In his congratulatory message to the newly-elected national executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama had to be prompted after he made the mistake of referring to Asiedu Nketiah as General Secretary instead of his new role of National Chairman.
The moment was funny and perhaps awkward and reminiscent of President Akufo-Addo’s ‘manka no yie kwraa’ intervention after he mistakenly referred to the New Patriotic Party’s parliamentary candidate of Odododiodioo as Nii Lante Vanderpuye instead of Nii Lante Bannerman.
But when someone occupies a role for 17 years, it becomes difficult for anyone to within five minutes of that person taking over a new role, move on and address him with the credentials of his new position.
Such is the formidability and astuteness of General Mosquito as he is called. For seventeen years he served as General Secretary of the NDC and became synonymous with the position in Ghana’s body politics.
It, therefore, came as a shock when he announced that he was going to move up the ladder and test new waters as National Chairman of the NDC.
The shock was premised on two things;
Why would he leave a position he has been so good at and why would he take up the option of challenging Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo who had also had quite an eventful journey in Ghana’s politics?
But if there was anyone in Ghana politics who could pull this off successfully under the prevailing circumstances, it certainly was Asiedu Nketiah.
It, therefore, came as a shock to no one that at the end of voting on Sunday, December 18, Aseidu Nketiah was named winner of the chairman race with total votes of 5,569.
GhanaWeb today looks at the five reasons behind his success
In Ghana’s body politics, there is not one person with more experience in intra-party elections than Asiedu Nketiah.
Spending seventeen years in a position that returned a high turnover in the camp of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) means Asiedu Nketiah had mastered the rudiments of winning intra-party politics.
Per his own calculations in his interview with UTV, there have been about six General Secretaries in the NPP since he took over the same role in the NDC and spending such time there teaches you experience.
In his now famous supposedly leaked audio, Asiedu Nketiah spoke about how he had mastered the art of winning intra-party elections.
He knew what to say and what to do to swing votes in his favor and fortunately for him, his closest competitor Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, perhaps, came against the wrong man at the wrong time.
’ We can’t do without him’
Possibly a view from his supporters but when leading members of the NDC talked about Asiedu Nketiah versus Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo race, there was the sense that much as they appreciate the work of Ofosu-Ampofo, Asiedu Nketiah was too valuable a person and institution not to be deeply involved in the party’s organization.
From the Deputy Minority leader to the former MP for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini who spoke on Joy News, there was some acceptance that Asiedu Nketiah makes the NDC tick and that without him the party will struggle, especially going into a must-win election.
Even Victor Smith who openly campaigned against Asiedu Nketiah appreciated that fact, the reason he recommended that should Ofosu-Ampofo have won, Asiedu Nketiah was going to be appointed campaign manager of the NDC for the 2024 elections.
And that idea is not lost on Asiedu Nketiah either. In his leaked audio, he stated that he would have loved to retire but he knows the party, NDC, at this point cannot stand without him.
Ofosu-Ampofo ‘questionable’ loyalty to Mahama
Throughout his spell as national chair, Ofosu-Ampofo lived under the tag of not being a Mahama person and with John Mahama currently being the de-facto leader of the party, anyone in an opposing camp stood a high chance of losing intra-party elections.
As claimed by Insuah Fuseini, there is suspicion within the ranks of the NDC that Ofosu-Ampofo has surrounded himself with persons who are identified to be anti-Mahama.
Unlike Ofosu-Ampofo, Asiedu Nketiah is seen to be a person who will do everything within the law to make sure John Mahama returns to the Jubilee House.
Despite John Mahama’s public denial of same, the suspicion that Asiedu Nketiah’s remais a pro-Mahama candidate continues to fester.
Election 2020 proved decisive in the NDC elections for two things. The first one was the election petition and the second was the election of Alban Bagbin as Speaker of Parliament, which outcome is a product of the hung parliament produced by the 2020 elections.
Despite being the one who mounted the witness box in the 2020 election petition, Asiedu Nketiah, as heard in the notorious audio absolved himself of any blame and placed the whole petition fiasco at the doorsteps of Ofosu-Ampofo.
Dirty politics it may seem but that may have been enough to make people, especially NDC delegates, appreciate the issues and vote for him.
Also, there had been a plethora of witnesses from NDC Parliamentarians that but for Asiedu Nketiah’s presence in Parliament on the eve of January 6, 2021, Alban Bagbin could not have won the elections.
These two things were cited by Asiedu Nketiah and his team to drum home the reason for him to win the role.
Natural progression to the top
Some persons argue that Asiedu Nketiah’s decision to run for the chairmanship slots was a self-actualization move for him as he was suffering fatigue of occupying the General Secretary role. He made mention of this in his interviews with Okay FM and UTV on Friday.
There was also a widespread conspiracy that Asiedu Nketiah’s decision was part of a bigger plan by the party’s leadership to introduce someone from the Volta block who identified more with the Volta Region into the national executive committee.
According to report, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey was impressed upon to offer himself for the position as the party believed that his presence in the committee would benefit the party and its relationship with the Volta Region.
Inusah Fuseini made allusions to this grand plot in his discussion with Joy News.