The failure of the New Patriotic Party to retain the Talensi seat could partly be blamed on the absence of party chairman Paul Afoko and General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong during the campaign, former Attorney General Ayikoi Otoo has claimed.
In his assessment, the NPP went into the Tuesday’s by-election with a divided front which scuttled the support of floating voters.
Mr. Ayikoi Otoo, who is the former head of legal and constitutional affairs of the NPP, told Joy News’ Kwakye Afreh Nuamah that the absence of the two national executives created the impression of a “deep crack” in the party.
“At least if you are going to campaign, one would have expected you to put a united front. And therefore in the absence of the chairman and the general secretary, the impression created out there is that you are not united, and that can always affect floating voters,” he analysed.
With the exception of the two, almost all who matter were vigorously involved in the election activities. The party’s presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Alan Kyerematen who contested Akufo-Addo at the party’s primary among a number of party big wigs were in the Talensi constituency engaged in vigorous campaigns.
Nonetheless, in Mr. Otoo’s view that was not good enough and charged the party to learn how to do things to attract floating voters.
“It is said that every party has got factions within the party. There is no way that you can say that the NDC has not got factions…but how you manage the factions is what is important. If you let it look so bad, make people get the feeling that it is so deep that there is no unity at all; I don’t think it is the best”.
He dismissed the perception that the two would have been attacked due to the recent attack on the Upper East regional chairman, Adams Mahama, which the two were alleged to have had a hand in.
But his opinion about the party’s loss has been shot down by the party’s Director of Communications Nana Akomea.
The NPP’s defeat “has nothing to do with” Afoko and Agyepong, he countered on Joy News, questioning the scientific basis for Ayikoi Otoo’s assertion.
The two may have absented themselves possibly as a result of events leading to Adams Mahama’s death and for their own safety, Mr. Akomea surmised. “That would be prudent,” he stated, adding it would be “strange” to attribute the party’s defeat to the executives.
The party’s candidate Thomas Duanab garnered 6,845 votes to lose to the NDC’s Mr. B.T. Baba who polled 10,366 votes.