Attempts by the NPP to ensure one of its Chairmanship hopefuls, Paul Afoko has the right credentials to lead the party is a step in the right direction and within democratic dictates. Nevertheless, the way it is being handled has the potential of spelling doom for the party given, the perception that, the NPP has a soft spot for Akans and for that matter, an Akan party. Mr. Afoko was believed to be among a number of aspirants disqualified after the party's two-day vetting exercise. The others are FredAmankwah Sarfo, Hajia Fati Amadu and Philomena Serwaa Akoto Sam who were all vying for the Vice Chairmanship slot. Other aspirants disqualified were Kamal-deen Abdulai Nasara, Coordinator and Charles Adu Gyamfi, National Youth Organiser. It is however unclear why the party's vetting committee under the Chairmanship of C. K. Tedam decided to put on hold, the screening of Mr. Afoko until further notice. Sources say a faceless group had petitioned against the vetting of Paul Afoko. The Committee needs to be circumspect in the handling of the Afoko debacle else, people will read negative meanings into it and ‘court public sympathy for him. Mr. Afoko is challenging party stalwarts like the incumbent Chairman, Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey, sitting Vice Chairman, Fred Oware and Stephen Ntim for the Chairmanship position. It is believed Mr. Afoko, the only candidate of Northern extraction in the Chairmanship race has a slight edge over the other contestants given the party's strategy to focus more on the Northern Region in the 2016 general election. This is not the first time Mr. Afoko is mired in such a political controversy. During the party's National Delegates Congress in 2008 to elect a flagbearer to succeed then President Kufuor, Mr. Afoko was accused of sharing monies to delegates to sway the votes in a particular direction. In an interview with an Accra private Radio Station, Mr. Afoko admitted taking advantage of a jail break to escape from prison custody after which he eloped to London to avoid being re-arrested. According to him, he had a brush with the law after organising a resistance to the overthrow of the Limann government by the erstwhile PNDC junta.
Whatever it is, the Afoko debacle is a delicate issue and the NPP needs to be forthright on it else, the back lash will be too expensive for the part to contend with given his level of popularity. Whichever way one looks at it, the whole game looks dicey and explosive, and needs tact to handle. Meanwhile if report that Mr. Afoko has been involved in an accident is anything to go by, then, it behoves the party to give him ample time to recover from the trauma or whatever bodily injury he might have incurred before any thought of continuing with his vetting can be contemplated. This will surely affect the party's time-table towards electing new National Executives and subsequently a flagbearer to lead it into election 2016. As things stand now, the party's top gurus need to think outside the box for the way out else, it becomes an albatross on their neck. As the NPP prepares for its centralised National Delegates Congress in Tamale on April 12 to elect new executives, it must make sure it clears every hurdle likely to be a stumbling block to a successful congress. At the moment, the Afoko controversy has affected
balloting for positions of qualified contestants. It has to be put on hold till the vetting of Mr. Afoko is completed. There definitely must be horse-trading to solve the dispute and the NPP must be decisive. A word to the wise is enough.
BY: JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST.