With barely 48 hours to the parliamentary primaries of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), attention will be focused on 26 of the 100 constituencies considered to be hotspots.
The anticipated keen contest in the 26 hotspots across 10 regions can be attributed to the aspirants’ stature in politics, their influence in the constituencies and ability to mobilise, among other factors.
The situation has also been aggravated by the wave of tension and acrimony that has characterised the filing of nominations and campaign for votes by their supporters.
Overall, 73 candidates are contesting in those hotspots.
Some of the incumbents are being challenged for the first time, while others are being challenged by bigwigs such as presidential staffers, ministers of state and chief executive officers of state-owned agencies.
Although the primaries are to be held in 168 constituencies, 310 aspirants will contest in only 100 constituencies, while 65 candidates will go unopposed.
Three constituencies have also been suspended from the primaries due to certain developments in those areas. They are Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region, Gushegu in the Northern Region and Dormaa Central in the Bono Region.
The 26 constituencies are Adansi Asokwa, Asante Akim North, Asante Akim South,Asante Akim Central, Bantama and Manhyia North, all in the Ashanti Region, as well as Berekum East and Sunyani East, in the Bono Region.
In the Central Region, Asikuma Odoben Brakwa Constituency is the only one on the list, while Akim Oda, Akwatia, New Juaben South and Nkawkaw top the list in the Eastern Region.
In the Greater Accra Region, Adentan, Dome Kwabenya, Okaikwei South and Tema West are the places to watch. Yendi and Nanton in the Northern Region, Navrongo Central in the Upper East and Lawra in the Upper West Region,are expected to draw intense interest.
The Effia, Ahanta West, Kwesimintsim and Shama constituencies in the Western Region and Bibiani-Ahwiaso-Bekwai in the Western North Region will be centres for a heated contest.
The contest in the Navrongo Central Constituency is between the Aviation Minister, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, and the Upper East Regional Minister, Ms Tangoba Abayage. The two are battling for the votes of 601 delegates in 35 electoral areas.
In the Dome-Kwabenya, for instance, the atmosphere is charged between Ghana’s High Commissioner to India, Mr Mike Oquaye Jnr, who for the second time, comes face to face with the incumbent, Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, the Deputy Majority Leader and Minister of State in charge of Procurement.
The fate of the two will be decided by 1,175 delegates who will vote from 10 electoral areas.
Another hotspot in Greater Accra will be Tema West, where incumbent and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, is facing competition from an activist of the party and the Assembly member for the Sakumono Estate Electoral Area, Mr Kwasi Poku Bosompem; and a worker of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Mr Keku Armquasi-Amuzuah. Their fate will also be decided by 956 delegates from 11 electoral areas.
The Akim Oda and New Juaben South constituencies in the Eastern Region are places to watch.
The position of the incumbent for Akim Oda, Mr William Agyapong Quaittoo, is being threatened by Mr Alexander Akwasi Acquah, with a third aspirant, Mr Richard Asare-Bediako, considered the underdog.
From 18 electoral areas, 431 delegates will decide their fate.
Mr Acquah last Monday launched a comprehensive health insurance policy for delegates, their spouses and children in Akim Oda to absorb all other medical costs that are not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
In the New Juaben South, friendly old foes, incumbent Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah and Mr Michael Okyere Baafi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Free Zones Authority, will be gunning for the votes of the 826 delegates in 34 electoral areas.
In the Sunyani East Constituency, Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh comes face to face with his learned colleague, Mr Alfred Tuah Yeboah, for the votes of 966 delegates from 34 electoral areas.
In the Adansi Asokwa Constituency, the incumbent, Mr K. T. Hammond, is being challenged for the first time in 20 years by Samuel Binfoh, a party activist. The two will be battling for the votes of 436 delegates in 27 electoral areas.
For the Bantama Constituency, a Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye, who is having a third shot at the seat, will come against the incumbent, Mr Daniel Okyem Aboagye, for the votes of 686 delegates in 11 electoral areas.
The incumbent Member of Parliament for Manhyia North, Mr Collins Owusu Amankwah, will need to garner as much votes from the 564 delegates in seven electoral areas to beat his challenger, Mr Akwasi Konadu.
In the Asikuma Odoben Brakwa Constituency, the incumbent, Mr Anthony Effah, is being challenged by a presidential staffer, Mr Ernest Kojo Smith; a former District Chief Executive for the area, Mr Emmanuel Adjei Domson, and three other party activists, Messrs Samuel Ofori Ampomah, Bright Essilfie Kumi and Banasco F. Ampong-Ansah, for the votes of 666 delegates in 33 electoral areas.
The Executive Secretary for the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Dr Prince Hamid Armah, is challenging the incumbent, Mr Joseph Mensah, for the votes of 431 delegates in nine electoral areas.
In the Bibiani-Ahwiaso-Bekwai Constituency, the Western North Regional Minister, Mr Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, who is also the incumbent, is being challenged by a former Chief Executive of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), Mr Alfred Obeng-Boateng, and a former Member of Parliament for the area, Mr Christopher Addae. The three are campaigning for the votes of the 901 delegates in the constituency.
Director of Elections
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Director of Elections of the NPP, Mr Evans Nimako, appealed to all aspirants and their supporters to uphold the interests of the party either as victors or losers.
He further urged aspirants of constituencies considered to be the keenly contested to uphold the rules of the game.
“The party remains supreme and your conduct must be within the democratic tenets of the party. They should all remember our adage that “all for one and one for all,” he stated.
Mr Nimako said the outcome of the contest should unify the party for the December 7, 2020 elections.