A Founder Member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Ebenezer Kofi Ofori Portuphy, has said his key vision of seeking the national chairmanship is to reinvigorate the NDC as a formidable social democratic party for all Ghanaians.
Mr Portuphy, who is currently the National Vice Chairman of the party and the National Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), insisted that as the NDC sprang out of the people, it was time the party shifted momentum to meet the day-to-day expectations of its members and the entire Ghanaian populace.
He was speaking to the Daily Graphic in an exclusive interview in Accra on Friday on why he was seeking to become the next national chairman of the governing NDC.
“For 32 years I have done humanitarian work in this country; my work is to sacrifice for the party because NDC is the party by the people and for the people," he asserted.
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So far, Mr Portuphy and Mr Dan Abodakpi, a former minister, have publicly declared their intention to contest the position of the chairman at the next national delegates congress of the party scheduled for late October this year. Dr Kwabena Adjei, who is the incumbent chairman, is expected to seek re-election, and it is known within the NDC inner circles that Mr Huudu Yahaya is also nursing the ambition to contest the same position.
Sharing his perspective on the performance of the current national executive of the NDC, Mr Portuphy indicated that although he was the national vice chairman of the party, he was looking forward to becoming the chairman because “we have done our best but we need to do more. There is always room for improvement in our lives. It is for the improvement bit that I want to play a key role in leading the party to greater achievements under my chairmanship.”
Task facing NDC
According to Mr Portuphy, his priority is to win the 2016 election. He, therefore, pledged to work hard if given the opportunity to build stronger internal political structures that would help the NDC fulfil this mission of retaining political power.
He said he was prosecuting his mission on the key pillars of restoring genuine unity within the party and helping to build a vanguard of young party enthusiasts to facilitate the aspirations of the party.
In the view of Mr Portuphy, also known as “Mr Pee,” if the NDC is not united, it cannot win elections.
“It is obvious in many of our branches and constituencies across the country that our members, former functionaries, ambassadors and MPs feel sidelined or ignored. It is time to galvanise all these people for the party to, sustain maximum unity. When we are united, we can work as a team,” he told the Daily Graphic.
Speaking like a sportsman, he insisted on teamwork as necessary for a political party’s survival “where we don’t have a one main “Pele” but a focus on teamwork and giving recognition to all.”
He also pointed out that discipline and accessibility were critical in the party. He stated, “as leaders, we must be accessible to the people who vote for us and they in return must be accessible to us, so that we can collectively address the needs and challenges facing the grass roots.”
“When we do that, information flow is better. If members are not accessible to our leaders, how can our leaders be accessible to the entire country? That is a real danger,” he pointed out.
In his view, it is only when the rank and file are well informed, disciplined and galvanised for action that victory will be the portion of the party.
On the ailing economy, Mr Portuphy recalled that “the economic challenges facing Ghana do not come anywhere near that of the 1980 and 1982, but Ghana under the NDC Administration will overcome.”
Recalling the economic crisis of the eighties when Ghanaians, especially students, helped to evacuate cocoa locked up in the hinterlands to the ports on their backs without any loading equipment, Mr Portuphy said that had motivated him enough to believe that “we can overcome the present economic challenges confronting the nation.”
He declared: “I am ready to serve my party and country. At age 64, I have grown, established the National Mobilisation Programme, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and I believe that having worked with the masses and the NDC in particular, I am mature enough to steer the affairs of the NDC to achieve its full potential of winning elections.”
Vision and mission
On his vision and mission, Mr Portuphy said building a strong democratic tradition within the NDC for its members to be seen and regarded as true social democrats was dear to him.
As the Director of Elections in the NDC since 2002, Mr Portuphy said it was his core objective to strengthen electoral mechanisms and structures, as well as help the party to retain power in the 2016 election.
He reiterated his determination to make his services available to everybody in the party and, in the event, encourage not only the national executive but also all leaders to make themselves accessible.
He appealed to all former executives and ministers, ambassadors, district chief executives and party members, to fully engage themselves in party activities for electoral victory in 2016.
Message to delegates
His message to delegates of the NDC is that they should remember their core values as social democrats with a focus on human-centred principles.
In electing the next leaders of the party, Mr Portuphy enjoined the delegates to consider virtues such as commitment, loyalty and people who had demonstrated same through their work, either for the party or as executives of state, as well as those who were transparent and accountable.
He further advised all aspirants seeking various positions in the party to remember that “we have only NDC as our party. Our conduct during the campaign will make or unmake the party. Our messages should distinctly seek to unify the party. We should avoid mudslinging and libelling or slandering others. It is our party that stands to lose if you think you are destroying somebody.”
Mr Portuphy is a founder member of the NDC and believes it is time he is elevated as national chairman because of his vast experience, the work he has done for the party and nation, and the fruits his work has yielded for the party and even those who do not belong to the NDC.
“My work in the NDC party links up with the minority parties and it helps to build bridges for national consensus. That is why I am contesting.”
As a member of the Young Pioneer Movement in the days of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s First President, Mr Portuphy went through training in nationalism and patriotism, and as such has been equipped to render services to mankind.