Former President John Dramani Mahama has formally declared his intention to contest the National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential primaries.
His letter of intent was presented to the NDC on his behalf by a delegation led by Former Ambassador, Daniel Ohene Agyekum at the NDC headquarters today [Thursday] in Accra.
Others members of the delegation included former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, Valerie Sawyer, Ambassador Victor Smith, Inusah Fuseini and a host of Members of Parliament.
Mr. Mahama joins other high profile candidates within the NDC including the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Mensah, and Nadowli Kaleo MP, Alban Bagbin.
Other candidates are Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah; a former Trade and Industry Minister; Former Vice Chancellor of the University for Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Prof. Joshua Alabi, and Cape Coast South MP Kweku Ricketts-Hagan.
The NDC has slated December 7, 2018, for the election of its flagbearer for the 2020 presidential election.
Mahama in politics
Mahama, aged 60, entered into politics in 1996 when he was elected to the Parliament to represent the Bole/Bamboi Constituency for a four-year term.
He was re-elected in 2000 and 2004.
During this time, he served as the Deputy Minister of Communications in 1997, Minister of Communications from 1998 until 2001, Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Communications from 2001 until 2005, and Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Foreign Affairs from 2005 until 2008.
On 7th January 2009, Mr. Mahama became the Vice-President of Ghana after the NDC’s election 2008.
He remained in that position until President John Atta Mills’ death on 24 July 2012, when in line with Ghana’s Constitution, he became President of the Republic.
The Election petition decider
In December 2012, he became President of Ghana for a four-year term after a contentious election which was eventually resolved after an eight-month-long tussle at the Supreme Court over the validity of the results.
The results were challenged by the New Patriotic Party which contended that over-voting occurred at 1,722 polling stations, while voting without biometric verification occurred at 2,020 polling stations.
The then-opposition party also claimed presiding officers did not also sign pink sheets at 1,638 polling stations, while the use of duplicate serial numbers on pink sheets affected 8,987 polling stations.
The NPP held that if the results of the affected polling stations were annulled, Mr. Mahama’s votes would have reduced by 2,622,551, which would have in turn, beaten down the results declared by the Electoral Commission in his favor, to 41.79 percent.
Though NPP Flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo would have lost by 1,233,186, he would have secured 56.85 percent, per their permutations.
But the Supreme Court upheld Mr. Mahama as the constitutionally elected President.
Mr. Mahama, however fell short in 2016 losing by some one million votes, Nana Akufo-Addo became third time lucky.
Despite leading the NDC to the worst election performance by an incumbent, Mr. Mahama still retained significant support from the party.
He was a mainstay in NDC’s unity walks aimed at reorganizing the party, and he also elicited massive support from the grassroots, which continually urged him to declare his intent to make a run for the Presidency.
The 10 Regional Chairmen of the NDC in 2017 also backed the candidature of Mr. Mahama for election 2020.
The ten regional chairman, after a meeting at the time, issued a communique in which they urged the former President to consider running for the 2020 polls.
At the time, Mr. Mahama insisted that his focus was on restructuring the party.
Some NDC MPs are said to have endorsed Mr. Mahama as the flagbearer for the 2020 polls under controversial circumstances.
Some of the MPs, like the Yunyoo MP, Joseph Bipoba Naabu, claimed they had been coerced into supporting Mr. Mahama.
Nonetheless, the leader of the MPs, numbering about 94, Edwin Nii Lantey Vandapuye, maintained that Mr. Mahama was the only candidate that could lead the NDC to victory in the next polls.
Other MPs have also been vocal in their support of Mr. Mahama over the past 18 months.
Most recently, the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said Mahama would claim at least 85 percent of the votes in the race if he contests.