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General News of Saturday, 11 November 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

I will discuss request with party leadership – Mahama tells regional chairmen

Former President John Dramani Mahama has expressed appreciation to the Regional Chairpersons Caucus of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for their fraternal visit on Thursday and the opportunity to discuss a number of issues affecting the party.

A statement from the Office of the former President said “Given that the former president had always wanted to thank Ghanaians for their support and cooperation during his tenure as both Vice-President and President of the Republic of Ghana, and as reiterated during the meeting, he will discuss the timing of the requested ‘’Thank You Tour’’ with the leadership of the party.

Regional Chairmen call

Earlier, regional chairmen of the NDC, had called on the former President to consider the request of the teeming supporters of the party and Ghanaians to lead the party to contest the 2020 general election.

A signed statement by the 10 regional chairpersons of the party said the recommendation was made known to Mr Mahama during a meeting held on Thursday at Cantonments in Accra.

According to the statement, the 10 regional chairmen who signed the communiqué are: Mr Kobina Ade-Coker, Greater Accra; Mr Michael Aidoo, Western; Alhaji Mumuni Bolnaba, Upper East; Mr John K. Gyapong, Volta; Mr Opoku Atuahene, Brong Ahafo; Mr Matthew Song-Aabo, Upper West; Mr Bismark Tawiah Boateng, Eastern; and Mr Yaw Obimpeh, Ashanti.

The others are Alhaji Sofo Azorka, Northern and Mr Allotey Jacobs of the Central Region.

They also invited the former President as a matter of urgency to embark on the delayed and much-awaited nation-wide ‘Thank You Tour’ to thank supporters of the NDC for supporting him through his tenure and the party over the years.

President’s response

But in a statement of response to the issue of considering the request of party colleagues and supporters to lead the NDC to the 2020 Elections, the Office of the former President stated, “HE John Mahama’s position, as stated in Cape Coast, remains that it will be premature to announce his decision whether or not to contest, in view of the on-going reorganisation efforts of the party.”

The statement issued yesterday and signed by Mrs Joyce Bawah Mogtari, Special Aide, said former President Mahama, during the meeting in Cape Coast, also stressed the need for the leadership of the party across the structures - Branch, Constituency, Regional and National- to work towards educating supporters on the on-going Branch reorganisation activities and use the opportunity to build up the support base of the party in the communities.

The former president, according to the statement, further repeated his earlier call on all members of the NDC to focus on the on-going restructuring and reorganisation exercise while pledging his commitment and support for the process and the party.

The former President also advised the leadership of the party to continue to work towards establishing a level playing field during the upcoming internal party elections.

Humiliating defeat

Following a humiliating defeat at the 2016 polls, the party is putting in a number of measures to avert any possibility of another defeat in the upcoming election.

And as part of the measures, some members of the party have been rooting for the return of the former President who was defeated by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the 2016 general election.

The party has also undertaken three Unity Walks in Accra, Tamale and Cape Coast as part of the healing process.

Ahead of primaries

Ahead of the primaries, some other leading members have also expressed interest in vying for the flagbearership.

A Second Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Nadowli Kaleo, Mr Alban Bagbin, a former boss of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Mr Sylvester Mensah, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University for Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Prof. Joshua Alabi; and a former Trades and Industry Minister, Dr Ekow Spio Garbrah are among the list of persons who are interested in contesting for the flagberer position.

Disgruntled members

Never the less, there appear to be pockets of disgruntled members divided over who was responsible for the NDC’s defeat in the 2016 election.

The national leadership of the party tasked a special committee led by Prof. Kwesi Botchwey to tour the country to listen to concerns of party members after it was evident many of the party’s supporters were not happy with the results of the election.