Blay Chairs NPP …As Ntim Loses Fourth Time
The much-awaited 26th National Delegates Conference of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), has ended at Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital, with the election of Mr. Freddie Blay as the substantive national chairman of the party.
In a keenly contested national chairmanship race, Mr. Blay polled 3,021 votes to beat his closest rival, Mr. Stephen Ntim who polled 2,515 votes. A third contestant in the race, Dr. Richard Amoako-Baah, also polled a miserable 18 votes.
The contest, dubbed ‘continuity versus change’ by political observers, saw Mr. Ntim coming fourth-time unlucky in his 12-year bid to become national chairman of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition. It also put to rest, claims in certain quarters that Freddie Blay cannot win the full trust of the party.
About 6,000 delegates of the party gathered at the campus of the Koforidua Technical University for the election that elected other new national executive members.
The other personalities elected into national executive office at the conference include: Rita Talata Asobayire (1st Vice Chairperson), F.F. Anto (2nd Vice Chairman), Michael Kwasi Omari-Wadie (3rd Vice Chairman), John Boadu (General Secretary), Sammi Awuku (National Organizer), Kate Gyamfua (Women Organizer), Henry Nana Boakye (Youth Organizer), Abankwa Yeboah (Treasurer) and Abdul Aziz Futah (Nasara Coordinator)
Ahead of the conference, Blay was widely criticized for personally procuring 275 buses for all the party’s constituency offices across the country.
This generated a great deal of controversy, with opposition political parties and civil society organizations, including his closest contender, Stephen Ntim describing it as vote-buying. Others asked the Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) to investigate the source of funding of the buses.
Both Freddie Blay and Stephen Ntim accepted the election results and thanked the delegates for making their decision.
Mr. Ntim who is losing the opportunity to serve the party in that capacity for the fourth time said ‘It is unfortunate that I have failed once again in my bid to serve to the party as National Chairman, but I remain loyal.’
Meanwhile, the President has congratulated the newly elected national officers of the NPP.
“I congratulate warmly the new National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Mr. Freddie Worsemawu Blay, Ellembelle Blay, and the other national officers,” he said in a congratulatory statement issued yesterday.
He also praised the party “for the efficient and successful manner in which the election of new officers, who are to steer the affairs of the party for the next four years, was conducted.”
“We have shown, once again, that we are the Party that has an abiding faith and belief in multi-party democracy.”
The conference, dubbed; “NPP: Building A Stronger Party, Delivering Prosperity To Ghanaians”, attracted representation and solidarity messages from the People’s National Convention (PNC), United People’s Party (UPP), Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), National Democratic Party (NDP), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Conservative Party of UK.
Nearly every key member of the NPP, including President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, former President John Agyekum Kufuor, ministers of state and members of parliament attended the conference.
Speaking to the party immediately after, President Nana Akufo-Addo said his government is currently focusing on interventions for the ordinary Ghanaian, because he believed strongly that economic growth had to be broad-based, if it was to be meaningful.
“The third aspect of our concentration, these last 18 months, has been to improve the structure of our governance. We have begun to take the steps towards the radical reform of local government – the pledge to bring full democracy to local government is on course. We have scheduled the Referendum to remove the entrenched clause of Article 55 of the Constitution to permit direct popular election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to coincide, for reasons of cost, with next year’s District Assembly elections. We are in the midst of the process of regional reorganization to accommodate popular demand for the creation of new regions to bring governance closer to the doorsteps of the people”, he stressed.
For his part, Majority Leader in Parliament, Hon. Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, said the House would start discussing the Right to Information Bill (RTI) by next week.
By: Bennett Akuaku