Former Minister of Trade and Industry in the erstwhile Mahama administration and leading member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has disclosed that his campaign team refused to back down when former President Mahama decided to contest the party’s flagbearership race ahead of the 2020 general elections.
The one-time flagbearer aspirant of the NDC told Keminni Amanor, host of TV3’s political analysis programme, Hot Issues.
“President Mahama’s family declared in 2017 that he won’t run in the 2020 elections. Some friends contacted me to run because I had attempted to run in 2006. When we started getting ready, he declared he wanted to run, and my team wasn’t ready to back down because a lot of investment had been made,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the former Communication Minister further disclosed that bad timing is among the reasons that seem to delay his ambition to lead the NDC.
“The reasons I have not been able to win the flagbearer races are many. There have also been better candidates, and the timing has not always been good. The right time comes for everybody, and the right time for God is always the best,” he said.
Mr. Mahama’s immediate family publicly stated in 2017 that the country’s first one-term President should call time on local politics. Although some leaders of the NDC, including Mr. Kofi Adams, the National Organiser at the time, and Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, the Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo constituency, rejected the idea, insisting that Mr. Mahama was the NDC’s best bet for Election 2020.
Speaking to a group of senior journalists in 2017, former President Mahama’s younger brother and Chief Executive Officer of Engineers and Planners, Mr. Ibrahim Mahama, said the former President’s family had been advising him not to contest the NDC primary to select a candidate for 2020, adding, “He (former President Mahama) agreed with us.”
“John has given his all in politics to the NDC and Ghana, and we think it is just fair that we allow him to rest. We were very supportive and instrumental in convincing him to partner with the late Prof. J.E.A. Mills, and when the time came for him to contest for President, we supported him and advised him to go for it…Now we have advised him not to make a comeback in 2020,” he said.
However, the circumstances that surrounded Mr. Mahama’s comeback into the flagbearership race ahead of the 2020 elections were unclear. A decision that thwarted the ambitions of Mr. Spio-Garbrah to compete in the race.
Touching on the possibility of collaborating with Mr. Mahama as vice president in the 2024 election, Dr. Spio-Garbrah said he is ready and willing to serve but was quick to add that the vice presidential slot is the choice of the flagbearer.
“I am also capable. I’m ready, but it’s a matter of his choice and if he chooses me, you’ll all hear about it,” he stated.
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