MINISTER OF Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, is nursing an ambition to succeed Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the next President of Ghana on the ticket of New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2024.
As part of the efforts to realize his great ambition, Dr. Afriyie Akoto, who is a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwadaso Constituency in Kumasi, has started meeting top-notch NPP executives in all the constituencies in the Ashanti Region to tell them about his plans to lead the NPP in 2024.
Over the last weekend, the Minister, who is credited for introducing NPP government’s popular Planting for Food Jobs (PFJ) policy, virtually kick started his presidential campaign albeit privately in his house at Denyame in Kumasi, where he told the influential delegates about the incessant calls on him to enter the party’s contest to enable him to lead it in 2024.
Sources close to the minister confirmed to Daily Guide that it was a private meeting with the hierarchy of the party in the region, to get their views and to seek their respective support.
According to sources, all the NPP constituency chairmen, first vice chairmen and second vice chairmen as well as secretaries in the region were met and addressed in separate groups by the Minister, who sold his vision to serve the country further, to them.
Similarly, the Agric Minister, who was educated in the prestigious Cambridge University, was expected to meet with all the NPP organizers from the 47 constituencies in the region on Sunday to enable him to ask for their support. Likewise, he was expected to meet the party communicators from the constituencies on Monday.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto, son of late Asantehene Kyeame Bafuor Osei Akoto, is said to be very close to President Akufo-Addo.
He reportedly announced to the party kingpins that he has been getting massive appeals from the rank and file as well as the party’s structures throughout the country to enter the contest when President Akufo-Addo’s tenure ends.
In this regard, he reportedly appealed passionately to the selected NPP executives, who are influential and powerful in their various constituencies, to advise him and offer him their unflinching support so that together they can move Ghana forward.
According to the source, the minister was of the view that other people in the NPP having similar ambition like him, have clandestinely started campaigning, therefore, he was also eligible to quietly start meeting the party members and solicit for their support.
Apart from his enviable track record as Minister, Dr. Afriyie Akoto reportedly told the top NPP members that he was qualified to also contest for the big party position because his father, the late Baffuor Akoto, whose National Liberation Movement (NLM) merged with then opposition to form the United Party (UP) in 1957, gave birth to the NPP in 1992.
He reportedly stated emphatically that he was not an alien in the NPP therefore, when an enviable seat such as the flagbearer position in the party becomes vacant, he has every right to also enter the contest.
Ashanti Region Factor
He said allegedly that Ashanti Region is the stronghold of the NPP and as a native of the region, he considers himself a worthy candidate for flagbearer in 2024 when the President’s tenure ends and added that he was capable of helping to break the 8-year political cycle between the NPP and the NDC under the current democratic dispensation ushered in through the 1992 Constitution.
He also reportedly said the Ashanti Region, like other areas, was facing challenges such as lack of roads and medical facilities, just to mention a few, stressing that the region needs a native of that area, who is strong and decisive, to become President to do even more for them.
The Agric Minister, who reportedly spoke at length, said he was hopeful that he would get the needed support and votes from the Ashanti Region when the NPP eventually goes to the polls to select the next presidential candidate, noting that he was counting on the region.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto, responding to a question from an NPP member as to whether President Akufo-Addo was aware of his ambition, said that the President would wish to hand over power to an NPP government in 2025.
The minister could not be reached to ascertain the veracity of his presidential ambition.