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Strong lobby for Akufo-Addo 2016 begins

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Nana Akufo-AddoThe Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr F. F. Anto, has begun what is likely to be a strong campaign for the retention of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2016 general election.

According to him, the so-called age factor which some people were using with the view to putting the experienced politician off was a non-starter.

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Mr Anto said the NPP would be better off taking their two-time presidential candidate into the 2016 elections, since he had the wherewithal to clinch the much-needed victory.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Kumasi yesterday, Mr Anto said he had been receiving calls from party leaders in some parts of the country which suggested that Nana Akufo-Addo should be impressed upon to contest  the flag-bearer slot again.

“The calls are coming to me every day and I think Nana Akufo-Addo would have to decide positively,” he said.

Following the Supreme Court’s judgement which dismissed the 2012 presidential election petition last Thursday, there had been calls from certain quarters on Nana Akufo-Addo to discard any intention of leading his party into the 2016 general election.

They argued that at 72 in 2016, he would be too old to lead the party to win the election.

The suggestion was that the NPP needed to field a younger person who could attract the votes.

But the Ashanti NPP Chairman disagreed and described the former presidential candidate as an astute politician with unquestionable pedigree whose age could never be a determining factor for voting in the next election.

Mr Anto said those who were arguing that Nana Akufo-Addo’s political period was over were living in the dark.

“It is only the uninitiated who will think that such a fine politician should retire. Indeed, I tell you without any equivocation that Nana Akufo-Addo is the right man for the NPP,” he said.

The regional chairman stated that there was nothing wrong in Nana Akufo-Addo contesting the next election at age 72, once he was physically strong.

“I can tell you that Nana Akufo-Addo is stronger than many of us who claim to be young. We should not think age means sickness,” he said.

“The man has amazing strength which anyone close to him would attest to,” he added.

Mr Anto stressed the need for the NPP to take a cue from the NDC, which presented Prof. Mills three times before he won the elections in 2008.

Professor Mills lost to Mr Kufuor in 2000 and 2004 before beating Nana Akufo-Addo in the run-off to become President in 2008.

But speaking on  Joy FM, the NPP National Chairman, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, said there was no provision in the party’s constitution that could debar any NPP member from contesting for the third time the party’s presidential slot.

He said the NPP was stronger after losing out in court because the common grievance of electoral fraud in the 2012 election was uniting the rank and file.

"There is a huge clamour within the party for Nana Akufo-Addo to run again in 2016,” Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said.

By Kwame Asare Boadu/Daily Graphic/Ghana