Calls Togbe Afede, CDD, Others Foolish and Ignoramus
The newly-elected National Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), appears possessed by a spirit of arrogance, forcing him to describe as “very foolish”, arguments that the timing for the 275 buses he promised Constituency executives of his party, smacked of a vote-buying strategy, ahead of the National Delegates’ Conference in Koforidua.
Mr Freddie Blay, also suggested the President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede and others, including Anti-graft bodies, the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), who have all expressed reservations about the buses, saying such moves monetize Ghanaian politics and engender corruption were being stupid by talking about an issue they knew nothing about.
“It is amazing that people will suggest that”, he said, adding: “It’s very foolish for people to ask that” in fragrant disregard to ex-President John Agyekum Kufour’s warning to the NPP party and the Akufo-Addo government at the Koforidua Conference to eschew arrogance, egocentrism and power drunkenness.
The Daily Guide newspaper’s owner fired on “it’s amazing that people will even suggest that and journalists will buy into that. Why now? If yesterday I didn’t do business, today I want to do business, ‘why am I now into business?’ It’s a very foolish question for people to ask that”.
Mr Blay’s arrogant posturing comes as the NPP, has declared an all-out mission to rescue its image as a party deeply buried in opulence and blatant abuse of money and disregarding the welfare of the Ghanaians citizens as stated by John Hayward the representative of the UK Conservative Party at NPP Koforidua Conference in solidarity message.
For this reason, 48 hours after the Koforidua National Delegates Conference, senior members of the party, including the newly elected National Organiser are out, vehemently defending the US$11 million deal procured by Mr Blay, in a bid to save his image.
Sammi Awuku, described the deal as a private initiative by the National chairman.
Mr Awuku claimed that even he, without clout and financial muscle, had been able to purchase 200 motorbikes to all Constituency youth organisers and wondered why Chairman Freddie Blay who owns a media house, a law firm, has been Member of Parliament and Second Deputy Speaker for years cannot marshal resources to procure 275 vehicles.
This is contrary to what John Buadu, the news elected General Secretary of the same party, told the media on Thursday, 5 July.
Mr Boadu said that: “Freddie Blay only served as a guarantor on behalf of the party during the signing of the contract to procure the buses. I [John Boadu] also signed as witness on the document.”
But Mr Awuku, insisted that as part of the criteria to becoming the chairman of the NPP, said the aspirant must show proof of being either resourceful or has the resources to push the party’s agenda.
The NPP National Organiser, was in doubt that Blay, had some resources and was resourceful enough to raise funds for the procurement of the vehicles.
Former Director of Communication of the NPP, Nana Akomea, has also jumped into the fray, saying the purchase of the 275 buses was a personal decision by Mr Blay.
He welcomed the decision to hand over the buses to his outfit; the State Transport Company (STC) to management it for and on behalf of the 275 NPP Constituency offices.
He disclosed that, Mr.. Blay, has had a conversation with the STC towards handing over the buses to the management of the state transport company at a 15percent monthly income to him and others.
Nana Akomea, who spoke on Accra-based Citi FM on Monday, was delighted that the buses were coming to augment his fleet, saying the STC doesn’t have vehicles to meet demands.
Interestingly, Mr Blay himself, had left doubts about his sources of funding for the buses he reportedly made US$3 million part-payment for when he told journalists on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 that: “A financial institution is helping us”.
He added “We’re taking a bank facility to do so. It’s self-paying… We do so for and for every constituency. It’s not about if they vote for me first before I do it. The buses are in the country. They’re in the harbour.”
In yesterday’s interview, claimed he started arrangements to bring in the buses some eleven months ago – way before the internal polls held on Saturday, 7 July.
At the time, “I had not decided to contest yet”, he told Accra-based Joy FM’s Kojo Yankson in an interview.
The Minority in Parliament, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has also expressed reservations about the buses, their source of funding, saying such moves monetise Ghanaian politics and engender corruption.
The Minority wants Mr Blay to step aside as Board Chair of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) for a forensic audit to be conducted, but the GNPC, has issued a statement, saying it played no role whatsoever in Mr Blay’s campaign.
Speaking to Joy News’ Evans Mensah, a day after he was elected as National Organiser, Sammi Awuku , said there was absolutely no wrongdoing in the procurement of the buses by Mr Blay.
He said, having toured the entire Constituency during the run-up to the elections, he, like Freddie Blay, was confronted with the challenges facing the supporters at the constituency level.
According to him, Freddie Blay, decided to do something about party financing at the constituency level.
“To make resourcing our constituency party easier I am going to push for an arrangement and a facility so that we can acquire at least minimum of 275 vehicles so that the party at the local level can have some engagement and run this as a commercial entity. Then the proceeds of it, the party at the constituency level can keep part and use the rest to pay for the facility taken,” he reported Freddie Blay as saying.
He added Mr Blay, went further to negotiate on his own accord, but discussed with John Boadu to act as a guarantor which he agreed.
“If today there is a default the NPP and its assets will not be sold,” he explained, adding it was not a party initiative but a purely private initiative.
When his attention was drawn to the fact that his explanation was at variance with what Richard Nyama, the Spokesperson of Blay had said, the National Organiser, said there was no contradiction at all.
Nyama had suggested in an interview with Joy FM that even though his boss brought up the idea, it was agreed to by the party and accepted by same.
But Awuku said there was no contradiction at all. He said the party chair discussed it with John Boadu who is also a key member of the party as well he Awuku.
So even though the party structure may not officially have been informed about it key party officials were in the know and were ready to support the initiative privately.
“If me, a small fry was able to procure 200 motorbikes for my Youth organisers, mobilized T-shirts for all of them without a dime coming from the party, you think Freddie who has been in this business, being a businessman has been an MP cannot raise money for these buses?” he asked.