The Chairman of the Volta Regional branch of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Gyapong Cudjoe, has justified the call on former president John Dramani Mahama by the ten Regional chairmen of the party to contest the flagbeareship.
Speaking on the Global Morning show on Monday, Gyapong Cudjoe, said they did encourage President Mahama to heed the call of the teeming grassroots to consider contesting the upcoming NDC primaries to lead the party into the 2020 general elections, they did not necessarily endorse the candidature of Mr. Mahama.
“In the first place we told the former president to consider going round the whole country to say thank you to his teeming supporters and Ghanaians. And that we think that it was belated, because from experience, when the current president lost elections in 2008, he quickly went round to say thank you to his supporters, and today he is the president of this country. And so we didn’t think it was good for him not to have gone round to say thank you to the people of this country, especially his supporters.
And then yes, we said there is a cry from all the constituencies, you go to market places, to constituency executive meetings, you meet the youth, you go to branches and people want to know who is going to lead the party into 2020. They also know that people are going round wanting to be flagbearers, they have their agents everywhere. So we said if you go round on the Thank You Tour and there is a cry (which we know is coming from the grassroots already) then please consider their request. We did not endorse him that go and contest for president,” he said.
“As a leader you should be able to tell what is happening at your branches, all your constituencies and your area of operation. We also know the sentiments of people after losing elections, and we know what the people want. For me, this is not a problem because it has happened in this country so many times, and has happened even in the NDC.
I remember when the former president, the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, was going to contest with Nana Konadu, even Constituency executives, branch executives, regional executives, were asking him to contest the elections, and they were basically endorsing him, people didn’t see anything wrong with that?
In political organization, everything is time-bound. Our (NDC) Constitution says that within two years before the elections, i.e. two years before 2020, we must have picked a flagbearer,” he added.
When asked whether he had, had any prior discussion with the Functional Executive Committee on the matter ahead of the meeting with the former president, Mr. Gyapong, opined that the Functional Executive Committee (FEC) didn’t go to Accra, asking rhetorically “is it everything that even members of Parliament go to say in Parliament on behalf of their people that they first meet with the people to discuss? They didn’t invite them (Functional Executive Committee) to Accra. I’m the chairman and I did my duty as the chairman of party in the region. And that is why I say that I spoke for the supporters and the grassroots. I have said that I have heard people from my region think that John Mahama should come back.
Let the grassroots disprove it; let the grassroots prove that what I’m saying is a lie. If the grassroots come out to say they don’t want John Dramani Mahama, and that I didn’t speak their mind, I’ll resign”
Meanwhile, President of the Evangelical Presbyterian University College chapter of the Tertiary Educational Institutions Network (TEIN), Bright Delali Kugbeadzor, known in political circles as, Del-Bright, believes the public call by the regional chairmen was needless as this had the potential of affecting the current reorganisation and restructuring exercise presently ongoing in the party.
“I think that they (Regional Chairmen) reserve the right to go and encourage anyone that they deem competent enough to run on the ticket of our party. But the challenge is that in as much as we all have a right and we want to exercise it, sometimes you need to synchronise the exercise of that right with the general feeling of the people.
These encouragements ought not to be public. When they went to meet with the former president, I’m sure he met them in an enclosed place. They could do these things behind closed doors, and need not necessarily bring it into the public domain. Now a lot more people are giving different interpretations to it, and that is not helping the unity and cohesion of our party. There are lots of engagements that are had that are not necessarily made public, and so the motive behind making this one public is what I don’t get. Because they [regional chairmen] should have envisaged the uproar and back and forth that this was going to bring,” he said.
Del-Bright, who is also a member of the NDC Regional Communications outfit, was positive of the NDC’s chances in the 2020 general elections, adding that the party must first put its house in order.
“I’ve always trumpeted that Ghanaians will only vote for a party that comes across as very serious with competent people fronting the party; people that first-time voters would want to have as models. So what we need to do is concentrate on the reorganisation of the party in a manner that will make it more attractive to Ghanaians. We don’t have to go into this reorganisation and come out more bruised than before, then Ghanaians will turn to us. Clearly Nana Addo is failing, Nana Addo is saddled with nepotism and cronyism, and these are the basis for corruption. So already this government is failing, but we in the NDC don’t have to go to sleep and be making avoidable mistakes. Let’s come out as a party that is more serious than before, ready to take back the reigns of this country.”