While some members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) leadership are consistently calling for the heads of John Mahama, Afari Gyan, Akrasi Sarpong and other directors of public institutions for their inability to provide effective leadership in their areas of jurisdiction, it is quite unbelievable that some of them do not want to bow out in the upcoming NPP elections. Why are African leaders reluctant to relinquish power, even when there is a clear case of failure? No wonder those who have reached the retiring age are refusing to retire from work to enable others take over.
As a staunch member of this great party, I’m becoming more incensed by the recent actions of the Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey’s team. It is thus imperative for those of us who hold the NPP dear to stand up against the things we believe could hamper our chances in the 2016 general elections. For, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia had long posited that; evil could only triumph by the inaction, indifference, and silence of those who could have acted; known better, and had the voice of justice when it mattered most.
The NPP prides itself as the most democratic political party in Ghana, if not Africa. This could be seen in the way the party has conducted its affairs since its formation in 1992. For instance, the late B.J. da Rocha, and the late Prof. Albert Adu Boahen, who became the party’s Chairman and Presidential Candidates respectively could not secure the NPP, the needed political power in the 1992 general elections. As a result the two were replaced by the late Peter Ala Adjetey and John Agyekum Kufuor in 1996. However, these two personalities, together with their team also failed to win power for the NPP in the 1996 parliamentary and presidential elections. Though, the NPP increased its parliamentary seats from zero (0) to sixty-one (61) between 1997 and 2001.
As usual, agitations were rife for the leadership to be voted out for their failure to win us power. In particular, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who contested against J.A. Kufuor at the Sunyani Congress in 1998 had this to say, “Anybody who becomes the NPP’s presidential candidate has already secured 30% of the total valid votes. The rest, 20% plus 1, is what the candidate needs to work on to become the president. Failure to achieve this calls for a change in leadership.” Notwithstanding, J.A. Kufuor was maintained as the party’s flagbearer, but Mr. Samuel Odoi Sykes took over from Ala Adjetey aschairman of the NPP in 1998. He worked so hard to move us from 61 parliamentary seats in 1997-2001 to 102 seats in the 2001-2005 Parliament, and gave us the Presidency as well.
In view of this great feat, Prez Kufuor, by popular acclamation was retained as the NPP’s flagbearer for the 2004 elections. However, Odoi Sykes, who was given Ambassadorial position in 2001 was replaced by Mr. Haruna Esseku. The ‘controversial’ Harruna Esseku, also worked diligently to increase our parliamentary seats from 102 to 128 by the end of 2004 elections as well as winning the Presidency one touch. Mr. Peter Mac-Manu mounted the throne as Chairman and Nana Akufo-Addo as our Presidential Candidate, but unfortunately, our seats in Parliament reduced from 128 to 109. The NPP also moved from a ruling party to opposition party. The party that had won six (6) regions in 2000 and four (4) regions in 2004 at the presidential elections managed to win only two (2) regions in 2008.
Knowing that he had failed to deliver us power, Mr. Mac Manu never made an attempt to seek re-election. But, this man must be credited for the electoral reforms that took place in the NPP in 2009. A strategic, and former Campaign Manager, in the person of Mr. Jake Obestebi-Lamptey took over as party chairman. Thus, together with the most popular Candidate in our midst, a better Campaign Message, party unity, and the death of a sitting president 6 months to an election, it beggars belief why the NPP had to maintain only two (2) regions, lose more than 28 parliamentary seats, and finally lose the 2012 elections.
From the above, one would ask, do we need to call for a change in the NPP leadership? Why can’t Jake and his team do the honourable thing by not seeking any re-election? Can they learn from their predecessors? Why should any of them call for Afari Gyan to resign, when they don’t want to set examples by themselves? The other time, Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, our party chairman, argued that the NPP members are their own enemies simply because he had observed that the peace in the NPP was under threat. However, for more than a month after the Supreme Court’s infamous verdict, the Jake-led executive has not come out with the reasons for the NPP’s defeat in the 2012 elections. His interest, and that of most his colleagues lie in how to perpetuate himself in power as a National Chairman, and also impose a presidential candidate on the NPP.
Jake and others have made a proposal to have early congress to elect a flagbearer. As to which Electoral College would elect the flagbearer, we are yet to know from them. It is their belief that early congress would bring peace in the NPP and get all factions onboard for the task ahead in 2016. Whether this belief was based on any scientific analysis or proper research, we are yet to find out from the proponents. Jake has not been bold enough to call his party executives to order for their “sycophantic endorsements” on Nana Addo, the man who has even not made up his mind to contest the NPP’s flagbearer slot for 3rd consecutive time.
Admittedly, if we all believe that Nana Addo is the most popular person in both the NPP and Ghana as some people argue, why the rush for early congress? For me, things are getting out of hand in our party, and I think it’s time for some of us to hit the ground running in order to fix the rot in the party. Currently, I could observe that a number of NPP members are not happy with the actions and inactions of the party leadership. Yet, for fear of being politically victimised, they are behaving like ‘cowards’. They are afraid to talk and criticise constructively, because they believe the Akufo-Addo faction is more active on the ground. Therefore, there is a politically wise for such people to keep quiet for them to be seen as Nana idols. My advice to such people is that we should at all times try to be men of our own conscience so that we don’t fall prey to such cowardice, licking leaders’ boots for the sake of it.
Jake and his team could not secure us the needed political power. They do not therefore deserve to steer the affairs of the party again. It is as simple as that! The NPP needs proactive leaders who could foresee the rigging machinery of the Electoral Commission, and put a stop to it.
The signs of the 2012 electoral rigging were written boldly on walls for the party leaders to act swiftly. They simply failed us. Their inability to come out with a post moterm of the last elections, but rather concentrating so much on a ‘Thank you tour’, and who becomes the party’s flagbearer is an indication that the leadership has lost focus. Jake’s team is leaving people with suspicion and this has the tendency to create confusion within the party. If most of the current leaders were not going to seek re-election, that could be a different ball game, but for now, I suspect foul play. If the pre-occupation of the party's leaders is the preservation of their positions in the party and how to impose a candidate on the NPP, they will do well to have a second thought. They may have their way today, but the end will be determined by the thumbs of NPP members and Ghanaians in December 2016.