The 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who was initially expected back in Ghana on Thursday January 27, 2014, has cancelled any such plans indefinitely, DAILY GUIDE can confirm.
Nana Addo?s deferred return to Ghana is bound to scuttle the expectations of party members and other interest groups that have planned massive welcome parties for the NPP leader.
Sources have hinted that Akufo-Addo is reluctant to come to Ghana now because he wants to steer clear of the intense factionalism currently dogging the party, in the run-up to its regional and national elections for party executives.
The latest social media post by close aide to the NPP leader, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko has further given credence to speculations that Akufo-Addo may have deferred his return to avoid complicity in the internal wrangling of the party.
On his Facebook wall, Gabby stated, ?I?ve heard a lot of moves to welcome Nana Addo?s return on January 27th, two days after the regional elections of the NPP. Encouraging. But, really, considering he has been able to keep himself out of all the internal jostling for positions and the big one is due March 1, is there not a case for him to continue same way and stay put to return after March 1st? Fostering unity is key, let him maintain his distance to the end, if you ask me. An extra six weeks away may do more good and no harm.?
However, speaking to DAILY GUIDE in a telephone conversation Wednesday, Akufo-Addo?s spokesperson, Mustapha Hamid, while officially confirming the cancelled travel plans, said the opposition leader was forced to cancel his planned return to Ghana after three months of sabbatical in Europe because some of his important appointments in Europe had been postponed.
?Now it is official, he is not coming on the 27th, and the reason he is not coming on the 27th is that he was hoping to wind up with some pre-arranged appointments that he had, which were all going to terminate this Friday but unfortunately, a lot of those engagements had been postponed?.those people have had other engagements and therefore had had to reschedule the appointments with him so in that respect, he is unable to leave those appointments and come back to Ghana?.
Given these reasons, it has become more unclear when Akufo-Addo would return to Ghana because the regional elections of the party would be held on Saturday January 25, while the national intraparty elections are scheduled for March 1, 2013.
?It is postponed for sure but I am unable to tell you the new date. He would communicate a new date to us when he winds up his appointments,? stated Mr. Hamid who indicated that the rescheduled appointments were the ?paramount reasons? for Akufo-Addo?s deferred return to Ghana.
Mustapha Hamid however concurred that Akufo-Addo might also have been influenced by the need to stay out of the internal jostling in the party and wait in the wings till the dust settles in the party.
??A lot of people were also advising him and saying ?do not come and be part of the national [elections] so that people don?t attribute you to this candidate or that candidate??Maybe it was a thought he was considering, but now that his appointments have made it impossible for him to come, I guess we can only say thanks be to God.?
Even though the reason for Akufo-Addo?s long sojourn in Europe has been explained that he wanted to take a short break from active politics to give him some time to compose himself, there are speculations that he is indeed globetrotting, seeking international support for his 2016 presidential bid.
But his aide dismissed this assertion, saying, ?We said that first of all, the primary reason he went to Europe was to take a rest, and then secondly, we?ve also said that he is writing a book which he intends to publish in the next few years, so he needed time off and absolute quiet to be able to write the book. Those are the two paramount reasons why he went to Europe.
?On speculations as to whether he is seeking support or not, what I can say is that I don?t know what support any foreigner can give him because our electoral laws are very clear on what kind of support foreigners can give to our local politics. Maybe you can only talk in terms of help in terms of strategy, planning and things that have to do mainly with the brain, but nobody can give him material support; our electoral laws don?t allow that??
Meanwhile, Mr. Hamid has hinted at Nana Addo?s intention to contest for the third time, the flagbearership of the opposition party. ??Knowing who Nana Addo is, I guess that chances are that he would run. The likelihood that he would run is greater than the likelihood that he would not run,? Mustapha Hamid told DAILY GUIDE.
This hint is likely to put paid to speculations about Nana?s decision on the NPP flagbearer position in the party?s forthcoming National Delegates Congress.
Currently, there are a number of key NPP personalities who have indicated they would run for the party?s presidential slot; top among them is former contender John Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen and the Member of Parliament for Subin, Isaac Osei.
According to Mr. Hamid, Nana?s intention was borne out of popular sentiments for him to run again on the party?s ticket. ??He is somebody who likes to listen to majority opinion within and outside of the party and I can see that the majority of the sentiments within the party is that he should run.?
It is expected that Nana Addo would officially make his intention clear upon arrival in the country at a currently unknown date.
By Raphael Ofori-Adeniran