Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the immediate-past Minister of Food and Agriculture and a flagbearer hopeful for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), defied the torrential rains that hit Assin North and other parts of the country on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, to campaign for Charles Opoku, the NPP parliamentary candidate for the Assin-North bye-election.
Notable localities he visited to campaign for votes for the party’s parliamentary candidate include Assin Bereku (District Capital), Assin Praso, Assin Asempaneye, Akenkanse, Akonfudi, Dansami, Assen Mempasem, Assin Kushia, Assin Senkyem, Assin Brofoyedu, Assin Juaso, Assin Breman, and Bediadua.
In all the areas he visited, Dr. Akoto interacted with the people and urged them to vote massively for Charles Opoku to enable him to lobby for more developmental projects for the communities.
He was accompanied by Charles Opoku, National Chairman of the Party, Stephen Ayensu Ntim, General Secretary Justin Frimpong Kodua, National Organiser Henry Nana Boakye (Nana B), deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo Markin, and the Minister of State at the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation, and Rural Development, Osei Bonsu Amoah.
The rest were the Campaign Chairman for the Afriyie Campaign Team and former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the party, Alfred Boye, National Coordinator for the campaign, Peter Oteng Darko, Central Regional First Vice-Chairman of the party, Assin North NPP Constituency Chairman, District Chief Executive, Assin North, Cape-Coast Municipal Chief Executive, Assin-North constituency executives, and several women organisers from the various Polling Stations in Assin North.
Local rice farmers ambush Dr. Akoto
When word reached the Assin North District that Dr. Afriyie Akoto was in town and had begun campaigning for Charles Opoku, 400 rice farmers gathered to ambush him at the District Capital, Assin Bereku, where they lauded him for positively impacting their lives while he was the Minister of Food and Agriculture.
Dr. Akoto had no choice but to address the rice farmers at a local Catholic Church before continuing his campaign tour at this point.
He thanked the rice farmers for their honour and assured them of President Akufo-Addo’s commitment to supporting their efforts.
The rice farmers have known Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto since he was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwadaso and a member of the Food, Agriculture, and Cocoa Affairs Committee. During one of its meetings, the then-government of John Dramani Mahama delivered to Parliament a proposal from the Korean Ambassador to Ghana about a scheme they had designed to study the Central Region’s economic potential.
The Korean Government’s sponsorship initiative did not materialise due to a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the government. When the NPP, led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, took over the country’s political administration on January 7, 2017, Dr. Akoto quickly renewed the Korean Government’s sponsorship arrangement.
In his remarks to the rice farmers, he stated that when the Korean experts presented their assessment, they concluded that the Central Region has the ability to produce enough rice to feed Ghana and West Africa in general.
“The NDC couldn’t implement the programme despite the persistent reminders. So, when the NPP took over in 2017, I reactivated this deal with the Korean government, and that is why today we have a lot of you going into rice production here in Assin North District. The good news about what you are already enjoying is that President Akufo-Addo, together with the Korean Government, has initiated a move to import a lot of equipment and/or farm machinery to boost local rice production in the country. You are going to be the first beneficiaries of this project”, he noted.
He urged the rice farmers to continue believing in the Akufo-Addo government by voting massively for Charles Opoku in the upcoming Tuesday, June 27, 2023, bye-election.
After interacting with the rice farmers, the former two-time MP for Kwadaso constituency and his entourage joined other party members at Assin Bediadua to observe the one-week burial celebration of Madam Theresa Arthur, a Polling Station Women’s Organiser.
He also paid a courtesy call to the Chief and Elders of Bediadua, where he reintroduced Charles Opoku and urged them to support their son because he is the only one who can fight for additional development projects in the area.
In a brief statement, the chief asked Dr. Akoto and the party leaders for additional development initiatives in the area.