The race for the flagbearership position of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2020 presidential election is gathering momentum.
So far 11 NDC gurus, including former President John Dramani Mahama, have declared their intention to lead the party, and DAILY GUIDE learnt the number could increase before the close of nomination ahead of the showdown on December 7, 2018, two clear years before the 2020 general elections.
Apart from former President Mahama, who wants a second shot at the presidency, former Rector of the University of Professional Studies (UPSA), Professor Joshua Alabi, former Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and Second Deputy Speaker and NDC MP for Nadowli Kaleo, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, are all in the race.
Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester A. Mensah, former Central Regional Minister and NDC MP for Cape Coast South, George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, are also contesting.
It’s even believed that Augustus Goosie O. Tanoh, who abandoned the NDC ahead of the crucial 2000 general election, which the NDC lost to then opposition NPP, wants to come back to lead the party. Many ardent NDC members have never forgiven him for forming his own NRP which made the NDC lose that election which brought President J.A. Kufuor and Alhaji Aliu Mahama to power.
A lawyer and NDC Communications Team member called Elipklim Agbemava, a banker and oil and gas consultant, Nurudeen Iddrisu and one David Dotse Kwame Kuwadah have all declared intention to challenge the former president.
Even maverick Stephen Atubiga aka Latrician or Acolatse, who Justice Atuguba humorously described as ‘somebody who can burn down a market’ during the landmark Presidential Election petition after being cited for contempt, is also in the race to lead the NDC.
Atubiga had derisively said that Mahama’s comeback is not ‘sexual intercourse’ for him to call for a second round.
Atubiga claimed cynically that Mr. Mahama would be a good running mate for him.
Former Vice-President, Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, who was buried last month, was preparing to contest his boss Mr. Mahama.
He was believed to have the full support of former National Security Advisor, Baba Kamara, who reportedly fell out with Mr. Mahama.
Former President Mahama says he is seeking a second shot at the presidency because he believes he owes a duty to God and the country to do so.
Mr. Mahama’s declaration ended months of speculation about his intention to make a comeback even though it was an open secret that he was lacing his boots to run for president again.
The former president had been using the so-called NDC Unity Walk agenda to test the ground and therefore submitting a letter officially to declare his intention did not come as a surprise to many political observers.
It’s believed in NDC circles that ex-President Mahama is the only candidate with a deep pocket to finance the party’s campaign for 2020, hence the massive support.
The former president enjoys the support of a large number of NDC members and it would be a shocker if he is not able to win the position for 2020.
Some political observers have even said it’s going to be a mere formality for him but the camp of Prof Alabi has disputed that analysis.
Recently, 94 out of 106 or so NDC MPs declared their support for the former president sparking heated debate in the party.
The list included two MPs from Ashanti, nine from Brong Ahafo, three from Central, six from Eastern, 12 from Greater Accra and 16 from the Northern Region.
The rest included 12 from Upper East, three from Upper West, 21 from Volta and 11 from Western Region.
Conspicuously missing on the list of endorsement were NDC MPs like Majority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, MP for Ketu North and Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi, and MP for Keta, Richard Quashigah, who belongs to the Prof Alabi camp.
Also, MP for Yunyoo in the Northern Region, Joseph Bipoba Naabu, who clearly does not like former President Mahama, said the MPs were ‘blackmailed’ into making an endorsement.