In the upcoming presidential election of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) scheduled for Saturday, the Second Deputy Speaker and a presidential hopeful of the party, Mr Alban Sumani Kingsford Bagbin, has enjoined delegates of the party to vote peacefully and in accordance with their conscience.
“Let us be guided by our inner voices. Vote according to our conscience and do what is right for the NDC to win the 2020 election,” he stated.
He said the presidential primary provided opportunities and choices for party members and it was incumbent on the delegates to vote for candidates “who have character, integrity and can be trusted and depended upon.”
Speaking to the Daily Graphic on his chances of becoming the standard bearer of the NDC, Mr Bagbin said he was very optimistic.
He stated: “The campaign has been good and God has been gracious to me. My message, which has been received so well by the delegates, responds to the current challenges facing the party (NDC) and country at large and I am sure of doing about 50 per cent of the votes come Saturday”.
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He declared: “I have done my best and I leave the rest to God.”
Mr Bagbin, who is also the longest serving Member of Parliament in the Fourth Republic, is among seven other candidates seeking to become the flag bearer of the NDC for the 2020 election.
The other candidates are former President John Dramani Mahama, who was vice-president for three and a half years and President for four and a half years; Prof. Joshua Alabi, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Alhaji Nurideen Iddrisu, Sylvester Adinam Mensah (Sly) and Augustus Goosie Tanoh.
Appeal to six candidates
He also called on his fellow candidates in Saturday’s primary to bear in mind that democracy was an institutionalised competition.
“We know we will go through this nationwide exercise every four years and we need tolerance, patience and understanding so that the process will be devoid of acrimony, hate speech and ill-will. In every competition, you will definitely have conflicts but fortunately democracy has built-in mechanisms to handle such conflicts,” he stated.
NDC 2016 results
Recalling the results of the NDC in the 2016 election, Mr Bagbin noted that “it is very humiliating for a party in power to lose almost a million votes and it showed that our party in government was in disarray.”
He stated: “It is time for the NDC to do things differently and get new results. If we continue to do the same things all over again, we will continue to reap the same old results over and over.”
He said prior to the 2016 election, the rank and file of the NDC were very hurt for the many years of neglect and what was even more hurting was the fact that immediately the party lost political power, there were complaints of no funds to run party activities.
“It is clear evidence that the party in power was not in sync with the government in power and for that matter the government did not give the party its rightful position in government,” he stated.
“Strangely,” he said, “we kept hearing the party had no money, but we also saw the top living in opulence so where was that coming from.”
“That is why we saw withdrawals of votes in the 2016 election. The rank and file no longer believed what their leaders said and did,” he pointed out.
On what he was bringing on board, Mr Bagbin said the country decided after a long haul of military rule to be governed by democratic governance.
In line with this, he said that the first stage of the process was to organise the party such that when “the party is in government it will be responsible for satisfying the needs of the people.”
“Our followers must believe in us. We need to organise through creating effective and functional structures for the party right from the branch, regional and to the national levels,” he stated.
Knowing that the branches and the constituencies are the foundation of the party, he said he would ensure that resources went to them and they were empowered.
“In terms of capacity building, resource allocation and empowerment, it should first be at the branch level. We have been adopting the top down approach for far too long and it is time to reverse the trend,” he stated.
Ghana rich nation
He said it was also sad to note that Ghana was a rich nation and yet in the midst of plenty its people were hungry.
“What is afflicting this continent is poverty of the mind so we need to liberate our minds from this syndrome,” he stated.
He expressed with regret that lately, national discourse was on the challenges of violence, corruption, attitude and behaviour of politicians or religious leaders, things that work against the collective efforts to develop the country.
He said those signs were not good for Ghana “since all the things that lead to violence are prevalent in the country.
We need to apply the brakes. Politics without principles, wealth without work and knowledge without character lead to conflict and under development.”