Prof Joshua Alabi has said he is hungry to lead the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) into the 2020 elections.
“I have appetite for the flag bearer slot”, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) told Accra-based Neat FM on Thursday, 9 November.
Mr Alabi is one of several potentials within the NDC who want to succeed former President John Mahama as flag bearer.
Mr Mahama has said it is too early for him to declare whether he will run or not in 2020. He recently told party members in the Central Region that: “Many people have come up to me and asked me to make a declaration whether I want to stand again or not stand.”
“The point I have made is that my declaration of my intention to run or not to run will distract the attention of the party from the work that they have to do and that’s why I say it’s a bit too premature to declare presidential intention,” he explained.
He, however, said “there is nothing wrong” with declaring as some of his colleagues in the NDC have already done.
“I know there are several of my colleagues who have declared an intention to run. They are all party members and they are eligible to stand.
“Let me caution: after the flag bearer contest, whoever wins, all of us will have to rally round to support that person. And, so, please let us not go personal, let us not insult each other because all of us belong to the same NDC family, and, so, if anybody has declared to stand it is his right to do so. Don’t insult him because at the end of the process, all of us need to come together to support whoever wins as the flagbearer.”
Apart from Prof Alabi, others who have declared their intention so far are Second Deputy Speaker Alban Bagbin, former Trade Minister Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, former CEO of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Sylvester Mensah, former La Dadekotopon MP Nii Amasah Namoale who recently stepped down from the race and Mr Stephen Atubiga.
Mr Mahama told the crowd that he is at peace with all of them.
“I have no problem with any of my colleagues. Spio was my minister, I worked as his deputy minister and then he became my colleague …and then when I was in government he worked as my minister of state, I can’t have any problem with Spio. I can’t have any problem with Joshua. Joshua was my colleague, we went to parliament the same year and we were in parliament together. When he became Vice-Chancellor of UPSA, he invited me for so many programmes in UPSA, so today I can’t have a problem with Joshua. Sylvester was in parliament with me; we were colleagues in parliament, he worked at our NHIS CEO. After that he came as a presidential staffer at the Flagstaff House. I hope nobody takes offence that I didn’t mention some other people. Atubiga is my favourite presidential candidate, Stephen. Namoale, say Namoale. So we are one and the same people, and, so, let us be united and that is why we are having these unity walks. Any time I’m around I will join.”