…as he directs delegates to support ‘Gestapo Blay’
Push has come to shove for Mr. Stephen Ayesu Ntim, in his battle of wills with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over the Chairmanship race of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
For defying the President’s expressed desire that he withdraws from the race so that the election would be a cakewalk for the Acting National Chairman, Freddie Blay, Mr. Akufo-Addo has informed Ntim that his defiance will cost him an arm and a leg.
Details of a meeting between President, Nana Akufo Addo and Mr. Ntim reveals the latter was told to the face that if he wins to become national Chairman, he will not be allowed to sit in Cabinet meetings of the Akufo-Addo government.
Party Chairmen sitting in Cabinet meetings, is a privilege that has traditionally been accorded NPP chairpersons whenever the party is in power. The threat was also an open attempt to warn that Ntim would be removed the same way indefinitely suspended Chairman, Paul Afoko, was removed, if he wins.
Sources say when President Akufo-Addo delivered the news, he had done so stoically to a shocked Ntim, who is also battling ‘moneycracy’ from his main opponent, Blay. Freddie Blay is openly buying votes with 275 buses that he has purchased to be supplied to all the 275 constituencies of the party on condition that he is elected Chairman.
As the NPP holds its national executives elections in two days time, on Saturday, at Koforidua, the Blay camp has taken delivery of hundred out of the 275 buses and dangled them tantalizingly before the eyes delegates. As the buses sit at the Tema port, the message is that, ‘you will get it, if you vote for Blay.’
On the unleveled playing field for the NPP’s Chairmanship race, Stephen Ntim has also faced discrimination from the NPP’s main media mouthpiece, Daily Guide, which has refused to run adverts furnished it by Mr. Ntim. Daily Guide belongs to Freddie Blay.
President Akufo-Addo’s blow below the belt in the battle of wills with Ntim comes as he grapples with eggs on his face from the party’s recently completed constituency executives election. All the Candidates that President Akufo-Addo supported lost.
The sweeping loss, which has since been indicative of the fact that a stranglehold that he has been having on the party is slipping, also forced the President’s preferred Candidate for the national Chairmanship, Alhaji Abubakari Abdul Raman, alias Alhaji Short, to withdraw from the race.
Alhaji Short, who was the Upper West regional Chairman of the party had been picked by Akufo-Addo for the national Chairmanship race in the President’s bid to use him as mascot to diffuse his notoriety as an ethnocentric Akan supremacist who views the NPP as a bona fide Akan heirloom, over which a Northerner can never be leader.
In particular, the President’s hands had been forced to go for Alhaji Short because of a palace coup that he and his camp had led against former Chairman, Paul Afoko, whose election had made him the first and only Northerner to be Chairman of the NPP.
Paul Afoko was removed over his refusal to allow Akufo-Addo and his family use the NPP as a cash cow for themselves. The way he was removed was that he was indefinitely suspended.
With the removal dovetailing Akufo-Addo’s reputation as a hard line Akan supremacist, he aimed to make Alhaji Short Chairman so that that image would be diffused a bit, but the crystal ball from the Constituency elections foretold massive defeat for Alhaji Short.
Every candidate that Akufo-Addo had supported in the constituency election had been defeated. Flagstaff House would also find out that Alhaji Short did not have enough cachet and support from even the three Northern regions, let alone at the national level.
Consequently, Alhaji Short was advised to step down so that President Akufo-Addo could concentrate on making Blay, a man who is willing to dirty his hands for Akufo-Addo, to become Chairman.
Interestingly, the support for Blay is an about turn by Akufo-addo. The President had initially asked Blay to withdraw from this same Chairmanship race so that the President could support the candidature of Alhaji Short.
At that time, a misinformed Akufo-Addo had thought Alhaji Short had enough clout that the President could push further with his own cachet. And so, President Akufo-Addo had started a chess game in which Blay would withdraw for Short in the Chairmanship in exchange for the position of Speaker of Parliament. Current Speaker, Prof. Mike Aaron Oquaye would be made to resign on health grounds.
The elderly Oquaye, who has annoyed the President greatly with his presumptuous anti-gay rhetoric however refused to resign for Akufo-Addo. The President could have stirred up the Majority in Parliament to volley some dirty scandal on Oquaye and start a bandwagon to get him out. However, the Speaker was saved by the crystal ball from the Constituency elections. It became clear to Akufo-Addo after that election that Alhaji Short would be a wrong horse to back.
With Freddie Blay as a potential saving grace, the President is now using every dirty trick in the book to scare out Stephen Ntim. Among others, Ntim was only recently accused of secretly meeting the sacked national Chairman, Paul Afoko, to strategize with him.
Afoko is generally disliked by the NPP, an association of Ntim with him was a deliberate attempt to paint the man as a snake who consorts with party enemies. Mr. Ntim’s Campaign Manager, Kofi Kapito, also appears to have been cowed by Flagstaff House.
The man has refused to condemn open bribery by Blay, claiming it is an internal party issue. Kapito, who was a member of the amorphous Occupy Ghana group which lamented from the rooftops when Burkinabe contractor, Kanzoe, supposedly bribed former President John Mahama with a Ford Four Wheel drive in order to get a contract, claimed on Accra based Radio Gold on Thursday that the buses that Blay is supplying is preparing to supply to the constituencies are not even real buses.
In that Radio Gold interview, Kofi Kapito who is a popular consumer rights advocate refused to describe Freddie Blay’s bus supply for votes as corruption, saying he did not want to say anything to harm the image of his beloved party.
Interestingly, his position was totally contrary to that of his boss, Stephen Ntim, who had a day before, held a press conference and urged delegates to receive whatever bribes Blay gives them but not allow the bribes to influence their votes.
Meanwhile, as all the drama is going on, President Akufo-Addo has offered an interview to a group of newspapers including national broadsheet, Daily Graphic, the Ghanaian Times and the NPP’s main mouthpiece, Daily Guide, and committed them to a timeline to print for Friday.
In the interview, the President claimed that he has no favorite in the race and that he will support any of the candidates who emerges victorious. However, in the same interview, he did a subtle pitch for Blay by asking that delegates vote for people who worked to make the NPP win the 2016 election from opposition.
Blay was controversially, the acting national Chairman when the NPP won the 2016 election.