Campaign for the flagbearership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has fiercely commenced and factions have already started declaring their support for their respective candidates.
So far, three stalwarts of the party have officially declared their interest to contest the NDC presidential race ahead of the 2020 general election and have all hit the ground running with their campaigns.
They are a former Trade Minister, Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Professor Joshua Alabi, and a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Mr Sylvester Mensah.
In separate letters addressed to the executive of the NDC, the trio made their intentions public.
Race to lead
The NDC activated the race on Thursday, August 2, 2018 and announced that presidential hopefuls could start campaigning.
So far, there have been media reports that five people have declared their intention to take part in the election, which has been slated for December 7, 2018.
The other presidential hopefuls yet to officially make their intention known to the party hierarchy and public include former President John Dramani Mahama and the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Nadowli-Kaleo, Alban Bagbin, even though their supporters are on the ground campaigning.
While the former President is mute over his presidential ambitions to contest again, 94 NDC Members of Parliament out of 106 have reportedly endorsed his candidature to lead the party in the 2020 elections.
“I can tell you that we have 94 MPs who have faithfully and critically endorsed our former President, John Mahama, to be the candidate once again,” Mr Edwin Nii Lantey Vandapuiye, the leader of the 94 MPs, told the media recently..
“This excludes our leaders, the grassroots of this country, the majority of Ghanaians are crying for John Dramani Mahama and as such it will be wicked on our part not to listen to the plea and cries of Ghanaians by giving them who they prefer.”
“So we are bringing back John Dramani Mahama and we are very sure in our minds that Ghanaians will this time accept him and overwhelmingly vote for him to become the next President of Ghana in 2021,” he added.
Barely 24 hours after the leadership of the party released a timetable for the party’s upcoming elections from regional to national level, Sylvester A. Mensah, became one of the first stalwarts of the NDC to officially announce his intention to lead the NDC as a presidential candidate in the 2020 election.
He, wrote a letter to the General Secretary of the party to notify him of his intention to enter the race to become the flagbearer of the party.
“I am pleased to thank you and the entire National Executive Committee of the party for officially declaring campaign activities towards the party’s presidential primary open,” Mr Mensah said in the letter.
He stated: “Having engaged in a nationwide consultation on the future leadership of our dear party, I am able to confirm that I would be contesting the vacant position of flagbearer for our dear party, the NDC,” adding “it’s my conviction that this communication satisfies the initial requirement of notification of intent to the party.”
It is an open secret that even though campaign activities towards the party’s presidential primary officially began on Thursday, some of the aspirants started campaigning about a year ago.
Mr Spio-Garbrah, in his letter to the party, said “I wish by this letter to reiterate that I shall be a candidate to contest the NDC’s presidential race when nominations are opened with the hope of leading the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to victory in the 2020 General election.
“On this note, I shall accordingly proceed to kick-start my campaign in accordance with the decision of the NEC and the subsequent announcement of same from your office”.
Bizarre essay contest
In an unprecedented move to start his campaign, Mr Spio-Garbrah asked NDC communicators to write an essay about him, in a bid to perhaps test his popularity.
Mr Spio-Garbrah, recently, published an advertisement in the Daily Graphic on Wednesday August 1, 2018 and asked NDC communicators to declare him fit to lead the party in 2020.
The advert reads: Flagbearership contest for the NDC National Essay Contest open to elected NDC Communication Officers and the essay topic is: “Why do you think Ekwow Spio-Garbrah will be a good leader for the NDC and a very good president of Ghana?”
Spio’s advert said “the essay competition is open to all NDC elected communicators at the branch and constituency and aspiring regional and national communicators.”
It said that the closing date is August 15, 2018.
The winner will take home GH¢3,000, GH¢2,000 for the second prize winner, GH¢1,000 for third prize and GH¢500 for the fourth to sixth positions, and GH¢200 for the eighth to 10 positions, respectively.
Presenting his letter at the party headquarters in Accra, Professor Alabi promised to run a decorous campaign ahead of the party’s executive elections in December 2018.
Sources close to his campaign said the campaign team would focus on selling its message to delegates and that the campaign would be very civil and devoid of acrimony.
The source expressed the hope that everybody would play according to the rules of the game.