Former President, John Dramani Mahama has once again been given an overwhelming endorsement to lead the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) as flagbearer for the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The former President, who was tipped as the man to beat in last Saturday’s presidential primaries held in all the 275 constituencies across the country, pulled a whopping 213443 votes representing 95 percent.
His closest contender and former rector of the University for Professional Studies- Accra, (UPSA) Prof. Joshua Alabi, managed to garner some 3,399, representing 1.516 percent of the valid votes.
Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin was third with 2,313 votes representing 1.032percent, followed by Gossie Tanoh with 2,038 votes representing 0.909 percent.
Dr. Ekwow Spio-Gabrah, was in the fifth position with 1,457 representing 0.650 percent, followed by Sylvester Mensah with 932 representing 0.415 percent and Nurudeen Iddrisu with 519 representing 0.231 percent.
Though many had tipped Mr Mahama to win the poll, pollsters were unsure how the margin was going to be. The election, which was generally peaceful, started with a lot of enthusiasm on the part of supporters and delegates who thronged their respective polling centres to cast their ballots.
For instance, the Chairman of the Odododiodo Constituency, Paul Oblie Laryea, stated that results from the NDC flagbearership election turned out as expected after Mr Mahama, was declared winner at the Constituency.
According to him, John Mahama has done a lot for the country especially his electorate, hence the need to support him.
“Yes, I am okay with results. I am okay with results because what we are expecting is what we have got. John Mahama, has done a lot in Ghana and even in Odododiodio itself John Mahama has done a lot here. So we are witnessing what he has done here and that is why the people have voted for him massively”.
The Odododiodo Constituency had about 1,579 delegates expected to vote, however, the total vote cast at the end of polls summed up to 1,447, including one rejected ballot.
Before midday, delegates in Bodi in the new Western North Region, had completed voting with the result declared. President Mahama out of the 641total votes swept 608 of the votes in that Constituency.
Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin, polled 5 votes; Ekow Spio-Garbrah polled 4 votes; Prof. Joshua Alabi polled 9 votes; Sylvester Mensah polled 3 votes; Goosie Tanoh 7 votes and businessman, Alhaji Nurideen Iddrisu polled 2 votes.
Mr Mahama won in all the 275, constituencies except in Nadowli-Kaleo, where the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Alban S.K. Bagbin, who won with 388 votes, with Mahama polling 366.
Before the Electoral Commission (EC) announced it certified result, Alhaji Nurideen Iddrisu, conceded defeat. Alhaji Iddrisu disclosed that he called former President Mahama to concede and assured him of his support for the 2020 Presidential elections.
Speaking in an interview with Citi FM, Alhaji Iddrisu, said he was disappointed with the outcome of the election, but takes the results in his stride because it was an internal election.
“Initially, I thought I was going to win but things turned round so I called the former President His Excellency John Dramani Mahama to congratulate him on the exceptional performance and pledge our support in order to ensure that we win the 2020 election,” he said.
Alhaji Iddrisu, said he did not regret participating in the poll because he has benefited from the exposure. Former Trades and Industry minister, Ekow Spio-Garbrah, also congratulated Mr Mahama for winning the contest.
He garnered a paltry 1,467 votes, representing 0.65percent.
He congratulated his former boss on social media for winning the election massively moments after the party released the provisional results to journalists. “Congratulations President John Dramani Mahama, together we win 2020,” Spio-Garbrah posted on his facebook page.
Prof Joshua Alabi who confirmed he called Mr Mahama, said he told him the “gap was too wide”.
“I called him more than two and a half hours ago and we spoke and I congratulated him,” he said in an interview with Citi FM.
“We just cracked jokes and I only told him that the gap was too much and he shouldn’t have done that…”.
Professor Alabi, who was bullish heading into the polls, said he was confident of victory heading into the contest but planned for any outcome.
He said, the NDC must unite and position itself for the 2020 elections. Many had tipped him as the likely person to cause an upstage, but his performance per the results, suggested a pale shadow of the huge efforts he put into running his campaign prior to the elections.
Before finally accepting defeat, the camp of Augustus “Goosie” Tanoh, expressed disappointment following the humiliating defeat.
“The results we’ve seen so far would suggest that we have lost. You go into a competition with the object of winning. It is not the outcome that we are looking for,” Kyeretwie Opoku, the Campaign Coordinator of Mr Tanoh told Joy News Kwesi Parker-Wilson at the NDC headquarters, which also served as the national collation centre.
Even before the Electoral Commission officially declares the results of the polls, former President John Dramani Mahama is in a comfortable lead with results trickling in from across the country.
By press time, Mr Bagbin and Goosie also announced they called the former President to congratulate him and pledged their support for the campaign next year.
Meanwhile, former President and Founder of the party, Jerry John Rawlings, was conspicuously missing from the presidential primary of the party on Saturday.
Rawlings reduced his participation in the poll to a one sentence tweet to the candidates and party, wishing them his ‘best’ and called for integrity, transparency and fairness.
“Let’s conduct today’s presidential primaries with dignity, transparency and fairness. My best wishes to all the candidates”.
When pressed for what may have kept the ‘old man’ out of the race, a source close to Rawlings told Graphic Online that he wanted to remain as neutral as ever and decided to stay away from the polls.