By Bernice Bessey & Agnes Ansah
Despite its entrenched position on the GH¢400,000 filing fee imposed on the 13 presidential hopefuls, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has humbly rescinded its decision, and slashed the fee down to GH¢300,000.
The reduction of the staggering amount came as a result of sustained pressure from Mr Alban Bagbin, the longest serving legislator in Parliament, and his colleagues, who had threatened to go to court over the issue, after petitioning the Founder of the party, Jerry John Rawlings.
Mr Alban Bagbin had described the GH¢400,000 filing fee as a reversal on the principles in which the NDC were formed.
He subsequently denounced those who picked the nomination form on his behalf before the door was shut on Wednesday, saying he would not pick the form until his concerns were addressed.
However, the NDC Secretary General, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, affectionately called ‘General Mosquito’, in a sharp rebuttal to the concerns raised by the aspirants, rather taunted them on the airwaves, saying the price of a horse or elephant cannot be compared with that of a deer.
To him, since the aspirants want to fly the flag of the party, they must demonstrate their ability to solicit funds to conduct the presidential primary.
But, in a sharp u-turn, the same NEC members, of which Asiedu Nketiah is part, were summoned to an emergency meeting yesterday, and to avoid any court action, the decision was taken to slash down the huge amount. The NEC also extended the date of picking the nomination form to Saturday December 8, and the filing from January 19th to 26th, 2019.
Five of the aspirants, including former President John Dramani Mahama, who the Minority side in Parliament are throwing their weight behind, and the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Joshua Alabi, have picked the GH¢20,000 nomination form.
Others like the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Adinam Mensah, a member of the NDC’s Communications Team, Stephen Atubiga, had also taken the bold decision to pick the nomination form to test the waters.
Eight of the aspirants are yet to follow suit. They are Nurideen Iddrisu, Oil and Gas consultant, George Kwaku Ricketts Hagan, Member of Parliament (MP) for Cape Coast South, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, former Trade and Industry Minister, Lawyer Elikplim Agbemava, David Dotse Kwame Kuwadah, Kojo Bonsu, former Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, (KMA) Goosie Tanoh, a cadre, and George Boateng, a businessman.