The National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Samuel-Ofosu Ampofo, has hinted that the current number of 13 persons aspiring to contest the flag bearer slot of the party may reduce by the time the party takes them through the eligibility process.
According to him, the party would take the aspirants through a “pruning process”, adding that there was the likelihood that the number would reduce.
Reacting to media reports in which he was alleged to have said that some of the aspirants were unfit, he explained to the Daily Graphic that: “What I said regarding the presidential aspirants was that by the time we go through the pruning processes, maybe the number would reduce. I have never said some or any of the presidential aspirants are unfit.”
The 13 aspirants
Some personalities who have already communicated their intention to join the race include the former President, John Dramani Mahama; the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin; a former Finance Minister, Dr Kwesi Botchwey; a former Deputy Finance Minister, Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, and a legal practitioner, Elikplim Agbemava.
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The others include a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra, Prof. Joshua Alabi; a former Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah; a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority, Sylvester Mensah; a former MCE of Kumasi, Kojo Bonsu; Nurudeen Iddrisu; Stephen Atubiga; Goosie Tanoh and David Dotsey Kwami Kuwadah.
Explaining the situation further, Mr Ofosu Ampofo said there were guidelines that each of the aspirants were supposed to satisfy, and that by the time those guidelines were applied, some of the aspirants might have failed the eligibility test.
Satisfying party guidelines
“There is a guideline that one would have to satisfy and I believe by the time those guidelines are applied per the party’s constitution, the number may reduce because some may not qualify by the standards that would be set,” Mr Ofosu Ampofo stressed.
He went on to say “some may not even have the money to pay the filing fee. These are things that always happen”.
Per the timetable of the party, the election of a flag bearer was to have taken place on December 7, 2018 following the successful holding of the party’s national delegates’ congress which was originally scheduled for November 3, 2018.
However, the delegates’ congress was postponed and held on November 17, 2018, a change that subsequently affected the date for the election of a flag bearer.
To that effect, the party had to introduce an amendment to its constitution to enable the flag bearer election to be held later than the December 7, 2018 date, a change that was successfully carried through at the party’s congress recently.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, responding to a question on when the flag bearer election would be held, said the party had a timetable to follow, and in view of that, it had decided to hold an orientation for its newly elected executives.
“So that is one part of the reasons why we have decided to hold an orientation for the newly elected executives. We will also have a national executive committee (NEC) meeting as part of the orientation and that NEC meeting would have to discuss the final timetable for the holding of the presidential primary because NEC would have to approve of the timetable and the date,” he said.
He, therefore, expressed the hope that by the end of the three-day orientation which would be climaxed with a NEC meeting, the party would have come out with a clear timetable.
“All things being equal, by the close of the first quarter of 2019, we would have held the presidential primary. We will not go beyond the first quarter of 2019,” he explained.