The message is loud and clear: John Mahama 2020 is almost a certainty as per the pieces of underground information gathered at the just ended National Democratic Congress (NDC) primaries suggest.
Clearly the Mahama signal might give other aspirants in the NDC’s December presidential race somehow thinking seriously about their own chances.
It’s certainly not only the election of the Mahama backers to the top echelon of the party’s executive machinery that is fueling the obvious headache of the Mahama challengers; but also the very reactions and actions of delegates who incidentally would be voting in that landmark elections in December 2018.
Many NDC folks and delegates who thronged the Fantasy Dome of the Trade Fair Centre, stoically rooted for the former President rather openly in a manner that suggests that the presence of the Bagbins, Spio-Garbrahs, Goosie Tanohs and the rest in the NDC presidential election seemed remotely imaginary and a fantasy the Fantasy Dome name depicts.
Today gathered from the setting of the NDC congress the overwhelming Mahama influence amongst the NDC delegates. The presence of the former president overshadowed any of his competitors.
The entry of the other Mahama competitors who incidentally are all garnering for same delegates’ votes did not receive even a quarter of the response that ushered in the former President into the venue of the Congress.
Although many of the NDC delegates thought such an assessment might seem unscientific, they equally believe it could be a pre-cursor to a possible overwhelming Mahama endorsement in the NDC’s January presidential election. What seemed an obvious endorsement by delegates of the Mahama candidature by delegates could be equated to the days when Jerry Rawlings, the former president, was the very epitome of everything NDC.
Ironically the intense acclamation by delegates to the sheer presence of John Mahama was arguably more re-sounding than that of Rawlings’ entry into the Fantasy Dome and an elated delegate told Today, “This is an indication that it’s only a matter of time for us to present again to Ghanaians that we still believe in Mahama to wrestle power from the NPP. He made his own mistakes and he is out to correct his own mistakes”.
For many NDC supporters, all the other candidates have not shown enough to beat Akufo-Addo and the NPP in 2020. They argued that most of the Mahama contestants have not shown enough conviction to be entrusted with a position as key and critical as the NDC’s presidential candidate capable of beating Nana Addo and the NPP in 2020.
“Let’s take a critical look at the other four front runners aside John; I sincerely believe they suffer serious visibility problems and although they might be around with the NDC all the years, they haven’t shown they have enough muscle to lead the NDC to power in 2020”, a lady delegate told Today.
These other four front runners Today’s investigations revealed include, Prof Joshua Alabi, the immediate past Rector of the University of Professional Studies; Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah, a former Minister of State; Hon. Algban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, a stalwart in the Ghanaian legislature and Augustus Goosie Tanoh, another core NDC member right from the days of the PNDC.
They are tagged the Gang of Four. Each of the four though comes with him some degree of political strength that include the building of the NDC into a formidable political party to take over the hegemonic role of the CPP in the country’s body-politic and also working hard to re-package the NDC from its revolutionary PNDC antecedent.
Yet what seemed a worrying obsession to many of the delegates was whether theGang of Four are well placed within the current NDC establishment to disturb and upset the obvious Mahama favourite-tag.
NDC delegates and The Gang of Four
Prof. Joshua Alabi
Prof Joshua Alabi seems to have popularity issues within his own party although he is relatively known within party circles in the Greater Accra and some parts of the southern part of the country. He was once the Regional Minister for the Greater Accra Region and also served as an executive member of the NDC at a certain point.
What were some of the key achievements of Prof. Alabi when he held some of these key positions in the past? In all fairness, he brought a lot of innovations to the University of Professional Studies (UPS) during his tenure as Rector. Same cannot be said about his tenure as the Board chairman of SSNIT where many scandals are still hanging over his stewardship of that office.
As to whether many of the delegates would be looking out to Joshua Alabi as the master of innovations at the UPS alone is an issue worth conjecturing about. But from all indications, many of the delegates who Today spoke to on a possible Joshua Alabi candidature do not seem to know about his class act at the UPS.
Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah
This is the second time the former Minister of Communications and Trade & Industry would be vying for the NDC’s presidential slot. The first being the 2006 delegates congress when he slugged it out with the late Prof. Mills, and and Eddie Annan. Unfortunately, Spio does not seem to have jetted off his non-attraction posture within the NDC.
