I will not be arm chair national chairman

BY: Kobby Asmah
Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo (right) speaking to Mr Kobby Asmah, Political Editor, Daily Graphic
Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo (right) speaking to Mr Kobby Asmah, Political Editor, Daily Graphic

A National Chairman aspirant of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, has given an  assurance that when entrusted with the mandate, he would not be an arm chair national chairman of the party.

“I will be a mobile and utility national chairman who will go all out to deepen the unity, as well as support and resource the various structures of the party to win the 2020 election and beyond,”  he stated.

Describing the chances of the party in the 2020 elections as extremely bright, he  cautioned members, supporters and sympathisers of the party to avoid all tendencies that had the potential to cause the party’s downfall in 2020.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, who is among five aspirants staking a claim to the national chairmanship of the party, admitted that the NDC lost the 2016 elections because it failed its time-tested principles of grass-roots mobilisation.

He was having a broad discussion with the Daily Graphic, on his stake to become the NDC chairman, governance under the NPP, the economy, education, jobs, among others.

The NDC has opened nominations  for the various national positions, key among them being the national chairman  slot. The national chairman position of the party is currently occupied by Mr Kofi Portuphy, who will not seek re-election.

Other aspirants in the race are a former General Secretary of the NDC, Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, “a former Trade and Industry Minister and former NDC MP for Keta, Mr Dan Abodakpi, a former Attorney General and current NDC Vice Chairperson, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, a former Defence Minister, Dr Benjamin Kunbour, and Mr Daniel Annan.

NPP propaganda

“Along the line, we deviated a little from our core principles by neglecting our party structures.  Once you give recognition and direct resources appropriately to the party structures i.e women wing, youth, branches and constituency levels, you stand a better chance of winning an election,” Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, a former Director of Elections of the NDC, stated.

In his opinion, “If you organise a campaign and the focus is not really at the branch or grass-roots levels, you will pay the price, and that is what happened to us in 2016.”

But beyond this, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo also pointed out that so many things went against the NDC in the 2016 polls, including New Patriotic Party propaganda.

“However good our projects were, the propaganda of the NPP went heavily against us,” he argued

He, however, indicated that  “even though we lost the 2016 general election, the experiences and lessons learnt have guided us to do better in the 2020 polls. Today, we have high calibre personnel at the grass-roots levels. We are also strengthening the structures of the party.”

 Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, who  served under three successive national chairmen, underscored the need for the party leadership to continuously harness the potential of every member, supporter and sympathiser of the party to win Election 2020.

He said he was very determined to revive the NDC structures, restore the party to its principled core values and recapture power for the party in  2020.

No lip-service

Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, who had served under the national Chairmanship of Dr Obed Yao Asamoah, Dr Kwabena Adjei and Mr Kofi Portuphy spanning a period of over 16 years, said the NDC cannot rest on its oars “simply because the ruling New Patriotic Party was under-performing”  but had to activate and deepen the reconciliation and healing processes so that it does not become lip service.”

Having had close working relations with former President and founder of the party, J.J. Rawlings,  the late former President J.E.A. Mills and former President John Mahama, he said he was better placed to work with all team players to help the NDC come back to power in 2020.

He also said he  connected very well with the grass-roots membership of the party, saying “as a team player I believe it is time for me to assume the national chairmanship of the NDC to steer affairs of the party to another landmark victory in 2020.

“I have gone through the mill, serving at all the various structures — branch, constituency, regional and national levels since 1992 when the NDC was formed and I have seen it all as a cadre, DCE, Member of Parliament and minister,” he added

Game changer

As a giant pillar in NDC affairs, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo likened himself to a “David” going to floor “Goliath.”

He said among all the five national chairman aspirants,  the game changer for the NDC was his youthfulness, saying “the edge I have over the other experienced national chairmen aspirants is my youthfulness.”

“All the other four contestants are very experienced but the game changer is my youthfulness,”  he stated.

The NDC, according to Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, would rise again in 2020 with him as the national chairman.

2008/2012 polls/Appreciation

According to Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, the NDC worked very hard to win the 2012, 2008, 1996 and 1992 elections and  he was just going to work very hard to ensure that the NDC wins the 2020 polls for a record fifth time under the fourth republican dispensation

Mr Ofosu-Ampofo helped the NDC to inaugurate the tri-state branch of the NDC made up of Maryland, Washington and Virginia in 2007, played an influential role in the decentralisation of the North American Coordinating Committee (NACC) in 2006, leading to the inauguration of the Canada branch of the NDC in Montreal in 2007.

He thanked former President Rawlings for spotting him at a very young age and was confident he did not disappoint the founder.

“The NDC has made me who I am today and I need to re-invest my time and energy for the party and to help it to recapture political power in 2020,” he concluded.