Ghana's longest-serving Finance minister Prof Kwesi Botchwey has been told to back off the race for the 2020 flagbearer of the opposition party.
"What the NDC knows is John Mahama", NDC Central Regional chairman Allotey Jacobs said.
Prof. Kwesi Botchwey is yet to officially declare his intention to contest for flagbearer even though he has been rumoured to be lacing his boots for the race.
The clearest indication was given in a press statement after a Myjoyonline.com story said he had picked nomination forms for the position of National Chairman.
Acting through a spokesperson, he quickly denied picking forms and lambasted "faceless persons" who are "desperate, wicked, and devious with the intent of portraying him as inconsistent with his decisions".
Prof. Botchwey whose last electoral contest came in 2002 in a flagbearer race has said he will announce his intentions in the coming days.
But launching a pre-emptive strike on Accra-based Peace FM Wednesday, Allotey Jacobs said "what I will tell Prof. Kwesi Botchwey is, back off!"
He said the time for the Central region is over, indicating Prof. Mills' feat will not be emulated in the 2020 race.
Prof. Mills who hails from the Central region, a swing region in national elections, won the NDC flagbearer race in 2002 and 2006 and went on to win the 2008 presidential elections.
But he died whiles in office in July 2012 and was replaced by John Mahama. As a tribute to the Central region's political contributions to the NDC, an indigene from the region Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur was chosen as Vice-President.
But the NDC lost the 2016 general elections and the country also lost the former Vice-President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur suddenly.
The Central region fell to the NPP after the NDC won only four out of 23 seats in the region, losing 12 seats they held.
With dwindling support for the NDC in the region, the question of how to win the central regional vote remains key in the flagbearer race.
An expected Kwesi Botchwey entrance could change this.
But Allotey Jacobs said Prof. Kwesi Botchwey "cannot have his cake and eat it", referring to his attempt to gain an unfair advantage in the 2020 race.
Prof. Botchwey headed a 13-member committee tasked to investigate the NDC's abysmal performance in the 2016 general elections.
He toured the entire country listening to views and complaints within the party and presented a much-sought-after report to the party.
"Prof Botchwey is highly respected in the NDC as well as by the general public", Mr. Jacobs conceded.
If President Jerry Rawlings' first Finance minister confirms his interest, he looks set to use this background and considerable information to his advantage.
Allotey Jacobs said he would have wished Prof. Kwesi Botchwey would wait to serve as head of the Economic Management Team under a future Mahama government.
The head of the EMT has always been a Vice-President. Allotey Jacobs said he expected Prof. Botchwey who served 13 years as Finance minister would serve on committees to design the NDC's economic plans ahead of the 2020 elections.
"That is where we need Prof. Kwesi Botchwey to make a very good input," he said.
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