The candidate in the race to become National Chair of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) but retreated last week, has thrown his weight behind acting Chair, Freddie Blay.
Alhaji Abubakari Abdul Rahman, popularly known as Alhaji Short, says his decision to support the acting chairman was based on the overwhelming sentiment on the ground that the current leadership of the governing party should be maintained going into the 2020 election.
This means Mr Blay will now have to contend with the experienced Steven Ntim, who is contesting the position for a fourth time.
But in a statement assigning reasons for beating a retreat to support Blay, Alhaji Short, who is the immediate past Upper West Regional Chairman of the NPP, pleaded with his supporters to take his decision to step down from the race “lightly” stressing, that it was in “greater interest of the NPP.”
“Myself and my campaign team have been up and down the constituencies across the country, interacting with members and supporters of the New Patriotic Party, mainly constituency officers and polling station executives.
“The NPP rank-and-file are happy with my message and my campaign style. My message is principally about strengthening the relationship between party and government, party and community, and empowering the party to support government in delivering on its agenda for the country, so that the people will continue to invest their votes in the NPP and the NPP will continue to use and reap positively the benefits of power now and beyond 2020,” the statement explained.
According to the statement, the overwhelming sentiment on the ground was that the national leadership that steered the party throughout the very difficult times of 2014 and 2015, and led the NPP to victory, must, as much as possible, be maintained.
“The message that greets us wherever we go is ‘Still Maintain.’ It is not a protest vote against Alhaji Short or any other candidate. It is a vote of confidence in those who led us to victory, including incidentally, myself. So for this reason and being myself a strong regional chairman during those testing times, I have listened to the overwhelming voice of the Party and have decided to step down. I do so, throwing my weight behind the “Still Maintain” mantra of the grassroots,” Alhaji Short in the statement said.
It is for that reason alone, the statement maintained, that he Alhaji Short decided to step aside from contesting the national chairmanship position of the party.
“The NPP is a party that respects and rewards loyalty and service. Chairman Short will continue to give his optimal best to the Party. As a knowledgeable, experienced, loyal and respectable leading member of the Party, I intend to focus more in helping the Party consolidate the gains it made in 2016, in every capacity that I can. I will only plead with my supporters that I do not make this decision to step down lightly but I do so for the greater interest of the NPP. I, therefore, plead for your understanding, support and blessing,” the statement concluded.
Story: Freeman AWLESU KORYEKPOR