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NPP big shots divided over Akufo-Addo’s return

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would not hang his political gloves as some political pundits are predicting, following his announcement to take time to cool off the effects of contesting for the hot seat on two occasions.

The Chronicle can report authoritatively that the twice beaten presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will enter the ring in a last ditch effort to throw out incumbent Head of State John Dramani Mahama in 2016.

Of course, the one-time Foreign Minister of the Republic of Ghana, would have to first negotiate through the nomination process of the New Patriotic Party, which is searching for the winning formula after losing twice at the polls, and failing to get the backing of the nine-member Supreme Court panel to scupper the election of Mahama as the legitimate leader of the people of this country.

Those fronting the idea of Nana Addo for President are armed by their assessment that, currently, the son of the late President Edward Akufo-Addo, Head of State of Ghana during the Second Republic, is the most popular politician in Ghana.

They contend that the NPP would struggle to market a new presidential candidate, given the dire state of the economy of the party in opposition.

If Nana should run, it is clear that his running mate would be Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the economic guru who so distinguished himself during the election petition brought by three leading members of the NPP before the Supreme Court of Ghana.

Nana Addo’s backers are banking on using the period they hope to be in power, from 2016, to market Dr. Bawumia to stand on his own as the party’s presidential candidate in subsequent elections.

Within the party though, there is a grand swell of opposition against the twice beaten candidate throwing his hat into the presidential election ring for the third time. They do not question Nana Addo’s credibility, which they contend is impeccable. There are leading voices in the NPP against the 2012 presidential candidate going for the third time on two fronts.

They contend that the most visible face in the NPP, at 69, is getting on in years. By the time the next presidential elections are called in 2016, he would be 72, certainly the oldest to contest for the seat since the advent of the Fourth Republic.

They are of the view that at that age, Nana would not be that effective, given the dire economic state of the country, and myriads of problems bequeathed by the ineffective National Democratic Congress regime.

Party members against Nana Addo’s third term insist that the time has come for the party to look outside Asante and Akyem, and look for a suitable candidate accepted by the entire nation. The contention is for the party to begin marketing Dr. Bawumia right now to topple the Mahama regime.

The anti-Nana Addo for the third time are unhappy with a number of people they claim rode on the candidate’s back to secure leadership positions in the party, and the presidential and parliamentary campaign teams.

The contention is that the entire party structure needs to be overhauled, and that might not be possible with the return of Nana Akufo-Addo as the party leader and flagbearer.

Insiders complain bitterly that in both 2008 and 2012 presidential and parliamentary campaigns a lot of party resources were misapplied.

“In a number of orphan constituencies, for instance, all the parliamentary candidates needed were a bit of money and vehicles. Strangely, at a time most of these constituencies were struggling, people were misapplying party money, cars and motor-bicycles,” one insider complained.

He told The Chronicle that currently, people were mooting the idea of going for the presidential primary before the election of national executives. “That would never happen. The Constitution of the party is clear. Party structures must be put in place before the party goes to the polls to elect a presidential candidate. People want to ride on the back of Nana Akufo-Addo to remain in decision-making in the party, even though they, themselves, know that they are liabilities to the NPP leadership.”

He said the NPP took too much baggage into the 2008 and 2012 elections. “Apart from electoral manipulations, which obviously went against the NPP, we lost, because people failed to apply party resources properly,” one key member complained.