Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Saturday said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was at the crossroads and called for the closing of ranks within to address its challenges and those of the Nation.
Speaking in a reflective tone at the NDC Eighth National Delegates National Congress in Tamale, he called for sober reflections to eliminate the discordance and the polarisation that had characterised the ruling Party in recent times.
“Our survival depends on the manner in which our differences are handled,” Vice President Mahama said, and stressed the need for unity, cohesion, hard work and resilience to move the Party and the nation forward in the right direction.
Attributing the victory of NDC in Election 2008 to direct Divine intervention, the Vice President urged Party members not to do anything that would ruin its fortunes.
He said every effort was made to rob the NDC of its electoral victory but the intervention of God saved the situation and that the current disunity within the Party should stop.
Vice President Mahama said the Party seemed to have been set in a self-destruct mode – bickering and open hostility towards one another – which he blamed on a break in communication and urged members of the Party to forget the past and forge ahead as a united Party.
He paid tribute to members, who lost their lives or suffered incapacitation in the cause of the Party, and urged the delegates to stand firm and come out of the congress more united than ever to ensure a straight victory in 2012.
The Vice President blamed the previous NPP administration for failing to give ear to a national security advice in 2008 of impending economic crisis in July of that year – that the rate of inflation was accelerating, which was bound to lead to increase in interest rates, depreciation of the cedi and inability to pay salaries.
“That caution was prophetic but was not heeded.” The Eurobond money was taken, which meant that money was taken from the private sector investment capital.
According to the Vice President VODAFONE was sold to raise some money to ‘cool the overheating’.
He said it became very clear that whoever would win Election 2008 was going to be compelled to take radical measures to bring the economy back on track.
Vice President Mahama said those measures included the biting of the bullet and self-discipline.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings said many Ghanaians were under excruciating pain and urged the Government to apply the right analgesic to reduce their suffering.
He said he would continue to admonish the Government until it took the appropriate action because “we are dealing with the fate the nation” and urged the entire delegates to throw their weight behind President John Evans Atta Mills.
Alhaji Sumani Zakari, Northern Regional Chairman of the Party in a welcoming address commended members of the Party for the orderly and peaceful manner they had conducted themselves so far.
He said: “Some people were saying that we will fight. We have not fought and we won’t fight so let us put our political competitors to shame by recording an incident-free congress.”
Sixty-five candidates have filed their nominations to contest the 10 positions available.
They are: two for the National Chairmanship; 18 for Vice Chairman/Chairperson; two for General Secretary; seven for Deputy General Secretary; one for National Organiser; seven for Deputy National Organiser and three for National Treasurer.
The rest are, one for Deputy National Treasurer; two for Propaganda Secretary; eight for Deputy Propaganda Secretary and 14 for National Executive Committee Membership.
Contestants including Former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings; Dr Ekwo Spio-Garbrah; Asiedu Nketia, the incumbent General Secretary and Dr Kwabena Adjei, the incumbent National Chairman.
Under the Party’s current constitution, the congress should have come off in December 2007, after its last one in Koforidua in December 2005.
However, when that congress could not be held at the time for financial and other constraints, the Party invoked its constitutional provisions to extend the tenure of the present Executives.