THE just-ended 15th national delegates conference of the NPP provided a good platform for the potential presidential candidates to test their popularity in the party.
Even though the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party banned any form of campaigning, including wearing of T-shirts and other paraphernalia of the flag-bearer aspirants, they still managed to use other means to put themselves out to the party supporters.
At the end of the day, it appeared Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Mr Alan Kyerematen were neck and neck in the reception of the party members.
So huge were their followers that one could find difficulty in establishing who was more popular than the other.
Another potential candidate, Mr Isaac Osei, was also doing his own thing to get the necessary attention from party people.
He mounted a large banner with his picture on it at the entrance of the stadium, welcoming delegates to Kumasi.
The Baba Yara Stadium is located in the Subin Constituency, where Mr Osei is the Member of Parliament.
Besides, his agents also distributed cards bearing his picture, ostensibly to get their support ahead of the national delegates congress to elect the party’s presidential candidate for the next elections.
Nana Akufo-Addo later told the Daily Graphic that he would soon make a formal declaration of his presidential ambition.
He said with the successful election of national executives of the party, he will soon come out with his position on the party’s flagbearership for the 2012 elections.
He told the Daily Graphic at the Baba Yara Stadium, just before the final results were declared at the party’s national delegates conference that, “You all have to wait to hear from me soon.”
Even though any such declaration may be seen as just a formality since his ambition was already known, Nana Akufo-Addo said, “Let’s wait and see”.
Beaming with smiles as names of winners of the various positions went round, Nana Akufo Addo said he was happy about the conduct of the polls.
“What you see here amply demonstrates the maturity of our people,” he said.
Even though Mr Kyerematen was nowhere to be found in the dying embers of the conference, his admirers insisted that he must contest the flagbearer position because he was the best person to lead the party in 2012.
Perhaps, the way his large following at the stadium shouted “our next President, our next President” as he made his way into the stadium was ample testimony that he would definitely contest.
The Member of Parliament for Kwadaso and close associate of Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, told the Daily Graphic that he was happy that only three Akans were in the new national executive.
This, he noted, would defeat the propaganda by the NDC that the NPP is an Akan party.
“The conference underlined the NPP as a true national party,” he said, adding that “that was why some of us close to Nana Akufo-Addo did everything to get representatives from all the regions in the national executives.”
Some people were also questioning why the former President, Mr J.A. Kufuor, and Mr Kyerematen did not sit through the conference and had to leave midway through.
That notwithstanding, some of the delegates who spoke to the Daily Graphic said the two personalities did not necessarily had to witness every aspect of the conference to prove their commitment to the party.
Many people were also shocked to see Dr Arthur Kennedy at the conference after he earlier declared that he would not attend the event because he had other commitments in the United States.
The man who wrote the controversial book, “Chasing The Elephant into the Bush,” walked quietly to his seat as if party people did not notice his presence.