In the sport of horse racing, the horse is just as important as the jockey. In the 2016 marathon race, a younger, vibrant jockey rode to defeat on what he later described as a “lame horse.”
Two years after that humiliating defeat an opportunity has come for the horse owners in the National Democratic Congress to run three races- two handicaps and a marathon with an unshakeable hope of a crowning glory in 2020.
The first handicap begins today at the Turf course- Trade Fair center. Over 9,000 delegates or racing aficionados will converge in their party paraphernalia with the hope of either changing the lame horse entirely or to prepare and rejuvenate the old lame but experienced horse for a much bigger, tougher marathon in 2020.
They will later, in the second handicap, consider which jockey [presidential candidate], a maiden or veteran, best fits the horse for the third and most important race, the marathon which they cannot afford to lose in 2020.
For now, though, let’s stay with the first handicap. 66 jockeys are vying for places in the party to fix a horse ex-president John Mahama described as lame.
Of all the places, two- the National Chairman as well as the General Secretary positions- are most crucial and the jockeys even more exciting.
Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the incumbent General Secretary and easily the most influential if not powerful national officer, has his deputy Koku Anyidoho to deal with, if he wants to retain his position in the party.
He may not have described the party machinery as lame but his description of the structure he is part of is anything but complimentary.
Asiedu Nketiah is accusing the new breed of national officers elected in the last Congress of being the reason behind the party’s humiliating defeat in 2016. According to him, the executives are just as bitter as “quinine” and want them changed if the party wants to be taken seriously in the next general election.
But will the 9,000 aficionados listen to his plea or will they rather be swayed by the cry of an outgoing national treasurer Alhaji Abdulla Ahmed who accused Asiedu Nketiah of being a dictator? How about the former Chair of the Central Region Allotey Jacobs who, without mincing words, said if the delegates settle on Johnson Asiedu Nketiah again as National General Secretary, the party may as well forget the next election?
Both men are rooting for Koku Anyidoho who despite serving as deputy to Asiedu Nketiah has decided, in a rather bold or maybe suicidal fashion, to take over the job of his former boss. The delegates will decide the fate of the two who are notorious for speaking their minds, notwithstanding the circumstances. Asiedu Nketia looks more likely to be retained but Koku can spring a rare surprise.
If the General Secretary position is competitive, even more so it is for the National Chairman slot. Five party stalwarts are jostling for a lead role to prepare the horse for the marathon.
Samuel Ofosu Ampofo
Former Attorney General and Education Minister Betty Mould Iddrisu is up against Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, a former Local Government Minister, Danny Annan, a financier of the party, Dan Abodakpi, a former Minister of Trade and Industry and Alhaji Hudu Yahya, a former General Secretary and a confidante of former president Jerry Rawlings. The odds for and against each aspirant are high.
Betty Mould is a consummate lawyer, beautiful and smart. She is on a verge of making history if she is elected as National Chair, the first woman chair of the party that has won the most elections in the fourth republic. But her role in controversial Woyome payment still remains a challenge. She has not been found culpable of any wrongdoing even though Martin Amidu, who is now the Special Prosecutor believes she and others were shielded from prosecution.
Dan Abodakpi is calm. A good choice to appease the Volta Region the world bank of the NDC but he was convicted for willfully causing financial loss to the state. On his return from jail, he has embarked on a number of projects to help the party and a position to lead it will not be a bad option at all.
Danny Annan is well known as the party financier. He has however decided to take the horse into the race all by himself. He contested but lost the party’s Vice Chairmanship slot in the last election. While he is huge and successful in business, and still remains popular in the party, his track record for party administration is yet to be ascertained. You cannot underestimate a businessman nonetheless.
Hudu is huge, too calm for his position. His decision to stand down as chair in the last election has been used against him. He wants to correct that and has the chance to do it. He is liked by the founder of the party but will the delegates like him just as much?
One man standing, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo who has served every single structure in the party and in government, except being president now wants to lead the party to victory in 2020. His track record in the party is unblemished but must convince delegates he is the right man for victory in 2020.
For the Vice Chair positions, nine party bigwigs-Alhaji Amadu Bukari Sorogho, Said Sinare, Lawyer Adu- Yeboah, Sherry Ayittey, Yaw Owusu Obimpeh, Alhaji Sumaila Mahama, Dr Kwame Ampofo, Awudu S. Asorka and Seth Ofosu-Ohene- are in a big fight for three deputy chairman slots.
Alhaji Sorogho, Sherry Aryittey and Said Sinare look the most likely.
Deputy General Secretary
For the Deputy General Secretary slot an army of solid personnel looks forward to serving in only two vacant positions- operations and administration.
George Lawson who is the incumbent Deputy in charge of administration has 11 people to contend with.
Alhaji Nuru Hamidan, Barbara Serwaa Asamoah, Peter Boamah Otokonor, David Kwaku Worwui-Brown, Kojo Adu Asare, a former MP for Adenta and a former Presidential Staffer, George Lawson, Abdullah Ishaq Farrakhan, Nii Dodoo Dodoo, Kale Cezar, Ephram Nii Tan Sackey and Evans Amoo race for the Deputy General Secretary slot.
Tor organize the party to victory in 2020, Mahdi Gibrill, Akamba Joshua Hamidu, Jemima Anita De- Sosoo, Yaw Boateng Gyan, former MP for Akwatia Baba Jamal Ahmed, Enoch Amoako- Nsiah and Solomon Yaw Nkansah go for the National Organizer position.
Fred Agbenyo and Sammy Gyamfi contest the position of Communications Officer positions.