The fierce race to decide who leads the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2024 presidential election enters the home stretch as the ruling party holds its Super Delegates Conference on Saturday to reduce the 10 aspirants to five.
The suspense-filled Special Electoral College will be a prelude to the crucial national conference on November 4, 2023, where the party’s flag bearer for the 2024 general election will be selected.
The nationwide poll follows months of intensive campaigning by the aspirants across the length and breadth of the country to win the hearts and minds of the delegates in whose hands their destiny lies.
The candidates have been rallying the delegates with their capabilities not only to transform the Ghanaian economy and superintend over the country’s development, but also to lead the NPP to break the eight-year cycle of governance between the party and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
They also trumpeted their competence and sense of nationalism to mobilise all Ghanaians to buy into their vision.
Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen and Joe Ghartey
The thoroughbreds in the hot contest comprise the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; former Trades and Industry Minister, Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong; the MP for Essikado-Ketan, Joe Ghartey, who is also a former Minister of Railways Development and Attorney-General and Minister of Justice; a former Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko; and a former General Secretary of the NPP and Press Secretary to President J.A.Kufuor, Kwabena Agyei Agyepong.
Francis Addai-Nimoh, Kwadwo Poku and Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto
The rest are former Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto; a former Commissioner of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku; a former MP for Mampong in the Ashanti Region, Francis Addai-Nimoh, and an energy expert, Kwadwo Poku.
Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, Boakye Agyarko and Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
The campaign messages of the 10 flagbearer hopefuls so far have centred on their contributions to the party, what they will do for the party and how they will turn the economic fortunes of the country around if they get the nod to lead the party and subsequently become President of the Republic.
Apart from the messages the aspirants have given, the 956 delegates expected to vote would also look at the competence and general appeal of each aspirant, as well as the ability to win the 2024 general election.
Also, the ethnic and religious background will play a key role in selecting the five aspirants for the national congress, coupled with the wherewithal to prosecute the 2024 electioneering campaign since next year’s general election is regarded as a crucial one, especially when Ghanaians have tasted the eight-year rule of both the NPP and the opposition NDC.
Those expected to cast their votes on Saturday include members of the National Council, and National and Regional Executive Committees, Members of Parliament and three representatives from each of the special organs of the party (Youth, Women and Nasara).
The rest are past national officers, three representatives from every branch, founder members during the registration of the party at the Electoral Commission (EC) and all card-bearing ministers.
“Every delegate shall be entitled to one vote”, according to Article 13 (2) 2 of the party’s constitution.
The ballot paper for the election has Mr Agyapong as number one; Mr Kyerematen, number two; Mr Ghartey, number three; Mr Poku, number four and Dr Akoto, number five.
The rest are Mr Agyepong, number six; Mr Addai-Nimoh, number seven; Dr Apraku, number eight; Mr Agyarko, number nine; and Dr Bawumia, number 10.
To ensure a free, fair and transparent polls, the party has constituted a Presidential Elections Committee chaired by the former Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, to supervise and conduct the elections with the assistance of the EC and the Ghana Police Service.
The committee, in its operational guidelines to regulate the conduct of the election, stated that the election would be held in all the 16 regional capitals in the country and the party headquarters in Accra, with the EC headquarters as the final collation centre.
It urged all the stakeholders in the electoral process to abide by the rules and regulations governing the polls.
Some of the key guidelines are that no aspirant will appoint government officials and any delegate listed to vote in the election as agents (whether the Special Electoral College or the Main Election).
The government officials include metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives, ministers of state and chief executive officers of state-owned enterprises, regional executives and constituency executives.
The guidelines further indicate that the EC and the police should enforce and prevent delegates from taking their phones and other photographic gadgets to the voting screen.
Additionally, the EC will use complex serial numbers to avoid ballots being traced to voters at a later date, and that the Electoral Management body should deny influencers and heavily built men access to the voting centres.
The guidelines stipulated further that in the event of two, three or four of the aspirants sharing the total results, with the remaining contestants not obtaining any votes, there will be a run-off for those who obtained zero votes to add up to make up the five, while in the event of a tie between two or more candidates for the fifth position, a run-off election will be conducted for those who will tie on Saturday, September 2, 2023.
The poll will start at 9 a.m. and close at 1 p.m. at all centres.
Ballots will be counted and declared immediately after the close of poll at each voting centre, and each aspirant will have two accredited agents but at all times he would be represented by one polling agent at each polling station
The guidelines also indicate that the presiding officer at the voting centre will announce the voting centre results.
The party further stressed that failure of an agent to sign the results would not invalidate the announcement by the presiding officer.
The regional director will then send through WhatsApp the declared voting centre result sheet to a platform created by the EC and also email the results to email@example.com for collation at the EC head office.
It gave the venues for the election in the regions as follows: In the Ashanti, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Law Faculty, Kumasi; Ahafo, Pastoral Centre, Goaso; Bono, Pastoral Centre, Sunyani; Bono East, Kokroko Social Centre, Techiman; Central, Quadrangle, UCC, Cape Coast; Eastern, Koforidua Senior High Technical School; Greater Accra, YMCA, Adabraka, Accra; Northern, Tamale College of Education, Tamale; North East, Nalerigu Senior High School and Savannah, Damongo Youth Centre.
The others are Upper East, Bolgatanga Technical University Library Complex; Upper West, Old UDS Campus, Wa; Oti, Dambai College of Education; Volta, Catholic Secretariat (Bishop Koning Centre); Western, Great Hall, Takoradi Technical University; Western North, Pastoral Centre, Sefwi Wiawso; and NPP headquarters, Asylum Down, Accra.