Joe Ghartey, MP for Essikado Ketan and one of the aspirants in the Sunday New Patriotic Party (NPP) Special Delegates? Congress,?has dropped out of the party?s main?flagbearership elections to be held in October.
Mr Ghartey, a former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, who is currently the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, was one of five aspirants who qualified for the second phase of the NPP primaries after the party?s Super Delegates? Congress, which reduced the number from seven contestants to five.
He secured 22 votes, representing 2.9 per cent of the total votes cast to place third in the contest, with two-time flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, receiving overwhelming endorsement as the preferred candidate to lead the NPP again for the 2016 polls.
However, the Essikado-Ketan MP in the Western Region has categorically stated that he would no longer contest in the October 18, 2014 election for the NPP presidential slot, having consulted with his family and supporters.
About 141,000 delegates are expected to elect one of those who qualified in last Sunday?s special election as a flagbearer to lead the party in the 2016 general elections at a grand congress scheduled for October 18.
Speaking on SKYY FM in Takoradi, Mr Ghartey indicated that he was voluntarily exempting himself from the main flagbearership election and congratulated Nana Akufo-Addo for a well deserved victory.
He stressed that the fact that he had opted out of the race did not mean he was not going to work for the party to win the next general elections.
?We are all going to work for the NPP to come back to power in 2016,? he affirmed.
On whether he was going to implore the other candidates to also follow his footsteps and allow Nana Addo to go unopposed, the MP answered in the negative, indicating that he was not the spokesperson for the other aspirants.
?I set a target before the special congress but I did not reach the target so I have decided to opt out. But let me state that I?m ready to work in any capacity for the party to clinch victory in 2016,? he said.
Commenting on the decision made by the Essikado-Ketan MP in an interview with DAILY GUIDE, Charles Bissue, Western Regional Secretary of the NPP, said Mr Ghartey?s move was in the right direction.
He indicated that having realised that Nana Akufo-Addo was the preferred choice of the delegates, even in the upcoming congress on October 18, it was good for Mr Ghartey to honourably step down.
?In fact, he has made Western Region proud and has earned the respect of many for deciding to step down after placing third in last Sunday?s special election,? Mr. Bissue added.
Some members of the NPP after the resounding victory by Nana Akufo-Addo in last Sunday?s election, have urged the rest of the aspirants not to contest Nana Addo on October 18.
According to some elders within the party, the rest of the aspirants should rather in the spirit of unity and democracy, willingly endorse Nana Akufo-Addo to go unopposed.
NPP Overseas Branches Plead ??
The overseas branches of the NPP have also asked the other presidential hopefuls?Alan Kyerematen, Francis Addai Nimoh and Kofi Osei-Ameyaw?to step down for Nana Akufo-Addo.
According to them, the high number of votes secured by Nana Addo in Sunday?s exercise was a clear indication of the will of party members.
Nana Akufo-Addo in last Sunday?s elections polled 598 votes out of 740?ballots cast, representing 81.28 percent,?with his closest contender, Alan Kyerematen, obtaining 59 votes, representing 8.01 percent.
Francis Addai Nimoh and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Ghartey, both obtained 22 votes?each, representing 2.85 percent of total votes cast;?while Osei Ameyaw had 16?votes, which is 1.90 percent.
Addressing the media in Accra yesterday, Dr Charles Dwamena, Chairman, China branch of NPP, appealed to the rest of the aspirants to step down and throw their weight behind Nana Addo.
?As much as we respect and recognise the constitutional rights of the other candidates to go for the October 18 elections, we humbly appeal to them to consider the larger picture in the supreme interest of the party and throw their weight behind the winner of the Super Delegates? Conference.
?We believe such a consideration will go a long way to foster party unity,? he said.
He said before the special delegate?s conference, most of the overseas branches held internal elections for their members to choose their preferred candidate, stating that China voted 85.4%, Germany voted 99.6%, and Belgium, 100% for Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
?Therefore, the super delegates for the external branches voted in accordance with the wishes of their members who sent them and not in their individual capacities.
?Deducing from this, we can say that the results of Sunday?s election were a true reflection of the wishes and aspirations of the masses of the party,? Dr Dwamena said.
He commended Joe Ghartey for voluntarily withdrawing from the race and urged Nana Akufo-Addo to encourage his supporters to stop acts that might directly or indirectly antagonise the other candidates and their supporters.
?We encourage Nana Addo to open his doors to all other candidates by extending an olive branch so that we can form a united front to prosecute the 2016 general elections,? he added.
Dr Dwamena commended the General Secretary of the party, Kwabena Agyapong and his team for organising a successful delegates? congress, adding that the elections had been very credible.
The other candidates have not come out as to whether they are stepping down for Nana Addo, saying that they should be given time to consult their supporters.
Francis Addai Nimoh, who surprisingly scaled through for the next stage, said he would need to talk to his team before coming public about the way forward.
Kofi Osei Ameyaw, who initial report suggested that he had stepped down, stated strongly that he was for the race except if Nana Akufo-Addo called for an interaction in what pundits interpret as an attempt to blackmail the leading contender for the presidential race mostly tipped to win.
Mr Osei-Ameyaw had just 16 votes across the whole country, despite report that he ferried some delegates and camped them in his hotel at East Legon in Accra, with a lavish treatment.
Attempts to reach him for an explanation as to what type of conversation he wanted with Nana Addo was not successful.
In the case of Kwadwo Alan Kyerematen his spokesman, Nana Ohene-Ntow, said Alan should not be stampeded to step down.
He gave an indication that Alan might want to go a full haul, citing the size of Sunday?s delegates as pretext, adding that the delegates were too small to take a decision for over 140,000 delegates for the October 18 congress.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi?