THE Ashanti Regional Director of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), Mr Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi, has beaten the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Akwasi Osei-Agyei, to win the New Patriotic Party (NPP) primary in the Ejisu-Juaben Constituency. This follows months of speculation, accusations and counter- accusations.
The victory was a decisive one for the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology trained civil engineer, who had vowed all along to unseat the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP). Mr Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi polled 95 votes against 67 by Mr Osei-Agyei.
A third candidate, Mr Oliver Boakye, had no vote.
When the Electoral Commission team finally announced the results, Mr Owusu-Aduomi responded with a clenched fist while Mr Osei-Agyei sat in a pensive posture.
When the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the party, Mr Robert Yaw Amankwaa, formally introduced Mr Owusu-Aduomi as the party's candidate for the 2008 election, the main hall of the Wood Industries Training Centre (WITC) at Akyawkrom, where the primary was held, vibrated with wild cheers.
Conceding defeat, Mr Osei-Agyei, the three-time MP for the area, said, "The delegates have spoken and I have to congratulate Mr Owusu-Aduomi on his victory."
Security was very tight as scores of policemen were deployed to maintain peace. A police water cannon vehicle was stationed at a vantage point.
The tight security was perhaps premised on alleged security reports that the primary could degenerate into violence.
On the eve of the originally planned date of June 7, 2008, for the primary at the Prempeh Assembly Hall, the regional chairman, citing security concerns, announced the postponement of the primary much to the chagrin of followers of the two main contestants.
After a meeting with the three aspirants, the regional secretariat of the party finally fixed last Saturday for the much-awaited congress.
Hundreds of supporters of the two front-runners, with Mr Owusu-Aduomi's camp dominating, thronged the premises of the WITC to witness the election.
Apart from the delegates, observers, the media, security personnel, party executives and a few other accredited persons, were allowed entry into the main hall and all others were kept outside the main entrance to the centre.
Mr Osei-Agyei, in accepting defeat, said he would use the experience he had acquired over the years as an MP and minister to support Mr Owusu-Aduomi in various ways to enable the party to win massively in the December election.
He called on his supporters not to feel embittered by the defeat but to throw their weight behind the winner because the battle ahead was for the NPP and not an individual.
In his brief victory speech, Mr Owusu-Aduomi said he was looking forward to a united party strong enough to improve on their previous performance in the constituency.
He said Mr Osei-Agyei had played his part as an MP, and gave a promise to build on what had been achieved.
Mr Owusu-Aduomi, therefore, called on the rank and file of the party in the constituency to put the past behind them and work assiduously to defeat the opposition in the December polls.