5 December 2018

Ghana: NDC Flagbearership Nomination Closes ... 5 Aspirants Pick Forms

Five out of 12 flagbearer aspirants of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have picked nomination forms to battle it out for the slot.

At the close of nomination at 5pm yesterday, those who had picked forms included former President John Mahama and Joshua Alabi, former Vice Chancellor of University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA)

Others were Stephen Atubiga, former National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Sylvester Mensah and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin.

The GHȻ20, 000 nomination forms were picked by their representatives.

However, Second Deputy Speaker, Mr Bagbin, also the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Nadoli/Kaleo Constituency in the Upper West Region, told the Ghanaian Times, shortly afterwards that he had not authorised anyone to represent him.

The long serving legislator said he was one of the eight aspirants who had petitioned the Council of Elders over illegal guidelines of the process, amongst other issues and was awaiting response.

On the contrary, David Jawara Banye, who led other supporters from his constituency to pick the forms for him, told journalists at the party headquarters that the delegation had the blessing of Mr Bagbin.

The close of nomination leaves the fates of the seven others hanging in the balance as it is uncertain if the party would open a window of opportunity for them, possibly through an intervention of the party's council of elders.

Former President Mahama, represented by a former Municipal Chief Executive of Asokore Mampong in the Ashanti Region Alhaji Nurudeen, was the first to pick the forms on Monday.

According to Alhaji Nurudeen, the gesture was a show of gratitude to the former president for spearheading developmental projects in the area.

On the second day, the campaign team of Prof Alabi, led by Ken Dzirasah, a former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, picked forms for him at about 10:15am.

After presenting a cheque for GHȻ20, 000 and handed over the forms, he complained that some national and regional executives had openly declared their support for a particular candidate and they must be called to order.

In a jubilant mood, chanting the infamous gospel tune "Borborleborbor", about 20 Agbobloshie Onion Sellers Association, arrived around 3:15 to pick a form for Stephen Atubiga.

Leader of the delegation, Rasheed Imoro said the GHȻ20, 000 fee, paid in cash, was contributed by the group with support from Ashaiman cow dealers and other supporters from Bawku and other areas of the Upper East Region.

He said they contributed the amount without prior notice to Mr Atubiga and would mobilise the GHȻ40,000 filing fee because they believed he was the best bet for the party.

Then came the campaign team of former National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Sylvester Mensah on a quiet note.

From the La Dadekotopon Constituency, they were led by Jake Kwei Adjei-Kwei, a co-opt executive of the constituency, who paid for the forms in cash which according to him was raised by about 40 supporters.

Interacting with the media, he declined to state if their action had the blessing of the aspirant, who is on record to have described the process as illegal and is one of those who had petitioned the party's council of elders.

Describing the filing fees as outrageous, he said they would mobilise it but called on the leadership of the party and council of elders to review it to make it possible for all qualified aspirants to file.

With 10 minutes to the close of nomination, Mr Bagbin's supposed team in a strategic move to buy time, sent one person ahead to engage party officials.

The cash for the forms concealed in a brown envelope arrived five minutes to 5pm while the rest of the team tricked in later.

The team leader, Mr Banye called for fairness in the election and pledged Mr Bagbin's support for whoever won the election to lead the party.

General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia and one of his deputy, Peter Otokunor, a Deputy General Secretary who received the delegations in turns charged them to run clean and issue based campaigns.

They assured them a level playing ground would be created for all aspirants but urged them to be vigilant and report misconducts for redress.

Addressing journalists to bring the curtails down on the first phase of the flagbearership race, Mr Otokunor said the party had no intention yet to open a window for those who missed it.

Although a national executive committee functional meeting was ongoing concurrently at the headquarters, he declined to state if the filling fee was a subject of discussion.

He said the party would communicate any decision to the public later.

With the nomination closed, the five who have sailed through have 10 days to seek endorsement from party members nationwide and submit the forms together with the filling fee. The primaries are scheduled for January 19, 2019.

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