Exciting moments at NDC congress

BY: Edward Acquah & Timothy Ngnenbe

Hundreds of vendors took advantage of the national delegates’ congress of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the Accra International Trade Fair site to conduct brisk business.

Notable among the items they sold were the party's paraphernalia, which included T-shirts, vuvuzela’s, headgear, arm bands, head wraps, hats, smocks and bangles heavily branded in the party's red, green, black and white colours.

The vendors, most of them women, capitalised on the presence of thousands of persons that attended the congress last Saturday to market their wares and generate revenue.

The entire environment around the Trade Fair site as well as the inner perimeter, looked like a food bazaar as countless numbers of food vendors mounted tents at various locations at the forecourt and inner circle of the Trade Fair site to sell all kinds of food one can imagine.

Dishes

Both local and continental dishes, including fufu, kokonte, banku, fried rice, khebab, were sold as well as kinds of non-alcoholic beverages.

In separate interviews, some of the vendors claimed that they had travelled from places such as Tamale, Kumasi, Cape Coast and Ho to do business.

"I arrived from Tamale three days ago ahead of this exercise. I have a sister in Accra so she assisted me to secure a place," a food vendor who identified herself only as Hajia Zainab said.

Some of them claimed they arrived at the venue as early as 2 a.m. to secure their spots.

A good number of the vendors expressed the hope that business would go well on the day.

"Patronage has been very fantastic this morning. With more people trooping in, I am hopeful of making not less than GH¢2,000 by the close of the day," Esther Sowah, a trader in paraphernalia, said.

Scenes on the ground

Beside the business activities, the ground was awash with posters and billboards of the various national executive aspirants, including that of some presidential candidate hopefuls.

Notable among them were those of Mr Ekwow Spio-Gabrah and former President John Dramani Mahama.

The others were Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, who contested for the National Chairman position, Johnson Asiedu Nketia and Samuel Koku Anyidoho, who were both contesting for the General Secretary position.

Activities on the grounds generally were calm, with hundreds of participants trooping to the venue either by foot or in their vehicles.

There was also heavy police presence at the venue, with several of them visibly positioned at strategic positions while others directed traffic towards ensuring that there was a neat management of vehicular traffic in and around the catchment area.

There was tight security at the Trade Fair Centre at La in Accra last Saturday where the rank and file of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had converged to elect national officers to lead the party into the 2020 elections.

The efforts of the 300 police officers who had been deployed to secure the congress grounds and maintain peace and security was supplemented by the party's internal security.

The layers of check points right from the main entrance to the inner perimeters of the Trade Fair and then to the dome where the voting took place made it difficult for individuals without accreditation to sneak in.

Persons believed to be the Hawks, a vigilante group affiliated to the party, were seen briskly working to assist the police to maintain order.
Also in attendance were the Azorka Boys wearing T-shirts with the number 8 boldly inscribed at the back.

In addition to that a group of well-built men in camouflage trousers and red T-shirts but with no clear identity were spotted moving in a group through the inner perimeter of the congress venue.

Campaigning

At the time voting was about to commence, supporters of the various candidates were still campaigning with the aim of making last minute inroads that will secure victory for their various camps.

The candidates had pitched camps in customised tents and were trying to woo the over 9000 delegates to look their way.

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