If what took place at the Ashaiman Mandela Park last Saturday, June 10, 2017 is anything to go by, then the clear favourite of NDC supporters to lead the party into the 2020 elections is Former President John Mahama.
First was the thunderous roar of the crowd when he arrived at the Mandela Park to take part in the rally which was part of activities to mark the 25th Anniversary of the party. Among the leading personalities of the party who graced the occasion, he received the loudest cheers on his arrival. The tumultuous welcome given him by the charged crowd spoke volumes.
Then was the occasions when during his speech, the crowd intermittently interrupted him with chants saying it is he they want as their flagbearer for the 2020 elections. When he said, as part of his speech, that once the party is well-organized, it does not matter who leads it into the 2020 elections, the crowd shouted their disagreement, chanting out again that it is he they want as their flagbearer going into the next general election.
Wearing a simple black shirt and black trousers, the colours indicating he was still mourning the death of his nephew, the late Major Maxwell Mahama, Former President Mahama also took the opportunity to call on the party supporters to close their ranks and unite for victory in the 2020 elections. He mocked the Akufo-Addo government for contracting huge loans after their claims while in opposition that the NDC government was incompetent because it had contracted loans to rebuild the collapsing infrastructure of the country.
Leading members of the NPP, including Akufo Addo and Mahamadu Bawumia had taken swipes at the Mahama-government several times claiming that it is an incompetent government that contracts loans to develop the nation, asserting they have the men who can manage the economy without contracting loans.
However, since handed the reins of government, the Akufo-Addo government has resorted to contracting huge loans, insisting it proves they are competent and well connected. The irony of their claims has not been lost on Ghanaians.
Despite the defeat of the Mahama-led NDC in the 2016 elections which they had been expected to win hands down, most NDC supporters have kept faith with the Former President. As a result, he has been inundated with calls by leading members of the party as well as the rank and file to have another bite at the cherry by leading the party into the 2020 elections.
At a recent meeting, DCEs and MCEs under the NDC government appealed to him to lead the party into the 2020 elections, expressing their desire to hit the grounds and campaign for him once he announces his intention to contest again.
A survey conducted by this paper reveals that the Former President is also the favourite of majority of NDC Members of Parliament to lead the party into the 2020 elections. MP for North Tongu and Former Deputy Minister for Education, Hon Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa went public a few months ago calling on the Former President to lead the NDC into the next elections.
Former Deputy Minister for Local Government, Baba Jamal, stated last April that the NDC’s best foot forward towards winning the 2020 elections is the Former President.
According to him, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is not prepared to start from the scratch by introducing a new Presidential Candidate in the 2020 elections as the party is poised to take over power from Nana Akufo-Addo’s government in the next general elections.
In an interview with Okay FM’s ‘Ade Akye Abia’ Morning Show, he stated that Former President Mahama must be the party’s flagbearer for the 2020 elections even if he (Mahama) is not willing to contest again for the NDC.
“If President Mahama says he is not contesting again, we will demonstrate against him. We will march to his house to demonstrate till he consents to contest for the party because we don’t have any leader apart from him.”
The grassroots of the party have even been more relentless in the call on the Former President to lead the party into the next elections. Party officials at the regional, constituency and branch levels have said severally how they are being inundated with calls by party supporters demanding the Former President lead the NDC into the next elections. This compelled Joseph Yammin, a stalwart of the party in the Ashanti Region to say in an interview with a radio station that the Former President has no choice than to run for the Presidency once more.
The calls on Former President Mahama to lead the NDC into the next elections is expected to reach a crescendo soon with the poor handling of the nation’s affairs by President Akuf-Addo which has created an state of insecurity and hopelessness in the country.