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A keen contest for the chairman and General Secretary Positions of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is anticipated at the party’s national delegate’s congress in Tamale today January 16.

However, the incumbent Chairman and the General Secretary, Dr. Kwabena Adjei and Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, respectively, are tipped to remain their positions as over 2,000 delegates go to the polls to elect new national executive officers to steer the affairs of the party for the next four years.

The delegates will decide the fate of 65 candidates vying for 30 national executive positions of the ruling party.

Dr. Adjei and Mr. Nketiah are seeking second term in office having been elected at the NDC national delegates congress in Koforidua in 2005, but they face strong challenge from Dr. Austin Asamoa-Tutu and Mr. Kweku Eshun.

Apart form their experience as former member of parliament and Ministers of States in the Rawlings administration and their achievement of leading the NDC from opposition to government, Dr. Adjei and Mr. Nketiah have formidable credentials that put them ahead of their challengers.

These notwithstanding, Dr. Asamoa-Tutu’s political experience as a founding member of the party and parliamentary candidate for the Social Democratic Front (SDF) in the 1979 election gives him a strong grounding to upstage the incumbent chairman.

As the 2008 NDC parliamentary candidate for Okaikoi North, Mr. Eshun has also acquired enough political clout to upset the incumbent general secretary at all polls.

Aside from those two portfolios, the contest for the six vice-chairman positions is also expected to be very keen, given the stature of some of the 17 candidates vying for the positions and the interest that their contention has generated in the media over the past few months.

The contest for the national organizer position will however be devoid of keen competition, since Mr. Yaw Boateng Gyan is running unopposed.

Other position to be contested for at the congress are deputy general secretary (two), deputy national organizer, national treasurer, national propaganda secretary, deputy national propaganda secretary and national executive committee members(14).

President J.E.A. Mills, Vice president Dramani Mahama and former President Rawlings are among the dignitaries expected to grace the occasion.

The atmosphere in Tamale was charged yesterday January 15, as candidates intensified their campaigns to win the support of delegates to the congress.

The entire metropolis, particularly the vicinity of the congress grounds at the WAEC Hall on the GBC Road, was in a carnival mood as various structures were bedecked with posters and paraphernalia of the respective candidates and the party.

There was drumming and dancing as party stalwarts and supporters filled in and out of the venue. Wild jubilation heralds the appearance of most of the candidates at the conference grounds as they arrived in convoys with fanfare.

Mr. Mahama and majority of Ministers of State, district chief executives and other party bigwigs are already in the metropolis.

The President, Vice-President, former President Rawlings, as well as some leading members of the party, arrived in Tamale yesterday, January 15th to participate in the deliberations at the congress.

Large canopies have been erected opposite the entrance to the venue by Zoomlion to provide shade for party supporters who will be unable to gain access to the congress hall, which is restricted to only accredited persons.

Some of the candidates resorted to the use of radio to reach out to many delegates. One of such vice-chairmanship hopefuls, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, was on air yesterday morning explaining why he should be given the mandate.

The immediate past Youth Organizer of the NDC, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, also use the opportunity on another radio station to admonish all stakeholders, including residents of Tamale, to ensure a successful hosting of the congress.

He commended the people of the Northern Region for their unflinching support for the party over the years, adding that “this region delivered the highest parliamentary seats for the NDC in the entire country in the last general election”.

This is the first time any of the parties is organizing such an important event in the northern part of the country.
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana

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