The campaign team of Alhaji Abubakar Abdul-Raman, popularly known as Alhaji Short who is contesting in the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) national chairmanship race has launched a verbal attack on Mr Stephen Ntim for suggesting that he [Alhaji Short] was not known in the party.
In an audio recorded at a meeting, a voice said to be that of Mr Stephen Ntim suggests to party supporters in Koforidua that he [Ntim] has been asked by President Akufo-Addo to step down from the race to allow Alhaji Short to go ahead and win the national chairman position.
In the audio, the voice goes ahead to say it was worrying that after all the sacrifices for the party [in 2014] and when it had become glaring that Ntim was going to win in Tamale, one person got up to pronounce that Fred Oware should be voted for and it went ahead to destroy everything and created an unrecoverable cost for Ntim.
He said he [Ntim] was initially supporting Alan Kyerematen but later followed and supported President Akufo-Addo and so if it is time for him to contest as national chairman, it was surprising that he was being asked to step down for the unknown Alhaji Short who he said has never contested the position in the past, to become the national chairman.
According to him, the proposal was very disheartening since it was the fourth time he [Ntim] was contesting and that he would go ahead and contest, “and I am going to win and I will work with the President [Akufo-Addo] after winning, whether he will work with me or not, I don’t care, I will work with him.”
When I win, I will go to him and say Nana, here is the ‘silver cup’, “I’m coming to work for you, that is what I will do, I’m not going to fight with my president, that is my lifelong political ambition.”
He went ahead to suggest that if care was not taken, if he doesn’t get it, the preferred choice may not also get it and it could turn into something else.
“He [President Akufo-Addo] should back off, I am not going to be an Afoko, I’m going to be another chairman to oversee the winning of 2020, and 2024 irrespective of who will be the presidential candidate, that is my commitment to you, I am not fighting for anybody but fighting for my heart's desire,” he said in the audio.
Alhaji Short's response Monday evening
Alhaji Short who seemed not happy with the allegation and reference to him as not known has through his campaign spokesperson Mr Kwabena Marfo responded and debunked that notion.
In a radio interview monitored by Graphic Online on Accra based Class FM Monday evening after the said audio had been played on air, Mr Kwabena Marfo said the issue of the audio recording came to the attention of the Alhaji Short campaign team more than three weeks ago and they initially decided not to comment on it.
However, “For a couple of days now, a lot of people have been asking us [Short team] that listen, Mr Ntim has been calling us (NPP supporters) on one on one, saying the President has asked him to step down for Alhaji [Short] who is not known well in this party.
“Most of the time when they call, I don’t comment on it and I tell them that is ok, just leave it how it is,” Mr Marfo added.
He however insisted that Alhaji Short was a “mature politician… who is more known than Stephen Ntim in this party. Stephen just joined us in 96. When we started NPP ask Stephen Ntim, where he was, wasn’t he in Canada? '92 Alhaji Abubakar Abdul-Raman was with us, he organised the party in Upper West even then for the late Prof Adu Boahen, so how could you say this man is not known in the party.”
Asked whether President Akufo-Addo has indeed asked certain people vying for some positions in the party to step down for others to go ahead, Mr Marfo said he would not know about that.
“That I don’t know, that I can’t know because I had not been sitting in front of the President and he calling other people to step down, so if you ask me that, my brother, I can’t give any specific answer on that. What I know is about Alhaji Abubakar Abdul-Raman, Alhaji Short.”
He said President Akufo-Addo was a democrat and “he believes in democracy… lets go and let the masses chose the popular amongst them, he believes in that so when people are making those statements that the President has asked them to step down, well I haven’t heard directly from the President so I can’t talk anything about it.”
When he was asked to comment on speculations that Alhaji Short was President Akufo-Addo’s favourite, Mr Marfo responded: “Listen, Alhaji Short has been in this party since 92 and he has been contesting seriously in Upper West and whoever stands with him or contest with him, he makes sure he wins that person so why is he coming into the national and he doesn’t want anybody to contest him, my brother.
He said Alhaji Short was not the loud type and it was his intention to turn the second strongest hold [Northern Ghana] of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) into an NPP strong hold..
He added that through his effort, Upper West has been able to “win 5 strong Parliamentary seats and added more votes to the Presidential, these are the kind of people we need”
Insisting on why Alhaji Short will win against Stephen Ntim, Mr Marfo said “He [Ntim] told Paul Afoko he was going to win and win massively, look at what happened in Tamale, even Paul Afoko who knew nothing about politics, came in and won over him.”