NDC Chair Seat Not For Anybody, Quits Secretary Job After 17-years
By; Gifty Arthur
The longest serving general secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has hit hard at some critics in the party, stating that the chairmanship position of NDC is not a preserve of anybody.
Though Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah did not mention any name, his comment is believed to be in direct reply to certain elements within the party, who do not want him to contest in the chairmanship race with the incumbent, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
He insisted that, the race for chairmanship position will be fought vigorously, adding that no individual will be appeased with any position in the yet-to-be-held election.
Speaking on the ‘Pampaso’ programme on Accra-based Radio Gold yesterday, September 21, monitored by The Anchor, the outspoken NDC stalwart said that former President John Mahama and the Council of Elders know the rules governing the NDC’s elections and will not seek to stop him from contesting any position of his choice. He insisted that no position should be used to pacify anyone.
“Appeasement cannot be used to solve any issue. They know the law. No one should come and block anyone. When did anyone block others from contesting any position in the party? If you can’t carry your load, don’t blame the pad,” he warned.
Mr. Nketiah, affectionately called ‘General Mosquito,’ sounded highly interested in the chairmanship contest, but fell short of declaring his intent because nominations are not yet opened, adding he will make his intention known when the time comes.
He also declared that he will bow out from his current position, having occupied it for about 17 years. According to him, he will not seek reelection as his tenure comes to an end in about three months.
Not long ago, some leading members in the party, including the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, had dreaded rumour that the two will be vying for the single slot, with the lawmaker saying it could hurt the party.
Mr. Ayariga argued the two experienced hands will be needed in the national executive leadership to win the next general elections.
But reacting to this popular concern, General Mosquito described such assertion as propaganda that will not stand the test of time.
“I have heard people say if the two contest, there will be division, why will there be a division?” he said.
He said that there is no rule or arrangement in the party barring any member from contesting any position, adding there has never been a time the position he occupies, for instance, has been declared unopposed for him.
Mosquito insisted that the four times that he has won the position, with not less than 80 percent votes, he has always been contested, with the last one being by his deputy, Samuel Koku Anyidoho.
He therefore wondered why in the case of the chairmanship race, he is being told to be in my lane. “What lane?” he queried.
He served notice no position is guaranteed for anyone in the umbrella group and that all, including the chairmanship slot, must contest in the impending national executive election.
As at now, the onetime Member of Parliament for Tain, in then Brong Ahafo Region and now Bono Region, said there are three things on his plate.
The veteran politician said, the three options are the choice to retire from active politics, contest as chairman of the NDC or quit his current position.
He told the host, Ransford Boakye, “I have three options, general secretary, chairman position or retire. Now the first option is out.”
The NDC scribe indicated that he is tired of being general secretary, saying “As at the time I became a general secretary, if a child was born, he or she will be in university by now. This is one job I have done for so long.”
He added that age is also not on his side because the general secretary position demands a lot of moving about and maneuvering, which he is not in the position to do, considering his age.
He said there are many behind him who are lacing their boots to succeed him and he does not intend to be a stumbling block to their ambition in the party.
“Since I became General Secretary, no one in TEIN [Tertiary Education Institutions Network of NDC] has empowered themselves to take over from me. All the people you mentioned said if I don’t contest, they will go. For how long am I going to stay? Every work and the age. General Secretary demands a lot of running around.
“You have heard that I have juju to vanish, but at a certain age it will impact on your health, it is a job for the youth. So I have considered all that. So what I will say is that the General Secretary work, I won’t do it again,” he said.
Mr. Nketiah also debunked allegations that efforts have been made by the Council of Elders and also by former President John Mahama to get him to rescind his decision to contest the chairmanship position, but he has ignored such interventions.
But, he said, Mr. Mahama and the Council know the rules governing the NDC’s elections and will not seek to stop him from contesting any position of his choice, insisting no position should be used to pacify anyone.
The NDC general secretary recounted his early days with the party, positions held, successes chalked and the many works he has done, saying even when the NDC won political power in 2008 and everyone one was rushing to go into government in 2019, only he and a few others stayed behind to build the party.
Mosquito said he was committed fearlessly and dedicated to the cause of the party in all these years.
He said his commitment and the work he has done is there for all to see, indicating he will be available for any work with the exception of the General Secretary position.
While the party readies itself for the next national executive election later this year, a couple of members of the party have indicated their intention to contest for the General Secretary position.
Popular among them are the current director of elections, Elvis Afyiyie Ankrah, current deputy general secretary, Dr. Peter Boamah Otukonor and a former MP for Ketu South, Fifi Kwetey.
They had earlier indicated they will wait for the occupant to declare his stance before they declare, noting that, in the unlikely event that he seeks reelection, they will be forced not contest him.
But General Mosquito, having shown disinterest, Mr. Afriyie Ankrah, who is a former youth and sports minister, yesterday, on Joy News, declared he is in the race for the position, having served as deputy in the past.