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The Chairman of the Council of Elders of the New Patriotic Party, NPP, Hackman Owusu Agyemang, has said the party’s presidential primary in 2008 that accommodated 17 aspirants was a “major mistake”.
According to him, that incident was partly responsible for the party’s defeat in the 2008 presidential elections.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Thursday after the party’s 29th-anniversary celebration, he said, although the New Patriotic Party chalked many successes, incidents such as the 2008 incident must not reoccur.
“[It was] in the year 2008 where we had 17 of our people in competition to be president. If at the time we had the understanding that it will not help us and the best thing to do was to have one or two compete for it, we would not have lost that election. That did not help us break that 8-year cycle that was beginning to establish itself. That was a major mistake,” he said.
Hackman Owusu Agyemang, who was among the 17 aspirants, came 7th after polling 28 votes from the 2,293 delegates.
The other aspirants were, the eventual winner, Nana Akufo-Addo, Alan Kyerematen, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Daniel Kweku Botwe, Papa Owusu Ankomah, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, Professor Mike Oquaye, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Boakye Kyeremanteng Agyarko, Felix Kwesi Owusu-Adjapong, Kwabena Agyepong, Dr Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, and Dr. Kobina Arthur Kennedy.
Nana Akufo-Addo went on to lose the national election to the National Democratic Congress’, Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills.
There is a general belief that the high number of aspirants for the NPP’s primaries engendered division that led to the loss of the 2008 polls.
Hackman Owusu Agyemang expressed belief that the NPP’s review of its constitution to prevent more than five people from going into a presidential primary is the best going forward to prevent such an incident from recurring.
“We did a review of our constitution and said that if we have more than five [aspirants], we will then have a preliminary elimination process and so at no point shall we have more than five. If we have 10, we will have a preliminary [elimination] that will be by an electoral college, and we will then scale it down to five, and then we will have the full nationwide exercise of selecting the flagbearer,” he said.