So far, eight stalwarts of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are battle ready to contest the party’s presidential primaries slated for January 26, 2019.
The latest to do so was Mr Goosie Tanoh who became the last flag bearer aspirant of the NDC to pick his nomination form on the deadline day last Saturday.
Other aspirants who have picked the nomination forms are ex-President John Dramani Mahama, Prof. Joshua Alabi, Stephen Atubiga, Alban Bagbin and Sylvester Mensah.
The rest are Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and Mr Nurudeen Idrissu.
The picking up of nomination forms by persons aspiring to lead the NDC successfully came to an end on Saturday following the pickup of forms by Mr Tanoh.
The form was picked on his behalf by a representative, Mr Eric William, who told journalists after picking the form that: “we want to thank our party the NDC for giving us this opportunity. The game has really started and it tells you that we are really in the race and we are serious about it and we believe that on the day of the election, things are going to favour us, and we are asking all of you to support us.”
Two opt out of race
Meanwhile, two of the aspirants, Mr Elikplim L. Agbemava and former Metropolitan Chief Executive of Kumasi, Mr Kojo Bonsu, have opted out of the race.
Mr Agbemava, in announcing his decision said he had decided to throw his weight behind the candidature of former President Mahama.
He told the Daily Graphic last Friday evening that he had taken the decision after a careful consideration.
He expects all his campaign team members and followers to rally support for Mr Mahama and apologised to all who might feel disappointed in his latest decision.
Mr Bonsu, on the other hand, in a statement, said the decision to opt out of the race was as a result of “considerable deliberation and reflection.”
In his statement announcing his decision not to contest, Mr Bonsu said: “I will like to thank the Council of Elders for their prompt response to our petition regarding the flagbearership election.”
“It is with deep regret that after considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided to end my campaign for the flagbearership of the NDC today.”
Eight aspirants had petitioned the Council of Elders of the NDC over the charging of exorbitant nomination filing fees. Those eight are Alban Bagbin, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Sylvester Mensah, Kojo Bonsu, Goosie Tanoh, Alhaji Nurudeen Iddrisu, Stephen Atubiga and Elikplim Agbemava.
Following a decision by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC to peg the nomination and filing fee for the party’s flag bearer position at GH¢20,000 and GH¢400,000, respectively, eight aggrieved aspirants, who described the fee as outrageous, petitioned the party’s Council of Elders and sought their intervention.
In the petition, they averred that the NEC did not meet the procedural requirements set out in Article 42 (1) (f) of the NDC constitution for publishing electoral guidelines.
According to them, the NEC, in publishing the guidelines, exceeded its authority, to wit, imposed eligibility criteria not provided for in the party’s constitution.
The petitioners also objected to NEC’s proposal that the entire electoral process be completed within 45 days from December 5, 2018 to January 19, 2019 and further accused the NEC of expressing bias towards a particular aspirant.
However, following a proposal made to the Functional Executive Committee of the party by the Council of Elders last Wednesday, the new filing fee was pegged at GH¢300,000.
Picking of nomination forms was also extended to Saturday, December 8 for aspirants who petitioned the Council of Elders.
The statement did not indicate whether or not the aggrieved aspirants had accepted the changes that had been made in the party’s electoral guidelines for the presidential primary.