002.
Mr Antoh told the Daily Graphic that all was set for the elections which would be addressed by some leading members of the party and government officials, adding that the contest would be used to once again exhibit the unity and readiness of the party to win the 2020 elections by a larger margin.
He said the party had completed all arrangements with the Electoral Commission to ensure a free, fair and transparent internal regional election.
Apart from Chairman Wontumi who is going unchallenged, all other incumbents in the race are facing keen competition in an election that has produced what can be described as very little or no acrimony, although with very high stakes.
The incumbent Women Organiser, Nana Ama Ampomaa, is being challenged by Ms Beatrice Owusu in a region that produced the highest votes and Members of Parliament (MPs) for the NPP to secure victory in the 2016 general election.
A very popular Regional Secretary, Mr Sam Pyne, who initially was said to be going unchallenged had to grapple with a contest from Christian Atta Sarpong whose claim to be very popular enough to unseat Mr Pyne has been described by some supporters of Mr Pyne as just a mere political talk.
Five persons are contesting the position of deputy secretary. They are Frank Antwi-Boasiako, Kwame Adom Appiah, Kabore Moro, Raymond Oppong Boateng and Daniel Donkor.
The MP for Nhyiaeso, Mr Kennedy Kankam, who used to be the Regional Organiser, resigned when he officially picked forms and commenced campaign to unseat the former MP for the constituency, Dr Richard Anane.
In his stead, Mr Stephen Amoah was appointed as the acting Regional Organiser for the electioneering and he was also appointed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC). Currently, five members of the party are contesting for the organiser position.
They are Francis Adomako, Enock Kwaku Boateng, Felix Appiah Gyenfi, Daniel Boateng and Oscar Riches, an Assembly Member in the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly.
The Youth Organiser, Mr Justin Koduah Frimpong, who led the party’s youth activities and mobilisation to victory was appointed the CEO of the National Youth Employment Agency (YEA) by the President but no one was appointed to the caretaker position.
The fresh faces that are vying to fill his shoes are Dennis Kwa, Raphael Patrick Sarfo, Nelson Owusu, Michael Ofori Akuoko and Ohemen Ian Moore.
The following are contesting for the position of first vice chairman: Abubakar Ibrahim, Henry Osei Kwabena, Kwabena Nsenkyire, Mohammed Bashiru-Tujali and Patrick Acheampong, while the second vice position is being contested by Akwasi Acheampong, Samuel K. Cudjoe, Frank Bona Aboagye, Baffuor Kojo Asiedu and Mary Gambrah, who is the only female in the race apart from the two contesting the women organiser position.
Those competing for the Nasara coordinator position include Salim Mansuru Bamba, Alhaji Hallaru Kumasi, Coach Khamid Sulemana and Alhaji Abdul Iddrisu. The rest are Fawaz Abdul Ganiyu, Zakaria Osman and Mohammed Abdul Hamid.