One of the candidates seeking to be the next national chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dan Abodakpi says that his brief stint in prison will not hinder his chances of leading the party.
“As far as I am concerned, and as far as the legal advice my lawyers give to me, there are no legal or any other impediments to me wanting to become a national chairman,” he said.
Abodakpi, who was a former Minister of Trade and Industry, received a 10-year jail term in February 2007 for willfully causing financial loss to the state following a trial that commenced in 2002.
In 2008, he was granted a presidential pardon by ex-President John Kufuor and later went back to finish his term as Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta.
He is currently vying for the position of national chairman for the NDC alongside incumbent, Dr Kwabena Agyei and the National Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), Kofi Portuphy.
Some political commentators have indicated Mr. Abodakpi is likely to lose the elections due his ex-convict status.
But on Citi FM’s Point Blank segment, the former Minister said he has the backing of party delegates because he is a martyr who was persecuted for the sake of the NDC.
He said: “I was a martyr; I was a martyr who suffered prosecution for the sake of my party.”
According to him, he has received assurances from his lawyers that “we are on safe grounds, and that cannot be an impediment and I so believe in the reasoning they have given and that is why I am offering myself to take the top job of my party.”
The former High Commissioner to Malaysia added that if his serving a jail sentence were any impediment to holding a public office, he wouldn’t have been allowed to complete his term as MP.
He recalled that after his release from prison, he was appointed High Commissioner to Malaysia and served as an Ambassador plenipotentiary to 10 other countries in South East Asia.
“So I am advised, and I still believe that I did not have any legal impediments to me wanting to lead this party after the unfortunate incident of my conviction,” he added.
Abodakpi is certain that he is the right person to take up the chairmanship position because the party currently has “serious challenges; challenges of disconnection with our mass base and because of that we have left the public space for our opposition parties to take advantage of to sew lots of misinformation which seem to be carrying the day.”
“And I am offering myself to be elected as national chairman so I can reconnect the party to that mass base so that it becomes the source of power.”