The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is facing perhaps its biggest internal battle in the race to elect a National Chairman of the party.
The party has to decide which of the four individuals — Samuel Yaw Adusei, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo and Nii Armah Ashitey — would wear the crown.
This is not just another congress; it’s about taking sides; it’s a test of loyalty, a test of wit, and true friendship — an outcome that may lead to a divided front or apathy among some party faithful.
The race has nothing to do with the physical appearance of the candidate but rather their charm, personality, capabilities, experience and perhaps their love for the party.
Some say the contest is a two-horse race, a race between just two candidates — the longest-serving NDC General Secretary, Asiedu Nketia, popularly known as General Mosquito and the incumbent NDC Chairman, Ofosu Ampofo.
While Ofosu Ampofo is praying for a miracle to retain his position, Asiedu Nketia is calling for a bigger miracle to kick him out of office.
These two revered candidates are not the only Christians vying for the same position. They have been joined by two others.
If fate and the universe would allow it, Yaw Adusei should win come December 17, simply because he is Number 1 on the ballot paper, and one always takes precedence over two and three.
But politics is indeed a game of chance, which means anybody at all can win.
You can be at your tactical best, get your best campaign team on the field, and have a powerful message and a heart as accommodating and warm as that of the creator, but you would still lose.
The decision lies with the delegate, and years have shown the unpredictability of the Ghanaian voter.
The evidence of that is Ghana’s hung parliament with an NDC Speaker, Alban Bagbin and an NPP President, Nana Akufo-Addo.
Already some notable individuals have thrown their weight behind the man affectionately called General Mosquito. A former Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, wrote a long thesis on why the “NDC must elect Asiedu Nketia as National Chairman”.
“Love him or loathe him”, Ras Mubarak believes “Johnson Asiedu Nketia is our best bet for the position of National Chairman”.
His article lays emphasis on experience and how that can be leveraged to his advantage.
“Asiedu Nketia is not susceptible to manipulation. You simply cannot get him to join you to do the wrong. He’s straightforward. He’s the type of person who will tell you to your face you are wrong even if you were his best friend,” a post from the former legislator said.
But are the accolades enough to make Asiedu Nketia win the race? No!
Is the message from the former MP suggesting that the other three candidates are not straightforward and cannot stand up for the truth? Your guess is as good as mine.
In the case of Ofosu Ampofo, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the party, Augustus Andrew Nana Kwasi, and 38 other constituency chairmen have endorsed his candidature.
According to Nana Kwasi, the NDC’s performance in the 2020 general elections in the Ashanti region was influenced by the incumbent national chairman of the NDC.
He said he was able to reclaim the New Edubiase seat, which they lost to the NPP in the 2016 elections in 2020, because of significant resources the incumbent chairman released to the party.
The Ghana Report’s political desk has been following the campaign trail and brings you a profile of the four candidates and their message to the people.
The names have been provided as captured on the ballot box.
Samuel Yaw Adusei
Unlike his rivals who can boast of experience within the party hierarchy, very little is known about Mr Adusei holding any leadership position in the party.
But he was once a deputy minister for Works and Housing. He also served as a former deputy Ashanti Regional Minister in 2013. He was the parliamentary candidate for Bantama on the ticket of the NDC in the erstwhile Mahama administration.
His campaign strategy has been subtle.
He appears to have borrowed President Akufo-Addo’s ‘sika mp3 d3d3’ slogan. The biochemist and administrator by profession feel he doesn’t need to make a lot of noise to be seen or heard.
Mr. Adusei claims he is full of dynamism and will bring dynamism to the party should he be given the mandate come December 17.
The former deputy Minister for Works and Housing says the NDC is the only party with the responsibility to rescue the country from the NPP’s abysmal performance and incompetence.
He stressed that since the two acclaimed big candidates are accusing each other of not deserving to lead the party come 2024, he is ready to be the new face and change the direction leading to victory come 2024.
He stated that NDC needs a leader who is ready to sacrifice, and he is by every checkbox that leader.
Johnson Asiedu Nketia
Some call him the General of all Generals, but he prefers General Mosquito. A simple but affable individual. Others say Asiedu Nketia needs no introduction, a household name with a ring to it.
Born in Seikwa B/A in the Wenchi Municipal District of the Bono Region on December 24, 1956, Asiedu has served in various capacities outside politics — from GIHOC Distilleries Company Limited, Nkoraman Rural Bank, Sehwi Asawinso Rural Bank and the National Trust Holding Company Limited (NTHC).
For politics, Asiedu has a huge portfolio with very little room for improvement. Asiedu has risen through the rank and file of the party and has made a name for himself.
He’s a former banker, a former Member of Parliament, and a trained teacher. Asiedu Nketia’s political career started in 1989 when he was elected to represent Seikwa at the Wenchi District Assembly. He served till 1990 and became the MP for Wenchi West from 1993 to 2005.
He was the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Crops during the late former President Jerry John Rawlings’ government from 1997 to 2001.
Mr Asiedu Nketia was elected General Secretary of the NDC at the national delegates’ congress of the party in December 2005.
He was also elected to the Consultative Assembly, which drafted the 1992 constitution.
Asiedu Nketia believes the experience he has gained as the longest-serving general secretary of any political party in the country makes him the best person to occupy the national chairmanship position of the NDC.
One would argue that having the bragging right as the longest-serving general secretary is enough take-home benefit and a reason to retire from active politics, but Asiedu Nketia said he was leaving the role of general secretary after 17 years to make room for others in the party who had established themselves to take up the mandate.
