Four years ago, a respected elder of the Pentecost Church, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, defied the odds to become the National Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress.
The elections were organized at the Ghana International Trade Fair Center, where he prevailed against a party stalwart like Dan Abodakpi.
Dan Kosi Abodakpi, who is a founding member of the party was reportedly supported by the founder of the party himslef, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings.
The conversation at the time was that, Abodakpi was a cadre and therefore had enough experience to captain the umbrella family.
Old names in the party, including Chairman Rawlings were therefore reported as key proponents of the Abodakpi campaign.
But that was not all. Ofosu-Ampofo's nightmares in that election were more than the resistance he purportedly faced from the old faces in the party.
There were also rumors that Abodakpi was being supported by the Office of the former president, John Dramani Dramani Mahama.
So effectively, it was a case of a party's founder and its previous flagbearer rallying against one man – Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo.
But once again, that was not all! Apart from the titans who were allegedly behind Abodakpi, Ofosu-Ampofo had other huge hurdles to cross.
In the 2018 Chairmanship race, he also came up against big names like former Attorney General, Betty Mould Iddrisu; former NDC General Secretary, Alhaji Hudu Yahaya and respected businessman, Danny Annan.
At the time, Betty Mould Iddrisu evoked a groundswell of support from the women in the party who felt that a feminine face was a viable option for the NDC.
Just like the supporters of Dan Abodakpi, advocates of Hudu Yahaya also touted his experience. Whiles the Danny Annan team empahsised his resourcefulness and ability to pull liquidity into the party which was in opposition.
However when all was said and done, Ofosu-Ampofo still managed to pulled a total of 3,656 to emerge victorious. His victory was therefore seen as a shattering of the ‘establishment; given the stiff opposition he faced.
Subsequently, he was sworn in as the leader of the NDC; a position he occupied until Sunday, 18th December, when he was defeated by another party stalwart, Johnson Asiedu Nketia.
I attended the NDC's 2018 Congress as an observer and followed the proceedings.
If you ask me, the charm Ofosu-Ampofo exuded back in 2018 was particularly different from the reception he received at the Accra Sports Stadium on Saturday.
In this piece, I shall therefore highlight what went wrong for him and why the NDC delegates decided to vote against the man whom they had massively endorsed some four years ago.
The reasons discussed in the ensuing paragraphs reflect the sentiments of the delegates which influenced their decision.
1.His role in the Kwabena Dufuor led ‘Ahortor Project‘
Not long ago, the NDC launched a programme known as the ‘Ahotor Project'.
The project was a special purpose vehicle designed to quicken the grassroot of the party and motivate them to work for the NDC in the 2024 election.
It involved the delivery of financial support and other incentives to the party's grassroots and was funded by former Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffour.
On a normal day, this getsure ought to have been applauded and welcomed by all.
However, some elements in the party suspected that, it was Dr Kwabena Duffuor's way of endearing himself to the grassroot, in furtherance of his flagbearership ambitions against John Mahama.
The project was therefore seen as part of a calculated attempt to make Mahama unpopular in the party, while building a competitive following for Kwabena Duffour.
Incidentally, Ofosu-Ampofo associated with the project and was therefore seen as part of the cabal working quietly to push Mahama out of the NDC and usher in Dr Duffuor as the party's next flagbearer.
The perception that Ofosu-Ampofo was against Mahama entered the heads of many delegates who vehemently resisted the covert plans by Dr Duffuor and Ofosu-Ampofo.
At this point it must be noted that, former President, John Dramani Mahama, has a strong support base in the NDC, and as such his loyalists would do anything to retain him in the party.
And so once Ofosu-Ampofo was slapped with the tag of being ‘anti-Mahama', he was seen as an enemy of the Mahama agenda, and this led to the widespread angst which culminated in his defeat.
Unlike Asiedu Nketia, who was perceived as a loyalist of John Mahama, Ofosu-Ampofo was discussed as a Mahama opponent by many of the delegates who love Mahama, hence their refusal to vote for him.
2.The speculations of being in bed with the NPP
Apart from the sentiments of being anti-Mahama, some delegates who interacted with me at the Accra Sports Stadium shared concerns about how Mr Ofosu-Ampofo has strong ties with the New Patriotic Party.
It will be recalled that in November 2020, the High Court admitted into evidence, a leaked recording in which Mr Ofosu-Ampofo was plotting schemes to cause insecurity in the country.
From that day, he has been to court on numerous occasions.
Now according to some of the delegates, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo's trial over the period has made him a weak link in the party.
In that, the NPP uses the trial to blackmail him into making decisions that hurt the NDC.
In their view, Ofosu-Ampofo has lost his independence and firmness and is now being remote-controlled by the NPP, making him a political puppet and a liability in that regard.
For the fact that he has his hands in the mouth of the state, the delegates said he cannot take on the New Patriotic Party with the needed boldness and fearlessness.
