The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has condemned General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia for publicly questioning the Ashanti Regionâ€™s voters register.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia, on Monday, described the voters register in the Ashanti Region as bloated while he remained silent on other regions which equally had their voting population dropping in the recent biometric register.
His attack particularly targets the Ashanti Region which has become a major source of contention for the ruling NDC.
His allegation comes way ahead of the Electoral Commissionâ€™s official release of data on the just-concluded biometric voters register.
The NPP has described Mr. Asiedu Nketiaâ€™s pronouncement as â€śoffensiveâ€ť and â€śunfortunateâ€ť.
â€śI think it is absolutely unfortunate that Mr. Asiedu Nketia should constitute himself into an authority that releases the figure of the just-ended votersâ€™ registration exercise,â€ť said Emmanuel Boakye Agyarko, campaign director of the NPP, in a telephone interview with DAILY GUIDE.
The rather premature challenge thrown by the NDC General Secretary has raised a lot of questions about the motives of the NDC.
Boakye Agyarko believed it was a deliberate propaganda move by the NDC to manipulate the psyche of the general public, in the run-up to the December 2012 general elections.
â€śWe have all gone through this registration exercise. We all kept records of the data from the exercise, but the NPP believes that the legitimate authority to put the numbers out is the Electoral Commission,â€ť Mr. Boakye-Agyarko told DAILY GUIDE. Â â€śIt does not lie in his power to make the comment that he [ Asiedu Nketia]Â is making; they are offensiveâ€ť.
Asiedu Nketiaâ€™s allegation has become very contentious within the political arena because he is seen to have preempted official figures expected to be soon released by the EC.
According to Mr. Asiedu Nketia, the soon-to-be-released figures vindicated the position that the NDC had always held against the NPP in the Ashanti Region. â€śWe are compiling our own draft register so that we can compare with whatever figures the Electoral Commission will bring out. But the figures we are seeing I think are good for NDC because for once our, party has been vindicated on our long held position we have taken that the register has always been bloated in the Ashanti Region,â€ť said the controversial general secretary.
â€śThe figures that are coming out from the Ashanti Region give us a strong vindication of that position which we have held all along,â€ť he emphasised.
Ghanaâ€™s population is said to be growing at 3 percent annually, but Asiedu Nketia was cock-sure that even with an estimated annual population growth rate, the Ashanti Regionsâ€™ voter base had curiously dropped by 100,000 since 2008.
It is unclear why Mr. Asiedu singled out the Ashanti Region, which has historically been the stronghold of the NPP. Critics wonder why the NDC general secretary did not make any mention of the Volta Region- the stronghold of the NDC- in his calculations, casting strong implications on the purpose of his recent outburst.
Mr. Agyarko calculated the voter population in the Ashanti Region at approximately 2.9 million people; the highest in the country.
Indeed, according to provisional 2010 census figures from the Ghana Statistical Service, the Ashanti Region is the most populous region in the country, with a population of approximately 4, 73 million people, while the second populous region-the Greater Accra Region- has a population of approximately 3, 91 million.
â€śAll we are saying is that leaving those matters to the legitimate authorities-the EC. It does not lie with Asiedu Nketia to be casting aspersions on one region out of 10 regions,â€ť said the NPP campaign director.
â€śWe know that it is deliberate that Asiedu Nketia and his friends want to launch into propaganda. You donâ€™t solve national problems from propagandaâ€ť.
Critics contend that the Electoral Commission should wade into the situation and put out the official data of voters across the country to stop all the unsolicited issuance of votersâ€™ data from political parties.
By Raphael Adeniran