It appears former President John Dramani Mahama will not be given the chance to stand as the presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2020 election without any challenge.
Ahead of the party’s primary, former majority leader and current 2nd deputy speaker of parliament, Alban Bagbin, is emerging as one of the former president’s contenders.
Posters of Bagbin, the Nadowli/Kaleo Member of Parliament (MP), are already playing out in the social media, possibly testing the waters, even though he is said to be enjoying support from his colleague NDC MPs.
Posters that have popped up on social media, especially Facebook, have the image of the Nadowli MP with the inscription, ‘Bagbin 2020’.
The posters bear the slogan, ‘Tried, Tested & Committed.’
Mr Bagbin has not hidden his ambition to lead the NDC as he recently indicated on Joy FM that it has been his dream to be the President of Ghana.
He was emphatic, “Nobody can prevent change…it is constant so when it comes it is important to take advantage of it.”
The former majority leader was a strong critic of Mr John Mahama over his style of governance.
The MP said in November 2013 that then President Mahama was “naked” because of the kind of people he had surrounded himself with.
He said he was “deeply worried” about the way the country was being governed, adding that he had for far too long “complained in silence” about raging corruption under Mahama’s leadership.
A retired Rector of the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA), Joshua Alabi, is also reportedly lacing his boots to declare his intention to stand for the nomination in possible opposition to John Dramani Mahama’s bland popularity, it has been revealed.
Former Greater Accra Regional Minister under the Rawlings government, Joshua Alabi is said to be enjoying popular support from NDC kingpins and power brokers to become the next flag bearer for the main opposition party.
Apart from Prof. Alabi, there are a host of NDC stalwarts who are all planning to upstage ex-President Mahama as the NDC’s flag bearer for 2020 because many claim he does not have what it takes to run for the highest office again, after his abysmal performance in the last election that culminated in his and the party’s humiliating defeat.
They include longstanding NDC flag bearer aspirant and former Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah; former Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho and former National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) CEO, Sylvester Mensah, who was recently seen meeting NDC members at Sogakope.
They are said to be busily setting up offices and criss-crossing the country to shore up their support bases ahead of the crucial NDC congress, likely coming off next year.
Interestingly, the 13-member committee chaired by Prof Kwesi Botchwey, which was tasked by the party’s leadership to investigate why the NDC lost the December 7 contest to then opposition NPP, is yet to submit its report.
The committee, which meetings have been fraught with agitations from the party’s foot soldiers – often turning violent – was recently given an extended time to conclude and submit its report.
Some political analysts are of the opinion that should ex-President Mahama succeed in contesting on the ticket of the NDC again but fail to win the 2020 contest, it will further break the front of the opposition party because they will then have to struggle to market a candidate for 2024.
Others also believe that since President Mahama was humiliated in the December 7, 2016 polls, there was going to be very little chance for him in 2020 when there is no incumbency advantage.
One of Alabi’s cheerleaders, Nii Amasa Namoale – a former NDC Member of Parliament for La Dadekotopon and one-time Deputy Minister of Agriculture in-charge of Fisheries – has suggested that the internal party election would be a good showing for the academician.
Amasa Namoale, who has himself not hidden his ambition to run for the NDC flagbearership slot, recently said on Peace Fm that he would give anybody, including immediate past President Mahama, run for his money if Joshua Alabi fails to stake a claim for the slot.
He believes the former Rector who has specialised in Marketing, has the technique and the magic wand to turn around the fortunes of the “lame horse” political party as recently described by the former president when meeting the appointees who served under his presidency for the first time.
He said the image of the ruling party – the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – is soaring because of its flagship policies of free education and ‘one-district-one-factory,’ ‘one village one dam,’ $1m for each constituency, the Zongo Development Fund, among others.
Former President John Dramani Mahama recently called for a careful re-organisation and assessment of the NDC after the party’s crushing defeat in the 2016 general election, admitting that the former ruling party was sick as he likened it to a ‘lame horse.’
For him, it is absolutely premature for members of the NDC to talk about who will lead the party at its present state, positing, “If you ride a lame horse into a race and you lose the race, your priority must be to cure the lameness of the horse and not about who will ride the horse.”
But before this assertion, some bleating flock of political shenanigans had proclaimed Mr Mahama the best choice and served notice of their readiness to push the man to the NDC’s torchbearer position once again to wrestle power from President Akufo-Addo.
However, critics within the NDC are saying that the party has never been lame and insisted that it was the Jockey (in reference to the ex-president as NDC candidate) who was rather lame.