Some fishermen in Tema in the Greater Accra Region are pushing for Mr. Alban Bagbin to be elected the presidential candidate for the National Democratic Congress in the 2020 general elections.
Though they recognized the fact that other persons have shown interest in the race, they said Mr Bagbin’s political pedigree was influential enough to place them at the political pinnacle.
Addressing a news conference at the Canoe Beach, the NDC Communication Officer for the Ladzuahe, Mr Cosmos Okumo has stated that the NDC can only win and ensure available pre-mix fuel if Mr Alban Bagbin was made presidential candidate.
“No Bagbin, no vote – this is what we fishermen are saying to the NDC. We mean it and we will not change our minds,” Mr. Okumo said at the conference.
Mr. Okumo who is a leading fisherman in Tema observed the NPP government had so far not convinced fishermen that it could make the fuel available at all times for their expeditions
Flanked by, Issaka Lantei, another prominent fisherman, Mr Okumo said the generality of fishermen felt that among all the personalities named in connection with the NDC’s flagbearership for 2020, only Mr Bagbin looked winsome and surest of all to lead the party to victory.
He said Former President Mahama, was still admired among fishermen because of good things that his administration did for fishermen, such as lowering the prices of fishing gear and making premix fuel readily available.
“However, because of the allegations of corruption against him, electing him as flagbearer will be risky for the NDC in 2020 as the current government will use all those corruption allegations against him to drive voters away.”
Mr Okumo alleged that under the current government, outboard motors had become too expensive to buy, while fishing gears like hooks, nets and canoes had become prohibitive to acquire, which was totally opposite to what pertained under the late President Mills and later, President John Mahama.
“To make matters worse, fishermen are being harassed day and night by government taskforces at sea,” Mr. Okumo lamented.
Mr Okumo said the generality of fishermen had lost faith in the NPP government and were yearning for the return of the NDC, but that the fishing community want Mr Bagbin to lead the NDC because he was the surest bet to lead the NDC to power and bring back its pro-fishing policies.
Mr Bagbin, he added was liked by the fishing community because he was known to have used his long stay in Parliament to initiate and back laws that benefited fishermen.
The news conference was attended by scores of fishermen and fishmongers, who thronged the Canoe Beach of the Tema Harbour in solidarity.
Issaka Lantei, a leading fisherman in Tema made it clear that he had no political affiliation, but was in support of everything that Mr Okumo had said.
He however alleged that fishermen were victimised under the NPP government, adding that while all other farmers benefiting in different ways, we fishermen are being victimised”