Presidential aspirants of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) such as Nadowli-Kaleo Member of Parliament (MP) and Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, former UPSA Rector Joshua Alabi, former Trade Minister, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, were relegated to the background during the party’s just-ended 9th National Delegates Congress held at the Trade Fair Centre, La, Accra.
Former President John Dramani Mahama, who wants to make a comeback, was given the opportunity to market himself to the delegates, raising suspicion among some people.
Former Ambassador to The Netherlands, Dr Tony Aidoo believes the visibility given to Mahama should have been extended to other aspirants.
Mr. Mahama was allowed to deliver speeches to the delegates during the opening and closing sessions of the programme.
Interestingly, none of the 10 presidential aspirants were given the chance to address the gathering apart from mounting the podium to be introduced.
“What happened at the congress has fuelled the perception that the party’s leadership intends to help the former president to become the next flagbearer, a source close to the party stated.
Some party members have accused the party’s hierarchy of scheming to give Mr. Mahama undue advantage in the flagbearership race.
Mr Mahama, who delivered a speech during the opening session of the congress at the Fantansy Dome of the Trade Fair Centre, shared the podium with the founder of the party, Jerry John Rawlings, former National Chairman, Kofi Portuphy and the General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah.
The organizers also played both fresh and old songs at the venue.
Seldom mention was made of the other contestants at the Fantasy Dome.
Interestingly, NDC’s Planning Committee gave the former president another opportunity to give a closing speech to delegates.
Apart from Alban Bagbin, Prof Joshua Alabi, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, former CEO of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Adinam Mensah; former Deputy Finance Minister and MP for Cape Coast South, Kweku Ricketts Hagan, former Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, Kojo Bonsu; NDC returnee, Goosie Tanoh; businessman Nurudeen Iddrisu, legal practitioner, Elikplim Agbemava and self-styled electrician, Stephen Atubiga, have all declared their intention to vie for the post.
Two political tenderfoots- Nurudeen Iddrisu and Elikplim Lorlormavor Agbemava- have also joined the race.
Tony Aidoo’s Query
Dr Tony Aidoo, a stalwart of the party and the immediate-past Ambassador to The Netherlands, has questioned the decision of the planning committee not to allow all presidential hopefuls to address the delegates.
According to him, the party should have provided the platform for all presidential aspirants to address the congress instead of allowing only former President Mahama to do so.
Speaking on Accra-based radio station Starr FM on Tuesday, Dr. Aidoo indicated that “the flagbearer race is something I don’t want to talk about. I think all the flagbearer aspirants should have been given a chance to speak at the Congress and not Mahama alone. Better still, none of the flagbearers should have been given the chance to mount the podium or get on stage.
“The same platform that John Mahama got should have been made available to the other flag bearer aspirants.”
The former envoy also condemned the playing of Mahama’s campaign songs at the venue.
Responding to concerns raised by Dr. Aidoo, Alex Segbefia, a member of the planning committee, indicated that the issue would be investigated.
According to him, “During the whole period, you noticed that no such song was played, because we had laid the rules. So we will investigate and know what happened and then we will know what to do.”