International businessman Augustus Goosie Tanoh has announced he will on Saturday pick up nomination form to contest the presidential primary race of the National Democratic Congress.
The flagbearer hopeful initially refused to pick up the form when nominations opened on December 3 and 4, citing high filing fees of 400,000 cedis and illegality in the process as reasons.
But following the slashing of the filing fee to 300,000 and extension of the nomination period to December 8, the campaign team of Goosie announced Thursday that the aspirant has resolved to pick up nomination form.
“Based on the rewriting of the previous illegal guidelines for the 2019 presidential primaries by FEC/NEC, and the subsequent proper consultation with the council of elders, Team Goosie will proceed to pick up nomination forms on Saturday 8th December 2018,” the team said in a statement.
So far former president John Mahama, second deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin; a former Trade Minister, Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah; a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Professor Joshua Alabi; businessman Alhaji Nurudeen Idrissu and Stephen Atubiga have picked the 20,000-cedi nomination forms to contest the race.
Former Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly Kojo Bonsu; legal practitioner Elikplim Agbemava; MP for Cape Coast South George Kwaku Ricketts Hagan, and David Doste Kwame Kuwadah, who have declared their intentions to lead the party into the 2020 elections are yet to pick their nomination forms.
They have up to Saturday to pick up their forms.
The NDC has since last week received backlash from some of the presidential aspirants and members over the 400,000-cedi filing fee which critics have described as exorbitant.
Eight of the aspirants who protested the high fees also questioned the legitimacy of the processes that culminated the announcement of the fee last Thursday by the party’s National Executive Committee.
They were Alban Bagbin, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Sylvester Mensah, Stephen Atubiga, Nurudeen Iddrisu, Goosie Tanoh, Kojo Bonsu and Elikplim Agbemava.
In a petition to the party’s Council of Elders, the eight aspirants also alleged bias on the part of the NEC and requested that the conduct of the party’s presidential primary be given to the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
“…the Council of Elders procures (in consultation with Aspirants and other stakeholders) the immediate involvement of the Electoral Commission to conduct (not just supervise) the Primaries on the basis of the revised Guidelines to ensure free, fair, and credible elections,” the eight requested.
Joshua Alabi’s team on Tuesday raised similar concerns over how some party executives who are in charge of the primary processes have openly declared support for one of the candidates, John Mahama.
Former MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Ken Dzirasah, described the conduct of such executives as “highly inappropriate and unethical”.
Also, the party’s Ashanti Regional Headquarters was branded with the posters of John Mahama, raising concerns of unfair playing field.
But an intervention by the party’s founder and Council of Elders resulted in a 100,000-cedi reduction of the controversial filing fee, which caused some of the aspirants to initiate fundraising appeal from party supporters.
On the issue of bias, the Functional Executive Committee of the party in a statement Wednesday to announce the reviewed guidelines covering the conduct of the primary said it would ensure fairness in the process.
“FEC wishes to use this opportunity to reassure all aspirants of a level playing field to ensure that the outcome of the elections shall reflect the true wishes and aspirations of the entire membership of the NDC,” it indicated.