The Office of the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Afriyie Akoto, has denied reports that he incited party supporters against President Akufo-Addo and the government in a meeting with some party grassroots.
In a statement signed by his press secretary, Issah Alhassan Ridwan, the allegation was dismissed as lies and ‘cowardly.’
“Clearly, the said article has been skewed sadly by detractors, to incite the President and the Government against him. It is however not surprising to us because detractors of the Honourable Minister have always used such wicked and cowardly approach, as modus operandi, to ostensibly tarnish his image and incite hatred for him,” the statement said.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto at a meeting with some New Patriotic Party (NPP) executives in the Northern Region is reported to have accused the President, Nana Akufo-Addo of neglecting the party and making it unpopular.
According to reports, Dr. Afriyie who is seriously nursing a presidential ambition in 2024, selected 5 delegates each from the 18 constituencies of the Northern region and assembled them at the popular Gilbert Hotel.
The Delegates were said to have waited for nearly 5 hours while the Minister was in the traditional capital of Dagbon to pay homage to the Ya Naa.
Upon returning from Yendi, the Minister went straight into the meeting room where he told participants of his decision to run for President, according to reports.
He is said to have explained that his decision to run for President is to salvage what he termed “the neglect by the top of the grassroots”, allegedly blaming the President over the neglect.
Afriyie Akoto is said to have charged the delegates to support his bid, stating that he could do better than the President in managing the party.
Allegedly, he gave each of the 5 delegates representing the 18 constituencies an amount of GHC2000 each totaling GHC180, 000.
Videos capturing aspects of the meeting have since gone viral. But according to his press secretary, those videos and audios have been skewed by Afriyie Akoto’s detractors.
According to the statement, the Agric Minister never organized any meeting as is being alleged. It also denied that the minister doled out cash to delegates.
“I would want to place on record that the Honourable Minister never gave out any money to the party faithful in the meeting. The said GhC 2000 per party supporter at the meeting as quoted in the article is meant to give the impression of vote-buying. This is not only malicious but also a deliberate attempt to tarnish his hard-won image,” the statement said.
Rather, the statement explained that the Minister was in the 5 northern regions for his annual tour to interact with farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector and that on the first evening of his tour, the Minister responded to a request by some party members to discuss the welfare of party members, something he has allegedly been doing regularly on his regional tours since assuming office in 2017.
It added that the Agric minister r has always used such opportunities to encourage party members to continue to work and support the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, in propagating the successes and achievements.
“During his interactions with the party members, they expressed their concerns on the neglect of the grassroots. They believe this contributed to the unsatisfactory results of the 2020 general elections. His subsequent discussions centered on the way forward for addressing their concerns,” Issah Alhassan Ridwan claimed.