Going into the 2024 elections which may be very crucial, the delegates feared that Ofosu-Ampofo will be neutralized by the NPP to make backdoor compromises and secret concessions that will derail the fortunes of the NDC.
This, for many of the delegates was a key reason they refused to cast their ballots in his favour.
Others further indicated that, he has been receiving undisclosed favours from the NPP to cushion his personal comfort; an allegation they strongly emphasised despite having provided no evidence to that effect.
3.The issue of personal charisma, charm and political aura
The NDC has been in opposition since 2016, with a possibility of being denied power in 2024.
This can be inferred from the momentum of the NPP's ‘breaking the eight' mantra.
The delegates who gathered at the Accra Sports Stadium therefore emphasised that, there is the need for the NDC to be led by a visibly aggressive character who can rally the grassroot of the party and moblise the party's base to action in 2024.
But according to them, Chairman Ofosu-Ampofo lacks that energetic and combative disposition needed for the ‘war' in 2024.
Their assessment was that, his calm and diplomatic nature, though admirable, are not what the NDC needs to snatch power from the New Patriotic Party who are bent on securing another term.
For them, Ofosu Ampofo's ‘dullness', as compared to the confrontational spirit of Asiedu Nketia would derail the fortunes of the NDC, hence their refusal to retain him as the party's Chairman.
My conversations with them further revealed that Ofosu-Ampofo has gradually infused his dull and uncharismatic leadership style into certain key areas of the NDC, bringing down the aggression and fighting spirit the party is known for.
These sentiments were deepened by the comments of Asiedu Nketia in a leaked video in which he alleged that the party's collation system which Ofosu-Ampofo brought in 2020, broke down in the course of the collation of the results.
For them, this was a manifestation of his weak personality, which culminates in his weak decisions.
4.The Griffiths conversation
The name Griffiths, was one of the popular names on the tongues of some NDC delegates at the Accra Sports Stadium.
But who is he? Mr Osei Kwame Griffiths is the NDC's Director of Information Technology (IT).
As part of his traditional responsibilities, he was expected to assist with the collation of the NDC's 2020 results and supervise the electronic transmission of same.
However, according to the delegates, this role was abysmally discharged.
Instead of deploying a robust system to collate and monitor the party's results, Griffiths allegedly fell on weaker systems in that regard; hence the party's inability to collate her results.
The question then arises. If Griffiths, a party official was unable to deliver on his mandate as expected, how is the party's Chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo to blame?
Well, according to the delegates, Griffiths' shabby performance was because of Ofosu-Ampofo's insistence as the party's Chairman.
The story has it that, at the time the NDC was contracting a service provider to collate its 2020 results, some executives of the NDC vehemently opposed suggestions from Griffiths due to his alleged ties with Dr Bawumia, the Vice President.
It is said that some executives expressed their doubts about Griffiths and suggested other alternatives.
However, Chairman Ofosu-Ampofo reportedly insisted that Griffiths must be maintained! The story goes on to say that, he even threatened to resign if Griffiths was not engaged.
Asiedu Nketia, in his leaked audio ahead of the Congress noted that the system Ofosu-Ampofo brought for the collation of results broke down after results from just five regions had been compiled.
Putting all of these together, the delegates therefore inferred that Chairman Ofosu-Ampofo's entrenched preference for an alleged ‘Bawumia boy' (Griffiths), was the reason the party couldn't successfully collate her results in 2020.
“Who will vouch for a leader of a political party who can't supervise a robust system for collating electoral results?”, some of the delegates quizzed.
Their verdict therefore was that since Ofosu-Ampofo failed to use his discretion to veto a competent results collation system, he cannot be trusted to do anything meaningful in 2024, when the stakes would be much higher.
All of the above sentiments from the NDC delegates were viral. And it was therefore no surprise that this opponent, Asiedu Nketia, the 65-year-old politician secured 65.17% of the votes to eliminate him.
Mr Ofosu- Ampofo on the other hand got 33.81% of the votes, ending his reign as the NDC's National Chairman.
Meanwhile on the grounds, there was every indication that Asiedu Nketia was going to carry the day.
When he showed up at the stadium, the applauses were rapturous; the cheers were deafening; and the screams could have raised the roofs of the Accra Sports Stadium if it had any.
His win was therefore not a surprise to many. As a reporter on the grounds, even though I was anticipating a close contest, my expectations were grossly dashed.
I believe Ofosu-Ampofo also felt disappointed; given the gap of General Mosquito's victory.
His own executives, whom he had worked with over the four year period did not even vote for him. Asiedu Nketia swept those votes as well.
That was the extent of his annihilation.
However, it is important to note that he denied all the allegations which were leveled against him; as paraded by some delegates.
Now he has stated that he will revive his loyalty to the party and support the NDC's bid to wrestle power in the upcoming 2024 general election.
Whether he will come to the table as a resourceful asset or lurk in the shadows out of bruised emotions can only be deciphered with time.
What do you think will become of him?
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