Surprises are anticipated as the New Patriotic Party (NPP) goes to the polls from today to Sunday to elect regional executives.
A lot of action is likely to go on in the Ashanti, Eastern, Bono, Central and Greater Accra regions where new entrants are seeking to unseat incumbents.
This has brought in its wake anxiety, tension and fear, which has gripped many of the party’s faithful and candidates as the party goes to the crunch polls.
Meanwhile, due to a last-minute injunction sought by five persons in the Ekumfi Constituency from a Cape Coast High Court to restrain organisers of the Central Regional conference from holding the elections, the conference will not come off in that region.
The tension has been brought about by the fact that the identity of some of the delegates, especially those representing the Council of Elders of the party in the region, the TESCON representative, the 10 patrons in the region, are not known to some of the aspirants.
But at its meeting last Wednesday, the Dan Botwe-led National Appeals Committee, directed that the photo album of delegates in the Ashanti Region, which issue came to the attention of the committee, should be given to all the aspirants by the close of yesterday [May 26, 2022].
Although the party was to hold the Ashanti Regional conference today, it has been shifted to tomorrow, May 28, 2022, while the venue has been changed from the Ashanti Regional Co-ordinating Council to the Baba Yara Stadium.
John Boadu - General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party
Whoever leads the Ashanti Region in the crunch polls will be expected to play a major role in the party’s bid to ‘break the eight’.
Therefore, whoever becomes the NPP chairman in the region, considered the ‘World Bank’ of the party, is of interest to not only the region but also the entire membership of the party.
The election comes against the background that the incumbent Regional Chairman, Bernard Antwi-Boasiako, had promised to deliver all the 47 parliamentary seats in the region for the NPP in the 2020 parliamentary election, but could not.
He had also promised to build a regional office for the party but has not been able to deliver that one too, leading to the accusation that he is running the party from radio stations.
He has also been criticised for his leadership style, which many feel is unorthodox, giving room for his opponents, especially his strongest contender, Odeneho Kwaku Appiah, to promise to help eliminate the creeping apathy in the NPP in the Ashanti Region to be able to help increase its votes in the 2024 elections.
In the 2020 presidential election, the NPP garnered 1,795,824 votes in the Ashanti Region, as against 1,646,949 in 2016, but lost ground with its parliamentary seats, as it won 42 in 2020, as against 44 in 2016.
While the party polled 752,061 votes in the 2020 presidential election in the Eastern Region, it got 678,482 in 2016, but lost ground in the parliamentary seats, as it garnered 27 in 2016 but 25 in 2020.
In the Greater Accra Region, from its presidential votes of 1,062,152 in 2016, it got 1,253,179 in 2020, while it reduced its parliamentary seats from 21 in 2016 to 14 in 2020.
Overall, while the NPP gained 55 extra seats in the 2016 parliamentary election, the party split the seats with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2020 election, with either party getting 137 seats, with one independent candidate.
In the Bono Region, the incumbent Regional Organiser, Konlaabig Rasheed, is challenging the incumbent Regional Chairman, Kwame Baffoe, popularly known as Abronye, using the abysmal performance of the NPP in the 2020 elections in the region as his campaign message.
The incumbent Regional Chairman for Greater Accra, Divine Otoo Agorhom, will come face to face with Alfred Boye, who says he is on a redemption mission to save the party in the region.
In the Eastern Region, Kwadwo Boateng-Agyemang, who resigned his position as the New Juaben North Constituency Chairman, will face off with Jeff Konadu Addo, as the incumbent regional chairman is not seeking re-election.
‘Breaking the eight’
All the aspirants have pledged to help’ break the eight’, but the new ones believe after a high performance in the 2016 elections and a slump in 2020, it is time for a change.
Since the inception of the Fourth Republic, neither the NPP nor the NDC has served more than two consecutive terms in power.
‘Breaking the eight’ is, therefore, an ambitious and Herculean task for the NPP which requires focus, unity and sound political strategy.
As of the close of nominations and vetting, a total of 480 candidates had been pencilled in to vie for the various positions in the 16 regions, with 10 such positions in each region.
The Ashanti Region has the highest number of aspirants — 39; while Volta has 36; Upper East, 34, with Savannah with the least number of 21 aspirants.
It is only in the Western Region that the incumbent Chairman, Mr Francis Ndede Siah, is contesting unopposed.
In the Upper East, six candidates are vying for the chairmanship, while Ashanti has five.
Per the party’s constitution, under Article 9 (25), the delegates to the conference include all members of the Regional Executive Committee, all the Members of Parliament in a region, the members of the constituency executive committees, all regional representatives of the National Council, the 10 members of the Council of Elders in a region, one TESCON member from each recognised tertiary institution in the region, the 10 patrons in the region and any founder member (s) from the region who is/are a signatory to the registration documents of the party at the Electoral Commission.
The party’s guidelines provide that the presence of at least one-third of the delegates shall be necessary to constitute a quorum of the conference.
Per the schedule of the party, eight regions, namely: Ahafo, Bono East, Central, Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East and Western North, will hold their delegates' conference today, May 27, 2022.
The Ashanti, Eastern, Greater Accra, Upper West, Volta, Oti and Western regions will take their turn tomorrow, May 28, with the Bono Region taking its turn on Sunday, May 28, 2022, at the Pastoral Centre in Sunyani.
While the Ahafo delegates conference will take place at the Oasis Hotel, Goaso, that of the Bono East will take place at the Kintampo School of Health, while that of the Northern Region will take place at the Tamale Stadium.
The conferences in the North East, Savannah, Upper East and Western North will take place at the Nalerigu Senior High School, the Damongo MP’s office, the GNAT Hall in Bolgatanga and the Pastoral Centre, Sefwi Wiawso, respectively.
The Cultural Centre in Koforidua will play host to the Eastern Regional conference; the Trade Fair Centre at La is the venue for the Greater Accra conference; with the Wa Secondary Technical Institute hosting the Upper West conference; while the Yabram Senior High School, Dambai, will host the Oti conference and the Nzema Manle Complex at Ampane, Ellembelle, will host that of the Western Region.
The Director of Elections and Research of the NPP, Evans Nimako, said the party was counting on the election committees to be transparent and fair to all aspirants to ensure the peaceful conduct of the elections.
That, he said, would ensure victory for the party in 2024.