General Mosquito remains committed to the task ahead. He said he is poised to spearhead the party’s aim to achieve the highest level of efficiency and effectiveness in running its operations.
“A lot remains to be done to finally achieve the level of efficiency and effectiveness that we desire as a party and ensure total victory in the 2024 elections and beyond.
“Despite the years of hard work we have put into this party, our collective vision to build the strongest, most fearless, most courageous, most formidable, most electable and viable political organisation in Ghana and Africa remains a work in progress. That means that we must put in more work,” he emphasised.
He added that Ghanaians could no longer tolerate the mismanagement of the economy by the NPP hence the need to win the next general elections.
“We have built the structures within the period we have been in opposition, and the NDC will come to power in 2025 to save the country from its current woes. Ultimately, my chairmanship will result in a resounding victory for the NDC in the 2024 elections. That would not only be a political success for the NDC, but it is also, in fact, a national emergency and imperative.
“On the evidence of the kind of governance we have seen in the last six years, failure to wrest the leadership of our dear country from the NPP will spell doom for Ghanaians as they would have been condemned to more bad governance and total maladministration,” he added.
Samuel Ofosu Ampofo
He also brings on board a proven track record of transformational leadership. He has served in various capacities and is well-suited for the task ahead.
Born on March 10, 1962, Mr Ampofo is a Ghanaian politician, a former Member of Parliament, and a former District Chief Executive for the Fanteakwa North district of the Eastern Region.
His political career started when he was appointed District Chief Executive by late former President Jerry John Rawlings from 1994 to 1996.
Mr Ampofo is also a former Eastern Regional Minister and a former National Organiser of the National Democratic Congress. Ampofo again served as a former Minister for Local Government and Rural Development.
He is currently the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), hoping to retain his seat.
Although Ofosu Ampofo has an impeccable record, he has had to deal with an accusation of plans to destabilise the country.
An alleged audio recording of the voice of NDC National Chairman Ofosu Ampofo and another individual planning a road map of criminal activities targeted at some individuals surfaced sometime in February 2019.
The issue is still before an Accra High Court.
He has maintained his innocence and has religiously been going for court proceedings.
His message is quite simple — let me be retained because I have proven my worth.
Facing stiff competition from Asiedu Nketia, the incumbent chairman says he is optimistic about beating his contender hands down in the polls.
He called on the delegates to vote massively for him to lead the NDC to power in the 2024 general elections.
“If they have nothing to say, they should throw in the towel and withdraw from the race because I want to assure you that I will win this election, and I will win it hands down, and I will lead the NDC to power,” he said.
He also pledged to support former President John Dramani Mahama should he decide to lead the party into the 2024 general elections.
“I have been loyal to former President Mahama and continue to be loyal to him, and I want to state that if our delegates endorse him or vote for him, which I know is a possibility and likely scenario, I will give him my 200% support.
“I will work for him 24 hours to ensure that he wins the next elections and form the next government to bring the policies to rescue this country into reality,” he said.
Nii Armah Ashitey
Another firm believer of President Akufo-Addo’s ‘sika mp3 d3d3’ mantra, who is confident of victory come December 17.
Nii Armah Ashitey is a Ghanaian lawyer and politician. He was the MP for Korle Klottey and also the former Minister for Employment and Labour Relations.
Ashitey was the Chief Executive for the Tema Metropolitan Area between 1993 and 2001. He joined the NDC and stood on their ticket in the general election in December 2004, losing narrowly to the New Patriotic Party candidate Nii Adu Daku Mante. Four years later, he stood again for the same seat, winning 50.6% of the vote and a majority of 2,622 (4.3%).
In 2009, he was appointed as the Regional Minister for the Greater Accra Region by the late President Mills. He continued in this position after the death of the late President Mills. After John Dramani Mahama won the general election in December 2012, he was appointed as the new Minister for Employment and Labour Relations.
Ashitey is confident of becoming the new national chairman of the party.
He attributed his conviction to the number four position he secured on the ballot paper to contest the party’s election.
At a presser after his vetting and balloting, he said the number four position was a divine position that would make it easier for him to win the slot and believed it was a strategic position to unseat the incumbent.
“This is a strategic position, so if you do not know Nii Armah Ashitey, just go down there, and that is where interesting issues are. The sweetness of the pudding is in the eating, so if you go there, you will taste Nii Armah Ashitey to provide the needed leadership for the party to be able to mobilise support for the election 2024.
“For the NDC to come to power again in 2025, there is the need to change the current leadership of the party and replace them with new ones with the zeal, resolve, commitment and purpose to help the party achieve its objective,” he said.
The former Member of Parliament believes the other two serving candidates; thus, Ofosu Ampofo and Asiedu Nketia have nothing better to offer the party. That’s why they have resulted in bickering.
“The two people who failed leadership are fighting, and one of them cannot be the alternative to the other, so I am coming to provide leadership that will empower the party and provide resources to pull all votes to win the 2024 elections because the current NPP administration has failed Ghanaians following the current economic distress.
“The surest way to save citizens from their challenges is to vote out the NPP government, but that can only be done if the leadership of the NDC is changed to enable the party to come to power, and Ghanaians will not forgive the NDC if we do not come to power to rescue them from hardships,” Nii Ashitey added.
The theme for this year’s congress is Rallying for Victory 2024-Ghanaian Hope.