By Frank Amponsah
Flagbearer aspirants of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are jittery to the marrow following announcement by party that nomination forms and filing fees for candidates who are putting themselves forward for the position would cost a whopping GH¢420, 000.
The party yesterday announced that each aspirant will have to pay a filling fee of GH¢400, 000 with an additional GH¢20,000 for nomination forms before he or she could enter the race.
Per the party’s arrangements, all female flagbearer aspirants are to pay GH¢200,000 and persons with disability aspiring to the same position are to pay GH¢150,000.
Many of them consider the fees as attempts by the leadership of the party to cut back the number of aspirants, which will be to the disadvantage of majority of them.
Agitations are beginning emanate from the various camps against the GH¢420,000 fee, with the camp of Professor Joshua Alabi, one of the aspiring flagbearer expressing disappointment with the GH¢400,000 filing fee expected to be paid by all flagbearer hopefuls of the main opposition party.
The Campaign Coordinator for Prof Alabi, Nii Amassah Namoale has described the amount as “outrageous” and called on the Council of Elders of the NDC to intervene for a downward review of the fee.
He said: “In fact, the amount is outrageous and unreasonable but this is a NEC decision. We will like to appeal to the Council of Elders to meet with the NEC to review that amount. The unreasonableness is on the date, you cannot use 10 days to tour the whole country to sign on the form, and you cannot. That 10 days is too short a time.”
Although there continue to be some agitation against this decision, the General Secretary of the Party Johnson Asiedu Nketia defended the decision to charge GH¢400,000 as filing fees for aspirants and said “Social democracy is not poverty.”
According to him “The cost of living is high but somebody must pay the cost of running the elections; who is going to pay?.
“I have not declared to be a presidential candidate so those who have declared to be presidential candidates must pay the cost.”
The National Executive Council of the NDC also announced that it will select its flag bearer on Saturday, January 19, 2019.
The decision on the presidential primary comes barely two weeks after the party elected its national executives for the next four years.
Former President John Dramani Mahama, the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin and a former deputy finance minister, Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra, Prof. Joshua Alabi; a former minister of trade and industry, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority, Sylvester Mensah and Atubiga have all declared their intention to contest the flagbearer position of the NDC.
It however remains to be seen if the potential contenders can raise the amount for the nomination forms and filing fees.