A flagbearer hopeful of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Augustus Goosie Tanoh, says despite not picking the party’s nomination forms on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, as it was the deadline, he will still contest the party’s upcoming presidential primary.
Mr Tanoh, who is a lawyer by profession, also hinted of dragging the party to court in connection with the Ghc420,000 nomination and filing fees announced for the flag-bear-aspirants.
He and seven other aspirants petitioned the party, demanding a reduction of the nomination and filing fees, which they described as outrageous.
However, Prof Joshua Alabi, Mr Sylvester Mensah, and Mr Stephen Atubiga, who were either signatories to the petition or shared in the content of that document, picked their nominations forms before the deadline.
Nomination forms were also picked on behalf of Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, by some of his supporters but he rejected it and also hinted of dragging the party to court.
According to Mr Tanoh, in a statement issued to the media yesterday by his campaign team, he declined to pick the nomination forms because he had not heard from the party’s Council of Elders over the petition presented to them to intervene with regard to the “exorbitant” filing fee.
The Goosie Campaign Team in the statement said, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC was perpetuating illegalities so far as guidelines for the presidential primary were concerned.
The statement indicated that Goosie not picking the nomination forms did not mean he was withdrawing from the flag-bearership race, but “we will also take whatever steps political or legal to protect our interests and the interests of the party masses.”
According to the statement, “no consultation was held, and so party officials should not lie to the party. And the fact that the Council cannot veto NEC decisions does not invalidate the requirement to consult and for NEC to suggest otherwise demonstrates extreme disrespect for the Constitution that is the source of their own authority.”
The statement was also not happy that a number of NEC members including the chairman and the general secretary had made public declarations of support for the candidacy of former President John Dramani Mahama.
It claimed that the recent 9th national delegates’ congress of the party was stage-managed to promote Mr Mahama’s campaign with an unscheduled invitation to address the closing ceremony and the playing over the conference loudspeakers of his 2020 campaign song.
“There are abundant reports of “directives” from NEC members to lower officials of the party instructing them to take steps to further Mr Mahama’s campaign,” the statement said.
”With this level of demonstrated bias, other contestants simply cannot trust NEC to run the primaries in a free and fair manner. It makes sense to put some other impartial body such as the Electoral Commission in charge of the process,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, a group called Organising for Ghana, a support group for the Goosie 2020 Campaign, has stated that NEC did not follow due process in deciding on the fee and even the date of the primary.
It said there were constitutional breaches over the issuing of guidelines by NEC for the presidential primary.
The group in a release called for a restart of the process, which it claimed currently favours Mr. Mahama.
It concluded that “Mr Tanoh is not withdrawing from the contest by his refusal to pick forms during the two-day window but thinks the whole process is unconstitutional”.
“We will also take whatever steps political or legal to protect our interests and the interests of the party masses”, the group said.