The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has officially opted for former President John Dramani Mahama over all other persons aspiring to become the party’s flagbearer for the 2020 presidential election.
National Organizer of the party, Kofi Adams, on Thursday made it clear that the NDC does not recognize all those aspiring stalwarts and insisted that the party only recognizes the former president, who is planning a comeback once again to contest the next presidential election after being humiliated as an incumbent in 2016.
Currently, about five top notches – former Trade and Industry Minister Ekwow Spio-Garbrah; former University of Professional Studies Accra Rector, Joshua Alabi; Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin; former National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Chief Executive, Sylvester Mensah and failed parliamentary aspirant, Stephen Atibuga – are aspiring to lead the NDC for Election 2020.
The comment by Mr Kofi Adams, who was the Campaign Coordinator of the 2016 John Mahama’s campaign, has led to some of the stalwarts, who have declared their intentions to lead the party into the 2020 presidential election, to boycott this weekend’s ‘unity walk’ that the party says it is using to bring the rank and file together.
They are boycotting the event scheduled for Tarkwa in the Western Region today because they claim the whole exercise has been skewed in favour of John Dramani Mahama – who wants to lead the NDC again in 2020, after being humiliated at the polls in 2016, thereby scattering his second term presidential bid.
Mr Adams, who supervised the abortive Mahama’s re-election bid as the campaign coordinator, made the party’s intention clear in an interview posted on Ghanaweb.
“They haven’t reached the status of former President Mahama for them to be treated that way,” he said forcefully and went to the extent of saying that “They (aspirants) are engaging in an illegality.
“If there is any other person that reached the status of the former president and wants recognition, he should come out and say it. At this moment we only recognize the ex-president.”
He said the NDC had not opened nominations for the aspirants to be accorded flagbearer status and therefore the party does not recognize any of them.
“Mahama is being recognized by the party because he is a former president and immediate leader of the NDC. We therefore give due recognition to him.
“Any true party person should spend much more time on the timetable set by the party. We have structured all these things and when we have to open nominations we shall recognize all of them,” Adams claimed.
He said the party was going to engage the aspirants and “let them know that they should pipe down because at this moment we don’t recognize what it is that they are doing.”
Kofi Adams continued, “They shouldn’t think that we are going to recognize and give them platforms as aspirants.
“For everything that we do there is what we call an advantage and disadvantage. For President Mahama, those who may be contesting against him, if he decides to contest, will be using some of the things they feel were not done right against him, so if he has any advantage because he has occupied that position, before we should just let him be.”
Mr Kofi Adams’ statement is likely to further deepen the cracks in the party since some of the aspirants have not been happy about the preferential treatment being given to the Mr Mahama, as the NDC embarks on its re-organization exercise.
Already, there is an open endorsement and support has been given to Mr Mahama by all the 10 NDC regional chairmen in clear breach of the party’s rules of engagement; and Kofi Adams’ statement reinforced perceptions that the other candidates might be wasting their time in contesting the former president.
The 10 chairmen converged on Accra to meet the ex-president and assured him of their support in what has come to be known as the ‘Cantonment Declaration.’
The action of the chairmen, who are part of the National Executive Committee (NEC) – the highest decision-making body of the party – sparked heated debate in the party, with some calling for sanctions against them (chairmen) for their ‘divisive’ action.
By William Yaw Owusu