The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has rubbished claims that he was in the Ashanti Region over the weekend to announce his bid for the flagbearer position of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
According to Mr. Afriyie Akoto, this claim, making rounds on social media is a deliberate attempt to court public disaffection against him.
“Per the constitution of the New Patriotic Party, nominations have not been opened for interested candidates to announce their intentions to contest for any position in the party. It is therefore unfortunate for anyone to seek to create the impression that I held a meeting to announce my bid for the “flagbearership” position of the party,” part of a statement released by the Minister read.
His comment follows earlier reports of a private meeting with some top-notch power brokers of the NPP in Kumasi.
According to sources, during that meeting allegedly held at his house at Danyame, near the Parks and Gardens, he made known his intention to run for President.
But disputing the claims, Mr. Afriyie Akoto said although he did meet some party members, he was only in Kumasi to rest and recover from a fever he was running after attending the budget reading in Parliament.
“As a former Member of Parliament in the region and as a senior member of this government, I accepted to grant audience to some party executives who had been making calls for a meeting to discuss matters concerning the welfare of the party,” he added.
In the release dated March 18, Mr. Afriyie Akoto also admitted having given some money to “guest who came from far and near” for transportation. However, he insists that the amount was not up to the GH¢1,000,000.00 being quoted on social media.
“The narrators claimed that I spent up to GH¢1, 000,000.00 at the said meeting to announce my bid for the position. This is not only incorrect but it could only be in the imaginations of the one making those claims. Meeting 17 constituency executives for each of the 47 constituencies in my house meant I was receiving about 700 delegates.
“My house does not have the capacity to accommodate such numbers. How therefore can one assume that I paid almost One Million Ghana Cedis to these NPP executives in one day?”
Touching on some promises he is alleged to have made, the Agric Minister described them as lies and a figment of the narrator’s imagination.
This according to him is because, tractors and motorbikes available for distribution are to be used for farming purposes, and hence cannot be allocated and distributed for personal political ambition.
He used the opportunity to urge the media to refrain from acts that have the tendency to derail the historical gains made by government or destroy the relationship between himself and President Akufo-Addo.
“It is no secret that I have a very close relationship with President Akufo Addo which predates our political careers. But it can only be a figment of one’s imagination to assume that I will put the President in such an uncomfortable situation by using his name to the campaign.
“Especially when he has issued a strong warning to members of his government to refrain from such conducts. I think my relationship with the President should rather be the reason why I should continue to give off my best in order to help make his second term continued success,” he concluded.