After a gruelling campaign period and an even keener contest during the elections proper, the Ghana Football Association has a new president in Kurt E.S Okraku.
Mr Okraku beat off strong competition from former FA Vice George Afriyie to become the 24th President in the history of the GFA.
While it will take a couple of days for the reality to dawn on both winner and losers, the truth is that this has been a remarkable and unprecedented page in the annals of the FA.
Never ever has any FA Chairman or President gone through three rounds of voting to secure the mandate to lead the association.
There will be a proper postmortem of the elections. The dynamics of why Kurt won and why George Afriyie lost would all be laid bare in the coming days.
In the meantime, these are the five things we at Ghanaweb learned in the whole electioneering process.
George Afriyie paid the price for being overconfident
Maybe it was a façade. Maybe it was naivety. But whatever it was, George Afriyie came across as overly confident. Complacent even. For his experience, it was strange why and how he thought this was going to be a stroll in the park. It was never going to be so. Wilfred Osei Palmer, until his disqualification was a strong contender and Kurt Okraku was always going to get a fair share of the votes as well, and yet Afriyie’s camp treated them as no competition.
George Afriyie at a point declared that he was certain of amassing not less than 70 votes to make it a one-touch victory as we say in this part of town. In the end he managed only 40 votes in the first round. Confidence is good but complacency and overconfidence can be the undoing of any candidate in an election.
It is the reason the term ‘Fear Delegates’ has become so popular in Ghanaian politics.
George Afriyie has sadly learned this the hard way.
You underrate Kurt at you own peril
Why anybody would underrate Kurt Okraku in an election is shocking. He has proved time and again that he is a formidable politician and strategist.
During the final tenure of Kwesi Nyantakyi, Kurt won an election on the ticket of Division One to serve on the Executive Committee in 2015. The Division One League has 48 members/votes. Kurt amassed 38 of the 48 votes in that election, the highest of any of the contenders.
His work with the FA Cup Committee ensured he had a relationship with the main actors in the lower division so his profile as a leading contender should have never been in doubt.
There was vote-buying
Not sure if vote-buying is the right word. Maybe vote-influencing and yes It is hard to find the evidence to prove this but don’t kid yourself. There was massive vote-buying in this election.
From the RFA election to the Executive Council election right up to the Presidential elections money exchanged hands and we are talking top dollar. Quality of the candidate and relationships play a huge part in winning an election in Ghana football but the power of money is real. Is it good? No? Would it stop? No.
Kwesi Nyantakyi played a huge role
Kwesi Nyantakyi’s choice going into the elections was Wilfred Osei Palmer. Don’t believe it no matter how hard Team Palmer and loyalists of Kwesi Nyantakyi deny it.
But the moment Palmer was disqualified and his case at CAS failed to yield the injunction he was seeking for, it was obvious that whoever Kwesi/ Palmer backed will go through. There were meetings in the dead of the night on the eve of the elections between Kwesi Nyantakyi and the Regional Association Chairmen to make a final decision. Do they go for Kurt Okraku or go for Nana Yaw Amponsah? We are told they left the decision to the delegates but the message was clear, whichever way you go, don’t go for George Afriyie.
When George Afriyie does a proper introspection about why he lost, he will realise, if he hasn’t already that the breakdown of his relationship with his former boss has been his undoing.
On that score, the saying that ‘Don’t ever slam a door for you might want to go back” rings true.
Randy Abbey is the power-broker
We know Randy as a fine football brain. He has shown over the years that he has a deep understanding of the game. But over the last few weeks he has assumed an even bigger role. He has become the voice of reason and it was his ingenuity at first Extra-Ordinary Congress as well as this elective Congress that curtailed a possible chaotic scenario.
Randy has won power to be on the Executive Council and has emerged as a frontrunner to become the Vice President of the GFA. If he does get it no one, absolutely no one can say that he didn’t earn it.