Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, a Deputy Speaker of Parliament has stated that the alienation of members of the National Democratic Council of Elders chiefly contributed to their defeat in 2016 polls.
He explained that because the party elders were distanced from the Presidency, there were no co-ordinations that could enrich the fortunes of the party as the elders could not offer useful information that could place them on winning ways.
Mr Bagbin, who is also the Member of Parliament for Nadowli-Kaleo stated this when he met party members of the Tema East, Tema West, Tema Central and Ashaiman at the weekend.
“He instantly became the toast of Constituency executives of Tema East, West, Central and Ashaiman, when he met them in Community 4 to interact over the weekend.”
Speaker after speaker at the meeting praised the longstanding MP for Nadowli Kaleo after Mr. Bagbin had given his address pouring his frustrations at the Presidency under the leadership of former President John Dramani Mahama.
Mr Bagbin explained that he unsuccessfully tried five times to meet the former President as he was constrained by people believed to be the powerful people behind the former President.
According to him, he was not the only elder of the party that had been disrespected by John Mahama and his appointees, but many others, including party founder, Jerry Rawlings, had all suffered humiliation under the former President
Due to the humiliation, he said the party elders had stopped holding Council of Elders meetings, with the party founder totally staying away.
He accused former President Mahama of deliberately failing to empower his own party people, and rather empowered members of the opposition NPP at the time by giving them some juicy contracts.
He said Deputy National Security Coordinator, Bryan Acheampong, for instance, got a contract under President Mahama while the NDC’s executives, foot soldiers and even media, wallowed in abject poverty.
Mr Bagbin said the Mahama era was a painful one that should not be allowed to recur, pointing out people who still had the party at heart and have since been working behind the scenes to patch up the party.
For instance, he said, through his instrumentality, party elders have begun holding Council of elders meetings again, with the NDC’s estranged founder, Rawlings, gradually warming his way back into the party after he had abandoned it earlier.
He said when friction developed between former President Mills and the party’s founder, he had joined forces with the likes of Dr. Obed Asamoah to mediate.
“Unfortunately however, when Mahama became President, fragile unity that had been achieved was threatened because former President Mahama had failed to work with party leadership.
For instance, he said that during the election, President Mahama had failed to work with the national Chairman and the General Secretary even though per the party’s constitution, the President was the leader of the NDC.
He said the poor relationship that existed between the party leadership and Presidency informed his decision to amend the part of the constitution that makes the President the leader of the party, indicating that he will do so if he is elected flagbearer.
Mr Bagbin’s address suffered constant interruption with applause and so at a point he stopped and asked to be criticised rather than applauded.
Mr Lucky Ocansey, the Tema West Constituency Youth Organizer then asked why Parliamentarians in the party allegedly refused to contribute much to the party financially, which Mr Bagbin debunked and rather commended his colleague NDC MPs for their contributions to the NDC in diverse ways and called for unity among members.
He said it was not true, revealing that MPs do not only make monthly contributions towards the party but sometimes give part of their ex-gratia to the party and wished many of the party members at the grassroots would disregard rumours, and rather step up and contest for executive positions at the top.
Mr Bagbin who has been touring the Ashanti region until the State of the Nation Address brought him back to Accra said he had no beef with any of the other contestants and that he respected all of them.
The MP urged the party to at all the levels open accounts for their members to facilitate financial transactions at all units, constituency, district and Regional levels.
Among the executives were; Ben Doe, the Constituency Chairman for Tema West, who said there was hope the NDC to re-capture power if Mr Bagbin was given the opportunity to lead.
Mr Stephen Ashitey Adjei, who is popularly known as Moshake, an Executive Member of Tema East NDC urged Mr Bagbin to correct the mistakes that the former President made if he was given the nod to lead the party.
Lucky Ocansey, the Constituency Youth Organizer for Tema West, Alhaji Mahama Builsa, Constituency Chairman for Tema East and Vee-Jay Agbogedenu, Constituency Organiser for Ashiaman, were among the NDC gurus who praised Mr Bagbin at the meeting.