As the cradle of political activism in Ghana, one would have thought that the Central region had overcome petty political squabbles but that seem far from over.
Its enviable meekness appears withering with escalating political tension and apprehension.
The political uproar heightens as the New Patriotic Party (NPP) gears to elect its new Regional Executives to steer the affairs of the Party in accordance with its constitution.
There are stemmed aversions enveloped by fear and panic among many aspirants as they wait in suspense for the much anticipated polls. From initial verbal exchanges largely on radio stations, the political hostilities which have turned into invectives and mudslinging have gone viral on social media, aggravating the existing charged political atmosphere.
The unfortunate campaign excesses and anxiety were exacerbated when some aggrieved members of the Party in Ekumfi on Wednesday, May 25, secured a Cape Coast High Court injunction to prevent the party from organizing its Regional Delegates’ Conference scheduled for Friday, May 27 at Dunkwa-on-Offin.
According to the Court, the applicants, Edward Armah, Ransford Bosomtwe, Albert Ackon, Razak Nurudeen, and Mohammed Iddrisu insisted that the incumbent Central Regional Chairman, Mr. Robert Kingsford Kutin Jnr. and other electoral committee members failed to discharge their responsibilities to ensure that an election was organized in the Ekumfi constituency.
Dr Essibu has been accused of instigating the infamous Ekumfi court case but has denied any involvement and reiterated that no amount of distractive and vile propaganda will change his focus, and the confidence reposed in him by the rank and file of the party to lead them in the region.
On the other hand, Mr. Kutin has also been accused by his political opponents for not running an open door administration, a charge he has also vehemently disputed and rallied collective support to develop the region.
Furthermore, some party bigwigs have affirmed their unwavering support to some aspirants, something many political pundits have criticized due to its impact on party unity and cohesion after the election.
Leading Dr Essibu’s campaign are; Mr Thomas Yaw Adjei-Baffoe, former Deputy Central Regional Minister, Mr Horace Ekow Ewusi, former Regional First Vice-Chairman, Mr Yaw Adomako Baafi, former Deputy National Communication Officer among others.
Also, Mr Benjamin Kofi Ayeh, former Deputy Minority Chief Whip, who initially declared his intention to contest the Chairmanship slot has surprisingly declared his unflinching support for Dr Essibu.
Mr Ayeh who is a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Upper Denkyira West in his resignation letter, said, “I feel delighted to endorse Dr Essibu a.k.a ‘ideal‘as the next regional Chairman of NPP in region. He has demonstrated dynamism and efficiency in his duties since joining as a Constituency Secretary.”
For Mr Kutin’s side, Mr John Ntim Fordjour, MP for Assin South and Deputy Minister of Education and Mr Ebenezer Appiah-Forson, the Municipal Chief Executive of the Upper Denkyira East have openly declared their support for Mr Kutin.
Mr Fordjour, who doubles as the campaign Manager for Mr Kutin praised him highly for his commitment to empowering and equipping polling stations, electoral areas and constituency campaign teams, which resulted in the transformation of the party in the region.
In all, a total of 30 aspirants are vying for various portfolios with six females contesting 10 vacant positions. For the positions, three are contesting for the first Vice-Chairman position, two for Second Vice, Secretary, two for Youth Organizer and two for Organizer positions.
Likewise, four aspirants each are contesting for the Assistant Secretary and Treasurer with three aspirants vying for the Women’s Organizer and two for Nasara Coordinator slots.
Nonetheless, the most sought after position is the Chairmanship slot being keenly contested by two of the party’s stalwarts, Mr Kutin, the incumbent and Dr Joseph Kobina Essibu, former Regional Treasurer and an entrepreneur.
It is imperative to note that Mr Kutin is an epitome of hard work and experience whereas Dr Essibu represents a mix of the grassroots with high integrity, transparency, dynamism and hard work.
Since becoming the leader of the party in the region in 2014, Mr Kutin has contributed enormously to the huge success and high performance of the party across the region.
True to the projections ahead of the 2018 delegates’ conference, Mr Kutin was elected the Chairman of the Party in the region, beating his rival, Mr Ben Ayeh.
Mr Kutin’s greatest achievement include leading the party to two successful elections in 2016 and 2020.
In 2016, the NPP took 19 seats leaving four seats for the NDC – Ajumako Enyan Essiam, Komenda-Edina Eguafo Abrem, Twifo-Atti Mokwa and Ekumfi constituencies, all considered traditionally pro-NDC constituencies.
For the 2020 elections, the NPP’s seat reduced from 19 to 10 as the NDC increased theirs from four to 13.
The party’s presidential candidate in the election, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, won decisively with over 52 per cent of the valid votes in the region, a feat many described as “an impressive performance by all standards, ”despite losing nine of its seats.
Dr Essibu’s credentials
Anyway, for Dr Essibu, he is banking his high hopes on his solid financial mobilization drive, coupled with his excellence in human relations, grassroots mobilization and philanthropy.
Dr. Essibu joined the party in 1992 and has been credited for strong students’ mobilization and a back door financier, supporting 1000s of party faithful to pay for school fees, hospital bills, libraries and other urgent issues.
He become the financial Committee Chairman for the region in 2014 and as a treasurer elected by delegates, recording the highest number of votes in the primaries in 2018 at Kasoa.
As a unifier, Dr Essibu on countless occasions has called on the rank and file of the party in the region to desist from misinformation and forge ahead in unity. That, he said, was to enable the party to remain solid to retain power in 2024.
Mr Richard Takyi Mensah, the incumbent Secretary told the GNA he was hopeful to retain his position because the delegates knew his worth and would do more if given the nod.
He declared his readiness to work selflessly, transparently, and be accountable to the party and appealed to the delegates to vote for him to deliver.
Mr Joseph K. Donkor, a first Vice Chairman aspirant, called for unity and peace to break the eight agenda by the party and encouraged them to vote for competent leaders who would engage the grassroots for victory in 2024.
Ms Sarah Afful, Regional Woman Organizer aspirant, implored party executives to reward hard work, loyalty, commitment and achievement and resist any tendencies of being deceived by people who were only poised to win elections just to occupy positions to serve their parochial interests.
“The welfare of party members, particularly women will be a major priority and that will be so conscientiously discharged in all magnanimity to ensure that both grassroots executives are adequately resourced and empowered to have the sound mind to continue sacrificing for the fortunes of the party,” she assured.
Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Chairman of the Regional Vetting Committee in an interview with the Ghana News Agency urged all aspirants to eschew insults and forge ahead in unity as they were one party to achieve the common goal of winning the 2024 elections.
Mr Kwaku Asiamah, who is the Minister of Transport, wished all the aspirants well and reminded them to always put the party first in all their endeavours.
The Central Region, a well known swing Region, is celebrated for being “a politically no nonsense Region” which votes according to the performance of the party in power.
This regional election will go a long way to determine the chances of the ruling party in the next general election in Ghana’s notable swing region.