The return of former President John Dramani Mahma to lead the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party in the 2020 elections after his humiliating defeat in 2016 suffered a serious blow at the weekend.
This was because his key loyalists were unlucky to either retain their seats or clinch victory in their first attempt in the party’s regional executive elections held across the country.
The elections, which were characterised by maneuvering and manipulations, saw a former Minister of Transport, Akua Dzifa Ativor, the incumbent Western regional Chairman of NDC, Big Aiddo, the incumbent Upper West regional Chairman, Matthew Sungaabu, former Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Joseph Yamin, the outgone Northern regional Organiser, Godfred A. Wumbei, the incumbent Eastern regional Chairman, Bismark Tawiah Boateng, and former Central regional Minister, Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, all Mr Mahama’s loyalists, fail to lead the NDC in their respective regions.
Mr Mahama, a fortnight ago, officially declared his intention to contest the party’s presidential primary slated for December 7, 2018.
Delegates, who voted in the elections, rejected Dzifa Ativor, who before the elections, had been tipped to beat the incumbent Chairman, John Kwadjo Gyapong.
Gyapong was rather retained with 491 votes as against that of Ativor’s 374 votes.
In the Western Region, Nana Kojo Toku defeated the incumbent, Big Aidoo, to recapture the position he once occupied.
Nana Toku lost the chairmanship seat to Big Aidoo on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 and subsequently collapsed out of shock.
And as if it was by providence for the Mahama boys to lose, the story in Upper West Region was not different as a 48-year-old businessman, Alhaji Nasir Saani, popularly known as Bunas, won the Upper West regional Chairmanship slot with a landslide victory.
Alhaji Nasir Saani, who is known as a bankroller of the NDC in the region, beat the incumbent, Mathew Sungaabu, with 307 votes in the party’s regional delegates congress held at the Wa Campus of the University for Development Studies.
Mr Mathew Sungaabu, the incumbent regional Chairman, only managed to get 81 votes contrary to earlier speculations that he was going to be retained.
And as if that was not enough, a former deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Joseph Yammin, in an attempt to lead the NDC as its Chairman in the Ashanti Region also crushed.
Mr Yammin, a stanch supporter of Mahama, lost by 88 votes as against Andrew Nana Akwasi’s 699 votes on Saturday, September 1, 2018 at the Twebeboah Kodua Senior High School (SHS) in Kumawu, where the Ashanti regional NDC delegates held their conference.
The story was also not different in Eastern Region as the incumbent, Tawiah Boateng, lost his seat as the NDC’s regional chairman
His long-term political rival, John Owusu Amankrah, popularly known as Jowak, a businessman, defeated him. Jowak polled 379 votes as against 281 votes secured by Tawiah Boateng to revenge a painful defeat he suffered in the hands of the latter in 2014.
Mr Mahama was also not spared in the Central Region as his former Minister of the region, Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, failed to win in his first attempt to lead the NDC in the Central Region.
Mr Tawiah Quansah, who was widely tipped to win the election only placed last, in the three-man contest, polling 157 votes, despite the huge support he allegedly enjoyed from the outgoing Chairman, Bernard Allotey Jacobs, popularly referred to us “Educated Fisherman.”
And according to some party insiders, who spoke to Today yesterday on condition of anonymity, the failure of the Mahama ‘boys’ to sail through in the party’s regional executive elections was a clear indication of “mass rejection of Mr Mahama by the NDC.”
“Why we are saying this is the fact that some incumbent candidates who lost their seats were among those ten regional chairmen who last year endorsed Mr Mahama’s candidature to lead our party in 2020, so you (referring to the reporter) understand what we mean,” our sources said.
They laughed off the prediction that Mr Mahama will secure over 85 per cent victory in the upcoming NDC presidential primary.
Former President Mahama, who was alleged to have bankrolled the entire NDC regional elections as well as sponsoring all the afore-mentioned names among others, Today gathered, could not believe himself as the results started trickling in, in the early hours of yesterday.
In fact, our sources confirmed that his mood yesterday after the results of the elections was not different from what Ghanaians witnessed when he (Mr Mahama) lost the 2016 election to the then flag-bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which was in opposition at the time.
Former President Mahama is among 11 candidates who have declared their intentions to lead the NDC in the 2020 election.