Many NDC folks still believe Dr. Spio-Grabrah is not too friendly with the party rank and file and also too detached from the party machinery. In effect just like he was smuggled into the party sometime during the second term of Jerry Rawlings, he has done very little to be consummate in NDC philosophy and machinery.
Hon Alban Bagbin
Many of the NDC supporters who we spoke to were of the opinion that Bagbin is even lucky to have retained even his seat as the NDC MP for the Nadowli-Kaleo constituency. Although they submitted to his brilliance to parliamentary debates thus enriching the work of the Legislature, they maintained that Bagbin has done very little to endear himself to many NDC faithful.
Incidentally these are the people who form the majority of NDC delegates for the December congress. They also argued that if it’s about the best Northerner to lead the NDC in election 2020 then Mahama is best and positioned and has no peers in the Northern Region.
Augustus Goosie Tanoh
Perhaps the candidate that most of the NDC delegates prefer aside John Mahama is Augustus Goosie Tanoh. Most of the delegates did not care a hoot about the fact that he once jumped the NDC boat. The popular opinion within the NDC rank and file is that Goosie is in the race to market himself for 2024 and they believe at 62, Goosie has age on his side to succeed John Mahama in the years after 2020.
Most of the delegates appreciate very well Goosie’s campaign style of reconnecting the NDC to its grassroots participation and the core values of probity and accountability. Nonetheless, they believe Goosie is not immediately disposed to wrestling power from Akufo Addo as compared to John Mahama. If anything at all, Goosie is the candidate for the immediate future, they argued.
Mahama & Corruption
One of the accusations against John Mahama is that he superintended over corrupt administration. Our findings on the subject however, showed that some NDC delegates are not perturbed about this propaganda by the NPP. According to the NDC delegates “Ghanaians now know the truth having witnessed numerous corrupt practices under Akufo-Addo’s regime”.
Akufo-Addo on corruption
Indeed these delegates opined that, the then Candidate Akufo-Addo was only paying lip service to the fight against corruption. They dared him to allow his so-called Special Prosecutor’s to investigate the alleged corrupt practices that have hit his government since he took office.
For instance, they mentioned deputy Chief of Staff Abu Jinapor and Boakye Assenso; Minister of Trade and Industry Allan Kyerematen in the Cash for Seat scandal; deputy Minister of Sports Pius Enam Hadzide and the former BOST boss and that of the former Minister of Energy Boakye Agyarko as classical examples of corrupt practices that had gone unchecked under President Akufo-Addo.
Corruption under Akufo-Addo
They believe there are equally some legitimate corruption related questions that Akufo Addo’s administration ought to answer before attempting to label John Mahma as corrupt.
They questioned what has become of the much touted office of the Special Prosecutor and believe the NPP is deliberately stifling that office of the needed resources and funds because NPP functionaries would be the first to experience the wrath of the independent minded Martin Amidu if they dared give him a push in the pursuit of his duties.
In the case of the investigations into the conduct of Alan Kyerematen and the two deputy Chief of Staff, the delegates were of the opinion that it was only a smokescreen to mislead Ghanaians that Akufo-Addo was out to fight corruption.
They were equally of the opinion that the dismissal of Boakye Agyarko was because he called the bluff of Akufo Addo; while the BOST boss was dismissed because of the perception that he was an NDC sympathizer and wondered why the two were not prosecuted if indeed they had done anything untoward.
Others corrupt cases under Akufo-Addo
The NDC seemed to be in possession of an array of corruption related issues that would be unleashed if the NPP tries to play up that card in event John Mahama wins the NDC presidential slot.
Although delegate-supporters of Mahama would not go into details, they claimed to have enough materials relating to scandals at the Maritime Authority, GNPC, the Birth & Death Registry where there are serious questions over the person who won that contract; the Kelni VG Scandal at the Ministry of Communications; Sale of confiscated vehicles by top official of the Akufo-Addo administration; NLA Boss awarding contract to his wife and how the presidency has become the latest haven for award of contract for percentage cut and many others.