A senior member of the New Patriotic Party has challenged the presidential candidate of the Peoples National Convention (PNC), Hassan Ayariga (pictured), to be bold and endorse the candidature of President John Dramani Mahama if he so wishes instead of saying one thing and acting differently.
Kwabena Agyei Agyepong believes Mr Ayariga’s actions and words over the period have portrayed a certain liking for the NDC, and it would do him a world of good to publicly declare his support for the NDC presidential candidate.
Mr Agyepong was speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show a day after the third and final Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)-organised Presidential Debates for the flagbearers of parties with representation in Parliament.
Hassan Ayariga, perhaps to show he had really been ill which led to his initial decision to withdraw from the debate, was heard and seen coughing on a number of occasions.
Interestingly, his coughing bouts seemed to occur most often when the presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo was speaking, and not when he (Ayariga) or the two others were speaking.
Analysing the performance of the four leaders, Kwabena Agyepong wondered if Hassan Ayariga was sent by his handlers, probably in the NDC, to disrupt and interrupt the flow and thought processes of the NPP candidate.
He also wondered why somebody seeking the presidency would constantly attack a fellow aspirant instead of the incumbent President.
‘Was he (Hassan Ayariga) tasked to disrupt Akufo-Addo, especially with his cough? Even the viewer was irritated. But interestingly he only coughed when Akufo-Addo was speaking. He never coughed when he was speaking, or when anybody else was speaking.
‘If he wants to endorse Mahama he should be bold and say it. His actions show he knows he is not going to win. If he wants to be the hatchet man for NDC and John Mahama that’s fine, but he shouldn’t do it while going about as PNC flagbearer.’
Mr Agyepong recalled that until his demise on July 24, 2012, Hassan Ayariga had very good relations with the late President Mills, once even going to meet him at the airport when he returned from one of his foreign trips.
As well, Mr Agyepong claimed Mr Ayariga was with President Mahama at the VIP area at the Tamale Airport when he and other NPP leaders accompanied the mortal remains of the late Aliu Mahama to its final resting place, and even enjoyed the President’s security detail.
These actions and more indicate Mr Ayariga’s actual leanings, and it would therefore be in his own interest to publicly declare his stance and put to rest speculation, even within his party, that he was an NDC person in disguise, Mr Agyepong said.
Also commenting, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, commended Nana Akufo-Addo for not rising to the digs and subtle taunts of Mr Ayariga in the course of the debate, saying he had displayed ‘maturity,’ the same trait exhibited by the late Prof. Mills.
‘It was as if Ayariga wasn’t even in the room.’