The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is desperately shopping for a suitable party guru to vie for the position of national chairman as the party appears to be settling on John Mahama as flag bearer.
So far, about five people have declared their intention to lead the party but the majority of the party’s leaders are reportedly holding that all those who have come out to contest the position currently occupied by Kofi Portuphy, do not fit the bill.
As a result, they are pushing for former Finance Minister, Professor Kwesi Botchwey, who had earlier showed interest in the presidential race, to enter the contest to become the chairman.
The former minister, who chaired the 13-member committee that investigated why the NDC performed abysmally during the 2016 general elections, sending them packing out of power, is being ‘coerced’ to contest because they still consider him to have what they term an ‘unblemished’ record.
The agenda to make Prof Botchwey the NDC National Chairman by ‘all means’ is reportedly being spearheaded by the camp of former President John Mahama.
Some of the Mahama ‘boys’ are said to have even gone to the NDC Headquarters at Adabraka in Accra to pick a nomination form for the good old former finance minister without his consent.
Currently, NDC’s Director of Elections, who supervised a disastrous general election in 2016, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, former NDC General Secretary Hudu Yahaya and former Trade and Industry Minister and former NDC MP for Keta, Dan Abodakpi, who was once jailed for causing financial loss to the state, have all shown interest in the chairmanship race.
Hudu Yahaya was in the race in 2014 but chickened out at the last-minute while Mr. Abodakpi also lost to Kofi Portuphy, who is not seeking re-election, sources said.
Former Attorney General Betty Mould-Iddrisu and current NDC Vice Chairperson, who supervised the fraudulent payment of GH¢51.2 million to Woyome which has become an albatross on the neck of the party, is reportedly interested in the position as her posters have been spotted in some principal streets of Accra.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that Dr Benjamin Kumbour, a former Defence Minister and ally of former President JJ Rawlings is also believed to be lacing his boots for the same position.
Running Mate Saga
The Mahama Camp is said to be pushing for Prof. Botchwey, who is from the Central Region where the NDC was walloped at the polls in 2016 because he wants to select his running mate from the Volta Region should he win the flag bearer contest for the 2020 election.
Interestingly, the Ahwoi brothers, who are one of the power brokers in the party, are said to be pushing for one of their brothers to partner Mr Mahama for 2020.
However, the former president is reportedly determined to go for a running mate from the Volta Region that is why they are pushing somebody from the Central Region in order to appease the electorate there.
Mr. Mahama himself is said to be in a dilemma over his running mate if he becomes the flag bearer because one of his trusted officers, former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, is also eyeing the post and it could be difficult for the former president to overlook him.
The party has set 29-5 September 2018 for submission of nomination forms with the endorsement of at least 100 party members.
A former ambassador is also required to recommend or second the nomination of party members vying for all 14 national executive positions.
However, Prof Botchwey issued a statement denying reports that he plans to contest the chairmanship position of the NDC.
Prof Botchwey gave a hint of his intention to contest a leadership position to help the NDC possibly return to power in 2020.
Having shown a lack of interest in the chairmanship position, the only leadership position available that would help bring the NDC back to power is the flag bearer.
Prof Botchwey said he would announce his plans in the coming days.
Botchwey was said to have picked forms on Saturday to contest the chairmanship position.
“The Office of Professor Kwesi Botchwey received with surprise the news being carried by Myjoyonline news portal that he has picked a form to contest the office of National Chairman in the upcoming NDC congress slated for later this year.
“The office wants to put it on record that Professor Kwesi Botchwey has not authorised any person to pick a form on his behalf or has he ever considered contesting the office of NDC National Chairman.
“We consider this act by some faceless people as desperate, wicked and devious with the intent of portraying him as inconsistent with his decisions, and a deliberate attempt to create confusion in the minds of his teeming supporters.
“The office shall investigate and report this conduct to the National Executive Committee to bring to book the persons behind this desperate conduct to book.
“In the coming days, Professor Kwesi Botchwey shall publicly declare his intention and the capacity in which he will decide to lead the party for victory 2020. We want to assure our teeming supporters that Prof. Kwesi Botchey remains resolute to the agenda agreed on,” he stated.