A New Patriotic Party (NPP) member has staked his claim to contest the Atwima-Kwanwoma Constituency in the Ashanti Region as an independent candidate despite personal appeals from the party’s flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to him to desist from going independent.
Dr Ernest Opoku, a medical practitioner with the Accident and Emergency Centre of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), who did not contest the party’s recent primary, says he is responding to the appeals from the elders in the community as well as calls from NPP and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) members to provide quality leadership.
However, in a sharp rebuttal, the Atwima-Kwanwoma Constituency Organiser of the NPP, Mr Joseph Osei Tutu, has called the bluff of Dr Opoku and urged members of the party to ignore him and concentrate on increasing the voter turnout and total votes for the NPP parliamentary aspirant, Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi, and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
He explained that Dr Opoku was not even a voter in the constituency but had his vote at Kwadaso.
Nana Akufo-Addo, who visited the constituency recently, urged Dr Opoku to sit with the regional executive, headed by the Regional Chairman, Mr Bernard Antwi-Bosiako, to iron out all differences “because we do not want any independent candidate in next year’s election”.
Surprisingly, Dr Opoku did not apply to contest the NPP parliamentary primary in June this year, neither was he disqualified from doing so.
Dr Appiah-Kubi won with 302 votes, while his closest contender, Mr Amankwah Manu, secured 277 votes.
Dr Appiah-Kubi was first elected as MP for the constituency in 2008.
Explaining why he was contesting the seat as an independent candidate to the Daily Graphic, Dr Opoku said he was approached by some elders of the community, NPP and NDC leaders and supporters to lead them in the constituency.
He said it all started immediately after the NPP primary; when he was inundated with calls and visits by people who believed that he would be a better candidate than the incumbent whom they accused of leaving the constituency behind.
He alleged that after two terms in office, Dr Appiah-Kubi had performed woefully in seeking development projects for the area and executing same with the MP’s Common Fund but could mobilise enough resources to pay huge sums of money to delegates to vote for him at the primary.
Dr Opoku, who also doubles as the Chief Executive of the Red Hill Medical Centre in Kumasi and once served as the Director of Communications for the Asante Kotoko Football Club, said he had been overwhelmed by the increasing number of supporters he continued to have in the constituency.
During his recent ‘Rise and Build’ tour of the Ashanti Region, Nana Akufo-Addo called all parliamentary aspirants and those who contested and lost to the front and made them to hold hands and in the full glare of the gathering admonished them to bury all differences and work in unity.
This, he explained, would ensure that the party engendered a high voter turnout leading to 80 per cent votes for the NPP to enable it to claim all the 47 parliamentary seats in the region.
After the symbolic gathering and gestures, Nana Akufo-Addo called out the individual names of almost all the parliamentary aspirants, especially those who beat incumbent Members of Parliament (MPs) and the names of others in areas where there exist some grievances and charged them to bury their differences for the benefit of the party.
He charged those who have been elected as aspirants to take the lead role in bringing all members of the party together to execute the 80 per cent votes and 47 seats agenda to assume the reins to bring about accelerated development and relief to the people of Ghana.