…But Nii Ayikoi Otoo Cries Over Paul Afoko & Kwabena Agyapong’s Hijacked Jobs
A grand plot, appears to have been hatched by the two trusted lieutenants of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, to cover-up their individual failures to retain the Talensi Parliamentary seat, by pushing all kinds of falsehoods as face-saving measure.
But the frank-speaking Lawyer, Joseph Nii Ayikoi Otoo, and former head of Legal and Constitutional affairs of the NPP, has observed that, the absence of the two national executives; National Chairman, Paul Afoko, and General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong at Talensi, – because their roles have been usurped by Freddie Blay and Gabby Otchere-Darko – 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 was that, you are not united, and that can always affect floating voters,” Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo analysed, and charged the NPP to learn how to attract floating voters.
Freddie Blay and Gabby Otchere-Darko; both newspaper owners, together with their media friends, churned out naked lies, including vote-buying, dodging 12 bullets and faking assault claims to have people believe they did not fail as usurpers of the roles of the National Chairman and General Secretary in Tuesday’s by-election in the Upper East Region.
These false claims, were put on various media platforms in both mainstream media – radio, television, newspapers, and news websites, as well as social media platforms such as, Facebook and Twitter as facts on the ground in the Talensi Constituency. These claims, were put out without any verification from the police or hospital officials.
In some cases, journalists claimed they only received phones calls from unknown persons that some people, including Freddie Blay, Kwabena Abankwa-Yeboah, Kwadwo Owusu-Effriye alias “Sir John” and Henry Akufo Gyan, had been hospitalized at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital.
First, came claims that a whooping GH¢20 million had been made available by the John Mahama government to bribe the nearly 40,000 voters in that Constituency to vote for the candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Benson Tongo Baba.
This was followed by another claim that, cash was flowing on the streets of Talensi, because the NDC had instituted a vote-buying mechanism where each voter was being paid GH¢1,000 to win back the seat it lost to the NPP in the 2012 election after over two decades.
Secondly, on the day of the election, the same mainstream and social media platforms, were splashed with claims suggesting that Talensi, had been turned into Hiroshima and Nagasaki, because the “Azorka Boys” a group of men linked to the NDC Northern Regional Chairman, Sofo Azorka, were going about assaulting and killing every NPP person at sight.
Despite the blocking of roads with illegal barriers, the destruction of the vehicles belonging to NDC officials and some government appointees in front of the NPP Talensi Constituency office, sometimes with gun power from the NPP’s Invincible Forces, were not reported. Even open confrontations between NPP supporter and Bolga Bulldogs were twisted to represent the opposite.
Gabby Otchere-Darko, was rather reported as having swerved 12 bullets directed at him by NDC thugs, who were driving pass the NPP Constituency office and in the presence of soldiers, but the soldiers, did not take any action against the shooters. This also turned out to be another falsehood with Gabby Otchere-Darko, denying his own handwritten message on Twitter.
Gabby had said: “I just got shot @ by drive-pass gang in pickup. 12 shots fired at us in front of NPP office, with soldiers nearby. No injuries.”
The Upper East Police Command, has also in the meantime accused the leaders of the NPP of exaggerating attacks they suffered during the by election in Talensi. It said, contrary to claims by the First Vice Chairman of the party, Freddie Blay, that he was assaulted together with two other leading members of the party, the Police said, they have no reported case of assault on Blay.
Superintendent Asamoah Frimpong told Joy FM’s Upper East Region correspondent, Albert Sore, who had also reported the false assault claims, that it was rather Freddy Blay, who accompanied the two assaulted colleagues- the National Treasurer, Kwabena Abankwah, and his aide, Henry Akufo Gyan, to the hospital.
He did not understand why Blay, will claim to have been assaulted when there was no official report of an attack on him.
A former Minister of State under the Kufuor regime, Rashid Bawa, told Joy News and several media platforms during the election that, Blay together with the National Treasurer, had been attacked and sent to a hospital.
Rashid Bawa, said Blay, was treated and discharged after sustaining minor injuries, but the two others had to be detained a while longer, because their injuries were relatively severe.
He accused the Azorka Boys of masterminding the attacks.
On failure of the NPP to retain the seat, the former Attorney General, Ayikoi Otoo, said the NPP in his assessment went into Tuesday’s by-election with a divided front which scuttled the support of floating voters. To him, 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 to Joy FM.
With the exception of Mr. Afoko and Mr. Agyapong, 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.