Former President John Mahama has the greatest potential of leading the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) into the 2020 elections, potential contender Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has said.
“First of all, all of us who were appointed by President Mahama have a great deal of respect for him and all of us believe that since he led us into the last election, it is he who has the greatest potential to lead the NDC if he chooses to,” the former Trade and Industry Minister told Accra-based Radio XYZ on Tuesday, 9 May, adding: “It is his first right of refusal if you like, so I think most people will grant him that opportunity to decide what he wants to do.
“It doesn’t mean there will not be other people who would want to contest. In fact, people have already declared their intention to contest and there will always be a contest, but beyond that in terms of individuals who may want to contest, yes there are those who are calling on me to come and also present myself simply because I did that in 2006 and also because some people believe in my leadership qualities. But my view is that all such matters are a matter for the collective: you don’t lead people just because you want to be a leader, you lead people if they believe you can lead them if the circumstances are right.”
According to him, “when the time comes, I think we will take into account all the factors and all the circumstances after a wide range of consultations and if it is the view of the majority of people that I consult with that this is something that is worth doing, then God will also bless us and lead the way, but it’s quite premature”, he told host Jesse Agyepong when asked directly if he had intentions of running for president in 2020.
Mr Spio-Garbrah’s comment that Mr Mahama has the “greatest potential” among any contenders for the internal competition dovetails into the sentiments of editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Kweku Baako Jr., that the “leading light” in the NDC’s race for the 2020 flag bearer slot is Mr Mahama, who “will scale over” all other potential contestants.
After the NDC lost the 2016 elections, a few stalwarts in the party or their assigns, have made comments and gestures suggesting they will pitch in the 2020 race.
Apart from Mr Spio-Garbrah, the others include former CEO of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Sylvester Mensah, former Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Mr Goosie Tanoh, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, Second Deputy Speaker Alban Bagbin and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).
Former President John Mahama is also speculated to be garnering steam for a comeback although he has not expressly said whether or not he will run again.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanna Tetteh, who was also speculated to harbour presidential ambitions, recently said she had never wanted to be president.
Speaking on Multi TV’s news analysis programme Newsfile on Saturday, 6 May, Kweku Baako said: “With all the potential aspirants lining up within the context of their primaries, I see nobody as competitive or more competitive than John Mahama and for good reasons.”
According to Mr Baako, per the traditions of the NDC, any aspirant who succeeded in becoming president always towered above other internal contestants each time he tried running for a second a time.
In his estimation, although some of the potential aspirants are heavyweights, none can nudge off Mr Mahama in an internal contest.
“Mr Bagbin is a formidable political player in the NDC; look at his long period in parliament and positions he’s held both in parliament and outside parliament and it makes him a formidable contestant. Spio is also somebody you can consider as credible and things. There are a few names that I think are in there for comic relief but in terms of fairness I won’t mention their names …” he told host Samson Lardy Anyenini.
As far as the Minority Leader is concerned, Mr Baako said: “He is a fantastic gentleman, young man but has a lot of sense. I like him a lot and I think he will do well, he speaks well. … He is one gentleman I really admire, he speaks well, look at his level at this stage, Minority Leader at this stage. That’s big but I don’t think he’s a ready-made presidential material, he needs to groom himself, he needs to grow, timing is critical for somebody like Haruna Iddrisu. If he makes the move now, I’m not sure he will have some success. That’s my candid opinion but otherwise he is a great potential.”