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NDC BLOCKS JOSHUA ALABI: BUT PREPARES GROUND FOR JDM

Politics

As the flagbearer election for the opposition National Democratic Congress draws closer, leaders of the party have intensified subtle efforts to manage the contest to go the way of former President John Dramani Mahama. Mahama forces in the party leadership are now getting not only jittery, but coercive.

As the flagbearer election for the opposition National Democratic Congress draws closer, leaders of the party have intensified subtle efforts to manage the contest to go the way of former President John Dramani Mahama. Mahama forces in the party leadership are now getting not only jittery, but coercive.

After several attempts to frustrate some of the aspirants, including raising the nomination fees to a staggering GHC420,000, the games of intimidation still persist, revealing themselves in bullying.

This development has now trickled down to the regional level, with the Eastern Region the butt of intimidatory acts in a case in which Prof Joshua Alabi, one of the flagbearership candidates, is being blocked from prosecuting the second phase of his campaign in the region.

Alabi’s campaign, which started in the Upper West Akyem constituency, is expected to end in the Afram Plains on Friday.

Obstacles

However, before Professor Alabi’s team could start the campaign in the Eastern Region, Kevor Mark-Oliver, the regional secretary of the NDC, issued a statement directing the constituencies not to meet with the members.

According to Mr Kevor, “a notice from the Campaign Office of the former President, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, to start campaign from Friday 11 to Tuesday 15 January 2019", had been received by the party’s regional secretariat. The constituencies are therefore expected to “prepare to receive HE John Dramani Mahama within the said period”.

Mr Kevor further ordered all constituency officers “to direct all other aspirants who wish to visit your constituencies to submit their itinerary to the Regional Secretariat” before they would be allowed to meet with delegates.

Alabi’s team in shock

Speaking to the Daily Statesman about these developments, Benjamin Essuman, an aide to Professor Joshua Alabi, said members of Team Alabi had been shocked by the directive from the regional secretary.

Mr Essuman said the team had already written to the national office outlining Professor Alabi’s campaign itinerary, adding that even before the team went to the region for the first phase of the campaign, the itinerary had been drawn with the support of the NDC’s regional organiser.

“In the first phase, we met with the regional officers at Aburi. He [Kevor] was there and we made them know that we shall come again. It is surprising that Kevor is behaving this way,” Mr Essuman lamented.

Not disturbed

He also said that before the second phase of the campaign, Team Alabi had taken hold of former President John Mahama’s itinerary and so knew when he would be visiting the region. That helped them to plan to avoid a local clash with him.

“The former President will be coming from the Western Region. We have his itinerary. He will start from the Aburi and Akropong areas, from Accra, because from the Western Region, he would be going to Accra first, before the Eastern Region.

“We are already in the region. By Friday, we shall be in Afram Plains and move from there to the Ashanti Region. So, how is this supposed to be a problem?” he wondered.

Asked if his candidate had been disturbed by the regional secretary’s action, Mr Essuman declared that Professor Alabi was focused on his campaign and would not be disturbed by the machinations to frustrate him and his campaign team.

“The statement has had no impact. We are still meeting with the delegates.

"Prof is focused. We are just meeting the delegates. We are only interested in selling to the delegates the message and the persona of Prof Alabi and will not be distracted,” he assured Alabi supporters.