National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer aspirant, Elikplim Agbemava says he is out to shock his competitiors with a clear win come December 7.
Brushing aside assertions that he is in the race only to test the waters and build a foundation for a future contest, Eli said he brings aboard the race a new hope, fresh face and integrity to brighten the party’s chances of recapturing power from the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2020 general elections.
In an exclusive interview with Graphic Online, Eli pointed out that he offers himself as a hopeful bridge between the highly disappointed youth and the fumbling leaders past their prime and should be enjoying their pension “away from the tough, principled decisions required of good governance.”
According to Eli who, at 41 acknowledges his youthfulness, he has demonstrated through his single action to rub shoulders with the so-called established politicians that they can take a leaf from the pages of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings to be part of the shaping up of their own future and not just sit back and acquiesce to whatever any political grandpa hands down.
He insisted that he has what it takes to rally Ghana’s resourcefulness to better her fortunes, saying "I bring a message of better employment opportunities for the youth."
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Mr Agbemava said the challenges confronting the nation, be they job creation or how far governments should get involved in providing social interventions or promoting development oriented commercial enterprises, require strategic forethought and the courage to pursue programmes through their expected cycles, qualities he said, that come to him naturally.
“Leadership is not about who speaks first or fast or a lot. It is all about planning strategically, having a clear direction and focus, and above all standing by your decision while you execute the programmes and projects to bring you the expected results.”
He told Graphic Online that the way forward for the NDC to take power back from the NPP is to rally around a candidate with a new and clear message to restore voter confidence in the party.
For him, even a new message with an old face falls short of the victory equation and serves no good purpose.
"If we have a fresh message but an old face, there will be a credibility gap," he said, adding that he represents the new face the party needs to sell its new message of hope.
Mr Agbemava said although the field of aspirants portends a keen contest, his charisma and youthfulness would see him through.
When elected as president, he intends to focus on internal travels to ensure that his policies are well implemented at the grassroots level. “Everybody talks about my youthfulness, and this is one area that really demands high level energies. I would want to be in sync with the people, I need to understand them to identify with their desires and I’m saying that there is no better approach than being on the ground. My direction as far as travel is concerned will not be so much abroad, it will be internal.”
Eli has therefore called on electorates to vote for a young person to lead the country, explaining that the problems confronting the country are huge and required a lot of energy from the leader to be able to overcome them.
More public corporations
Touching on business, Mr Agbemava urged the government to make funding available to support local businesses to thrive.
He said there is the need for the state to create more public corporations in order to create more employment opportunities for the unemployed teeming youth, explaining that with such public corporations, the government could float some of its shares to private individuals so as to ensure good corporate governance and proper accountability.
Mr Agbemava said if local businesses thrive, the benefits come back to the state, stressing that the growth of local businesses would help reduce the high unemployment rate and also contribute to taxation revenue.