The National Democratic Congress (NDC) goes to the polls this weekend to elect Regional executives. In the Ashanti region, all roads will lead to the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, where the Regional chairmanship slot appears to be the main side attraction of the polls.
The chairmanship race would be contested by prominent names like Yaw Owusu Obimpe, a former NDC Regional chairman, Enoch Amoako-Nsiah, a former Ashanti Regional Security Co-ordinator and Lawyer Evans Amankwa, a former Parliamentary candidate.
They would be pitching their strength against Augustus Nana Akwesi Andrews, alias Nana Akwesi, the incumbent.
The outcome of the polls would indicate which direction the party heads towards the 2024 elections.
Augustus Nana Akwesi Andrews
For the incumbent regional chairman, the biggest deal for the party is to annex the ultimate in the 2024 election, based on his resolve to further improve upon the party’s electoral showing of 26.1% votes in Ashanti region in 2020, from 23% in the 2016 elections.
His operational vision include ensuring continuity of his team with the view of adding to the margin of votes and thus improve upon the 26.1% votes in Ashanti region in the 2020 from 23% in the 2016 election even in opposition, with far less resources than any elections.
Nana Akwesi intends to adopt the all-inclusive leadership based on a stronger grassroots participation at all levels of party activities and involvement of Cadres Council of elders, Ashanti Confederation, Ashanti Caucus, Volta Caucus, Zongo Caucus as well as former appointees to work hard to increase parliamentary seats for the party in the region.
The aspirant indicated that his administration would be guided by transparency and accountability and that he plans to reward loyalty and had working members with or without certificate.
The incumbent NDC Regional chairman assured that he would continue to adopt and adapt innovative and scientific methods at elections, especially in 2024.
His calm and humble demeanor has brought more floating voters to the NDC than any time of the party’s life, qualifying him as the person tipped to retain his position, because most of the delegates identify with his vision.
Some delegates The Chronicle spoke to hold Nana Akwesi in high esteem for his achievements in the last four years.
They describe his tenure as successful for increasing Ashanti region parliamentary seats from 3 to 4 for the NDC; increased votes from 400,000 plus to over 650,000 representing a gain of 3.5%; working to ensure the completion of the construction of the party office project and ensuring Transparency in the Management of party funds by involving constituency Chairmen, Secretaries, Organisers and Treasurers.
The Chairman has used his hotel and facilities for party activities, including accommodating Constituency, Regional and National party officials at no cost and regularly visiting the branches, attending funerals, “adu’a”, weddings and other party activities at the branches, to enhance membership drive.
Nana Akwesi’s strength lies in the adoption of door-to-door campaigning at markets, lorry parks and rural communities.
The interviewees say he has built a healthy rapport with region, constituencies, branches, MPs, former appointees, Ashanti caucus, Cadres, Volta caucus, Zongo caucus and parliamentary candidates among others and thus, constantly encouraging improved cordial working relations at all levels.
Yaw Owusu Obimpeh
Mr. Yaw Owusu Obimpeh, a former Regional chairman of the party, on the other hand, is bent on coming back to assume the chairmanship after he failed to ensure victory for the party in the 2016 elections.
Yaw Obimpeh took over from Ambassador Daniel Ohene Agyekum as a Mills candidate at the time the J.J. Rawlings and Atta Mills factions persisted. He was given all the resources and support to beat Mr. Frank Osei Mensah, the then favorite and darling boy of Mr. Rawlings.
His focus now is to ensure that the NDC wins the 2024 general elections to champion total development, especially in the Ashanti region.
Yaw Obimpeh’s singular achievement is the initiation of the construction of a permanent Regional Secretariat for the party, which the incumbent has the credit of completing after his exit in 2018.
The aspirant, who is claiming credit for building the regional party office during his tenure, says his decision is premised on the abysmal performance of the Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo-led government. He claims he is tried and tested and expressed the hope to win the chairmanship race.
The former party chairman has pledged to work with everybody in the party, irrespective of one’s tribal or religious background, as well as strengthen the party’s structures to empower the branch executives. He also promised to ensure that the remaining constituencies have their own permanent offices, when re-elected as the Ashanti regional chairman of the NDC.
He is on record to have said on Tuesday that 2024 elections will be do or die affair and that the NDC is poised for power and they are ready to match the NPP boot for boot, stating categorically that all the tactics and strategies the ruling NPP is employing are being monitored closely by the NDC research team.
He has, therefore, called for unity among the rank and file in the party ahead of the regional congress, but cautioned the election committee to release the album on time or the members of the committee will face his wrath.
Lawyer Evans Amankwah
Lawyer Evans Amankwa’s ambition to lead the party is explained in his capacity as the head of National Democratic Congress (NDC) Legal team in the Ashanti Region. The legal brain has used his expertise to variously defend the party in legal issues over the years.
He believes the NDC as a party has not been properly presented to the people in the Ashanti region and wants to rebrand the National Democratic Congress in the region, if voted as the regional chairman.
Mr. Amankwah was the Parliamentary candidate for the NDC at the Adansi Asokwa constituency in 2012, 2016 and 2020.
In 2012 the legal luminary moved votes from 9,000 plus (45.76%), making everybody think he could perform better in 2016, only to drop to 40.90%when he had been more resourced than any PC to unseat K.T. Hammond.
Mr.Amankwa lost to Kwame Zu when he contested for the Regional Secretary position in 2018.
Mr. Enoch Amoako-Nsiah is vying for the chairmanship on the strength of being the former Ashanti Regional Security Co-ordinator. He feels there must be a change of leadership of the party in the region. His allegation of impropriety against the regional executives could not be substantiated before a Committee of enquiry.