Dr Edward Nasigre Mahama, the five-time presidential candidate of the People’s National Convention (PNC), will not be contesting this year’s presidential election.
“I am stepping aside as the presidential candidate of the PNC. I will not contest either the party’s presidential primary or the national elections,” he told the Daily Graphic in a telephone interview yesterday.
Dr Mahama, who is the leader of the PNC and currently Ambassador at large appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was sharing some insights on what the PNC was doing in preparation towards the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
According to Dr Mahama, the party leadership, including its Chairman, Mr Bernard Mornah, and the acting General Secretary, Mr Jacob Amoako, who replaced Mr Atik Mohammad, met last Tuesday, August 11, to firm up the plans of the party towards 2020.
He said the party had opened nominations for all functional positions of the party.
The PNC Leader said he and Mr Amoako were not contesting any position in the party, and that nominations were opened to all paid-up party members.
He said vetting would take place in early September to pave the way for the party’s delegates conference, tentatively fixed for September 23, this year.
He further said the congress would be a virtual one, saying: “Instead of congregating at one centre, we will have simultaneous virtual regional and national congresses.”
Born in the village of Sumniboma in the Northern Region on April 15, 1945, Dr Mahama, running for the first time as the presidential candidate of the PNC in 1996, received three per cent of the votes cast.
In his second attempt at the presidency in 2000, he garnered 2.5 per cent of the votes.
In preparations towards the 2004 presidential election, the PNC and two other parties — the Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE) and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) — formed an alliance known as the Grand Coalition and chose Dr Mahama as its presidential candidate.
He placed third out of the four candidates in that election, winning 1.9 per cent of the votes.
Dr Mahama was again elected the candidate of the PNC for the December 7, 2008, presidential election.
He lost the position of the presidential candidate of the PNC to Mr Hassan Ayariga in the run-up to the 2012 general election. However, he won the position back from Ayariga for the 2016 elections and garnered 20,910 votes, representing 0.20 per cent of the total votes cast.
After his defeat in the PNC’s presidential primary, Mr Ayariga left the PNC to form another party, the All People's Congress (APC).
On July 10, 2017, Dr Mahama was appointed Ghana's Ambassador-at-Large by President Akufo-Addo.
Meanwhile, PNC sources indicate that Mr Mornah is aiming to retain his position as National Chairman of the party, but he is being challenged by Mr Moses Dani-Baah, a former Deputy Minister of Health in the erstwhile Kufuor administration.
For the position of General Secretary, the sources said Ms Janet Nabla was an aspirant, saying that she would face-off against Mr Emmanuel Wilson, a former Youth Organiser and Communications Director of the party.
Five persons had so far indicated their readiness to contest the PNC flag bearership, the sources indicated.
They include Reverend Samuel Adjei-Debrah, Mr Aasaki Samson Awingobit, Mr Emmanuel Anyidoho, a running mate of the party in 2016, and a former PNC Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, Mr David Apasara.
The fifth aspirant, Professor George Agbango, who is based in the United States, is said to have fallen out because of the restrictions on travelling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other national executive positions
In all, there are 23 positions which will be vied for at the national delegates conference of the PNC.
They are for substantive officers and their deputies, including a National Chairman, three National Vice-Chairmen, a General Secretary and two deputies, a National Treasurer and two deputies, a Communications Secretary and two deputies, a Women's Organiser and a Youth Organiser.