10 October 2007

Ghana: Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey Declares December 22 2007

Accra — Jake Okanta Obetsebi-Lamptey, an NPP presidential aspirant has challenged the media to open its doors to all the presidential aspirants rather than focusing on some selected few, who are perceived to be using money to influence journalists to get their messages across to the electorate.

Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey was addressing members of his campaign team at his Kanda office to appraise his first-leg tour of the country's 230 constituencies, and to strategise for the second round which he disclosed is going to be to be a do-and-die business.

He said the media would be doing the electorate and the nation good if they do not allow money to influence their reporting but ensure that all the aspirants are treated in a fair and balanced manner.

He decried the practice of some media houses which publicize all sorts of opinion polls on the chances of the candidates. Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey said since nobody as at now knows all the delegates who would be voting to choose the presidential candidate in December any aspirant who claims he would get more than half of the total votes cast would be living in a fool's paradise.

He said the only credible opinion poll would be that of December 22 when delegates assemble to elect a presidential candidate. Mr Obetsebi Lamptey urged the media to focus on issues when they monitor the campaigns of the candidates instead of sitting in Accra conjuring all sorts of figures in the name of opinion polls.

"When you go round the constituencies, everybody will assure you that they will vote for you. They say the same thing to all the candidates who come to them. They do this just to get you to believe that they are going to vote for you. What they tell candidate A, is what they tell candidate Z. Meanwhile, it is only four executives from the constituencies that are known. As at now, the remaining six delegates who would be voting at the congress have not been selected yet. So who are the delegates they claim were interviewed?" Jake as a media man himself, having been the boss of the country's best known advertising agency is certainly in a position to know one or two things about opinion polling. "When a particular aspirant" he scoffed "is claiming to get an overwhelming support from the delegates, then that person might be making a comic of himself".

Jake was the Minister for Tourism and Diaspora Relations before resigning to pursue his presidential aspirations. He said the presidential race is just like a marathon, whereby some people will start with high speed and yet be overtaken by those who have constant speed and as such start on a low profile.

He said the NPP is not for sale, and so he would never auction the party to foreign donors. Should he win power in 2008, he would not sell the nation to those who feel they sponsored his campaign. Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey stressed that he would use the little resources at his disposal to engage in a very decent campaign to win the trust and confidence of the delegates to vote for him.

"I want to have contact with the people at the grassroot. I cannot use money to buy their conscience. What is most important is to get my message across to them, and I believe that the delegates will definitely give me the nod to lead the party" he said.

Charles Taylor, Field Manager of Jake's campaign team, said the NPP needs a winnable candidate who knows how to win general elections, and so having looked at Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey's track record, he is the only one who stands tall among his competitors.

He said in the Danquah-Busia tradition, from the 1950s to 2000, there had been 12 general elections, where they lost all but one in 1969, when the NRC suspended the CPP, a situation that gave the Progress Party the opportunity to win for the first time, but even lost in Greater Accra. As soon as Jake was given the chairmanship of the party in the region and national campaign manager, the fortunes of the party began to shine.

Mr. Taylor appealed to delegates to carefully analyse the performances of all the candidates and choose Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey as the party's presidential candidate because he has what it takes to win the Election 2008.

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