The Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua, is bustling with political activities and last-minute manoeuvrings as the New Patriotic Party (NPP) holds its 26th annual delegates’ conference to elect new officers to lead the party.
The national annual delegates’ conference is the supreme governing body of the party and is held once every year, at least four weeks after the last of the regional annual delegates’ conference.
In all, 6,000 delegates have converged on the venue , Koforidua Technical University (KTU), to decide the fate of 41 candidates vying for various national positions in the party.
Later this morning, all the candidates who have been given the green light to contest the poll will be presented to the delegates at the conference for a decision to be taken on them through the ballot.
Koforidua comes alive
The rather quite Koforidua municipality has come alive, as there is unusually heavy vehicular traffic on the streets, with the arrival of delegates, aspirants and sympathisers of the party.
Some drivers honked their vehicles impatiently as they remain in the 'go slow'.
The KTU is currently charged as aspirants and their special assistants try to pull last minute 'magic' to carry the day.
The Daily Graphic has so far spotted aspiring Youth Organiser, Mr Sammy Awuku, General Secretary, Mr John Boadu, Mrs Agnes Asangalisa Chigabatia, and Madam Joyce Zimpare.
The median of the Kasadjan road which leads to the Koforidua Technical University, where the event will take place is replete with billboards, banners and posters of different shapes and sizes. One thing that is common with all the advertising materials, however, is the NPP colours of blue, red and white.
It is nearly impossible now to find accommodation in any of the big hotels in Koforidua. Currently, the most popular hotels in Koforidua are Eastern Premier Hotel, Capital View Hotel, Bedtime Hotel and Partners May Hotel have all been fully booked.
The General Manager in charge of the Eastern Premier Hotel, Mr Frederick Otoo, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that his 52-bed capacity hotel was fully booked two months ago and paid for.
The KTU has turned into a buzzing market where participants can easily shop for food, drinks, clothes, especially smock, NPP paraphernalia, including wrist bands, earrings, hats and caps, and scarf.
At about 8:30 a.m. when the Daily Graphic visited the place yesterday, some traders were busily fixing their tents to set up.
At about 11:30 a.m., however, virtually all the traders had settled and were in brisk business.
Madam Akos Amankwah who is selling water is optimistic of tripling her sales by the end of the conference.
The make-up of delegates
Meanwhile, the delegates to decide the fate of the candidates are made up of all members of the national council, all members of the national executive committee, regional executive committees and constituency executive committees, 15 members of the national council of elders, and 12 delegates from every external branch.
The rest are one Tertiary Students Confederacy (TESCON) representative from each recognised tertiary institution in the country, 15 patrons elected from within themselves, founder members across the country who are signatories to the registration documents of the party at the Electoral Commission (EC), all Members of Parliament (MPs) and all party members who are ministers, deputy ministers and metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives.
Per Article 10 (2)(4) of the Constitution of the NPP, “The presence of at least one-third of the delegates of the conference shall be necessary to constitute a quorum of the conference.”
The conference will deliberate and make appropriate resolutions on the national chairman’s statement, the general secretary’s report, the national treasurer’s statement of accounts and any other matters.
It will also instruct the General Secretary and the National treasurer to file the appropriate annual returns to the EC and elect national officers.
Conference activities and theme
The conference will be in two parts. The first part will be devoted to speeches; a statement from the leader of the parliamentary group, a statement from former President Kufuor and an address by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Afterwards, the National Elections Committee will conduct the elections under the supervision of the EC.
The party will have its 26th national delegates’ conference on the theme: “Building a Stronger Party; Delivering Prosperity to Ghanaians.”
The choice of the theme is based on the fact that the party recognised the need to build and strengthen its structures to become more formidable in order to sustain power to deliver prosperity to the Ghanaian people.
Consequently, the 2018 conference is dedicated to the election of national executives for the positions of Chairman, Vice Chairman, General Secretary, Organiser, Treasurer, Youth Organiser, Women’s Organiser and the Nasara Co-ordinator to steer the affairs of the party for the next four years.
On security arrangement, the Eastern Regional Police Command said it had mapped out strategies to manage the security in and around Koforidua during the three-day conference of the NPP.
The Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police, (DSP), Mr Ebenezer Tetteh, said as part of the strategy, 1,000 personnel of which 600 were from the Eastern Region had been deployed to vantage locations, especially, hot spots to maintain the peace and order before, during and after the conference.
Day and night patrols
According to DSP Tetteh, the 600 personnel had been stationed at the Koforidua Technical University, where the elections would be held.
"Aside that, we have deployed our men across the length and breadth of the municipality and they are required to carry out day and night patrols", DSP Tetteh stated.
According to him, at least 10 officers had been deployed to schools and hotels where delegates would lodge.
"We have deployed at least 10 officers to all the schools. Pope John's Senior High School, however, has more police personnel as more than 2,000 delegates are lodging there".
“Currently, students of the Pope John's SHS have been asked to go home so the facility is available”, DSP Tetteh explained.
He expressed the hope that the conference would be successful in view of the fact that the party was effectively collaborating with the Eastern Regional Command.
DSP Tetteh further stated that to ensure maximum protection of all participants, the police would strictly ensure that only people with accreditation got access to the grounds.
Additionally, the police, he said, would also scan all participants with accreditation to ensure that no one concealed anything.
Rules of engagement
The Secretary to the NPP Elections Committee, Mr Evans Nimako, said the candidates were thoroughly vetted prior to their approval.
The National Elections Committee, chaired by the Most Rev. Dr Asante Antwi, thoroughly vetted the aspirants and reminded them that the rules of the game still applied.
The committee also urged the aspirants to conduct their campaigns in a manner that was in strict conformity with the rules and regulations governing the conduct of the national officers’ elections and the party’s constitution.