The campaign team of NDC flagbearer aspirant, Professor Joshua Alabi, have given indications that they will petition the party for a downward review of the cost of filing fees for aspirants.
The team believes the GH¢400,000 non-refundable fee announced by the party’s General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia for aspirants on Thursday, is on the high side and seems to be a deviation from the party’s social democratic principles.
The Member of Parliament for Keta Constituency, Richard Quashigah, who is a member of the campaign team in an interview on Eyewitness News on Thursday said the fee is most unfortunate and may be going to confirm suggestions by some people that it is synonymous to the party being sold to the highest bidder.
“I had hoped that the General Secretary would not have come out with figures like that. Previously, it was 50,000. The argument stays that we are a social democratic party, we don’t do things like other political parties in this country because we are of a unique stock. And so if now we will also be taking the same trajectory as the NPP then it is most unfortunate. This figure is unacceptable and very much on the high side. It will appear that we have put the party up for sale to the highest bidder which ought not to be the case. The NDC does not practice ‘monecracy’, we are practicing social democratic party and we need to be mindful of this in everything we do,” he said.
The National Executive Council, NEC meeting of the NDC on Thursday, agreed to the GH¢400,000 non-refundable filing fee for flagbearer aspirants, and GH¢ 20,000 non-refundable nomination form fee.
The filing fee for women and persons with disabilities will be GHc 200,000.
It also set January 19, 2019, for its Presidential primaries, but the amount has generated a lot of controversy as many believe it is extremely on the high side and may be a strategy to eliminate some aspirants from the contest.
But Mr. Quashigah, says the campaign team of Professor Joshua Alabi will lead the charge for a reduction.
He suggested that the amount may discourage competent persons from stepping up to contest for the top position.
“We who support Professor Joshua Alabi will make a case, we will petition, we will call for a downward review of this colossal amount being asked of flagbearer aspirants. We think that what the NDC need at this time is a very competent person to turn around the fortunes of the NDC and not necessarily somebody who should be an effective fundraiser…. I don’t think the NDC is being run on the back of monies from flagbearer aspirants. We must rethink some of these issues,” he said.
He also suggested that a more reasonable filing fee could have been GH¢100,000, which will represent a 100 percent increase from the cost of filing four years ago.
“Even if we want to raise it by 100% from what [the GH¢50,000] it was during the last contest, [GH¢100,000], that should be fine. Why must we be talking about GH¢400,000, which is over 800 percent. Nobody should conclude that if somebody cannot raise GH¢400,00 then it is synonymous to poverty.”
Richard Quashigah further stressed that Prof. Joshua Alabi will not be forced to back out of the race due to the announced fees.
“Nothing will stop Prof. Joshua Alabi from running. He is unstoppable, we are in the contest,” Mr. Quashigah said.
Former President John Dramani Mahama; the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin AND a former Deputy Finance Minister, Kweku Ricketts-Hagan are among those who have declared intent to contest the primaries.
Others who have stepped up include the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra, Prof. Joshua Alabi; a former Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah; a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority, Sylvester Mensah; a former MCE of Kumasi, Kojo Bonsu; Nurudeen Iddrisu; Stephen Atubiga and Goosie Tanoh.