Former President John Dramani Mahama has formally declared his intention to contest for the position of the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2020 general election.
He declared his intention, through a letter submitted to Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the general secretary of the party, on Thursday at the party’s head office in Accra.
Mr Daniel Ohene Agyekum, former Ambassador to the United States, who, together with some party members, submitted the letter on behalf of the former President, said members of the delegation were highly honoured to be part of the historic event.
He noted, “Historic because we sincerely believe that it is one huge step in the journey of the NDC to come back to power to salvage the sinking ship of the state. I hasten to add that we are only a small representative group of the widespread support behind John Mahama’s comeback.”
He emphasised that the groundswell of support enjoyed by the ex-President both within and outside the party had been occasioned by his unmatched record of performance in government as compared to the abysmal performance of the current administration.
Mr Ohene Agyekum said the current government had clearly shown that it did not care about the unprecedented levels of hardship it had brought to Ghanaians.
“We have all come on board in this mission to work for the re-election of JM guided by lessons from our recent past. Going forward, we will constantly bear in mind those lessons not only during the campaign for flagbearer of our great NDC, but also in the 2020 election campaign, and hopefully in the government we shall form in January 2021, God willing,” he said.
“Despite the party’s deep respect for all the individuals within the party who have put themselves up for the same slot, we have shown up here in this number because we genuinely believe that President John Mahama represents our best hope of a quick return to power to continue the transformation agenda for a better Ghana,” he stressed.
The former Ambassador said it was evidenced in the good work the ex-President did between 2013 and 2016, but which was unfortunately truncated through ‘the deception’ of their main opposing political party.
“Finally, let us reiterate our commitment to building a stronger party capable of providing effective leadership and direction in our bid to recapture power. This must be our priority and, in this regard, we will always be guided by the larger interest of the party and its grassroots following,” he said.
Mr Ohene Agyekum also assured the office that the supporters of Mr Dramani Mahama would go through a peaceful campaign and election without breaching the constitution of the party.
Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the general secretary of the party, who received the letter on behalf of the office, said declaration of intent is a novelty in the party, and noted that the party did not have a deadline in this contest because it believes the decisions made should be of mutual benefit between the national executives and candidates.
Mr Asiedu Nketia said the party had been caught up by time because they should have had the congress earlier, but were still preparing the grounds for future election committee.
He said: “By saying we are preparing for future election committee, I don’t mean I’m going ooh. I meant for those of us remaining, we will have to renew our mandate.”
The general secretary, however, expressed words of caution to the candidates and referred to sections of the party’s constitution which stressed on discipline. “We have key opponents who will be interested in our congress and want to put something in our gari, therefore let us open our eyes,” he said.
He advised the candidates to be cautious of pronouncements they make before and during campaigning, especially in the media, and announced that they would set up social media platforms for members to raise concerns on wrong information given out to the general public for the appropriate executives to correct them.
Mr Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu Constituency, speaking to the Ghana News Agency, said even though they respect democracy in the party and the zeal with which a number of members were showing interest in contesting, they supported Mr John Dramani Mahama.
He said the hardships, constant increment in fuel prices, increase in youth unemployment and corruption in the current administration had made Ghanaians realise the difference between NDC and NPP.
“Ghanaians have tasted water and alcohol and detected which is heavier and they know who can make realistic promises and fake promises just to win power,” he said.
Mr Okudjeto Ablakwa noted that the 2020 general election would be a grand draw because Mr Dramani Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo would have both served the country on a term each, and by comparing the two administrations, Ghanaians would decide the best candidate to elect for the progress of the country.
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