The campaign team of President John Evans Atta Mills, Get Atta Mills Endorsed (GAME), seems to have changed their campaign strategy from busing people to locations to shore up support for their candidate for the flagbearership position of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), as the president prepares to meet Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings for the control of the soul and heart of the party.
The last time the President stormed the party’s Kokomlemle headquarters to pick nomination forms, hordes of people were bused from various locations across the length and breadth of the country to the place, thereby causing a huge vehicular traffic jam in Accra.
It was also his first visit to the NDC headquarters since he won the 2008 presidential polls.
The last time he was asked why he had distanced himself from the party headquarters at a meeting with party gurus at the Peduase Lodge, President Mills said he was not the Welfare Officer of the NDC and therefore it was not necessary to visit the party office.
When he finally filed his nominations yesterday, the Mills campaign team decided to keep it on a low profile to avoid the wide condemnation that greeted the picking of forms which brought the entire capital city to a standstill as ministers jockeyed to upstage each other in catching the president’s attention. This time around, the party foot-soldiers were conspicuously absent as was the candidate himself, meaning that the previous road show that characterized the picking of forms was stage-managed, contrary to assertions by the GAME team that it was a spontaneous action.
The only people present were a couple of government officials including Minister of State at the office of the President and a close ally of the former President Jerry John Rawlings, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, Environment Minister Sherry Ayittey, Central Regional Minister Ama Benyiwa Doe, Deputy Works and Housing Minister Hannah Bissiw, Greater Accra Regional Minister Nii Armah Ashitey, NADMO boss Kofi Portuphy, Presidential aide Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, Accra Mayor Alfred Oko Vanderpuije and a handful of party supporters who followed them.
They accompanied Deputy Youth Organizer of the NDC now turned spokesperson for GAME, Barbara Serwaa Asamoah, who went to submit the forms on behalf of the President. At the time, President Mills was said to be in neighbouring Nigeria attending the investiture of the re-elected Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Barbara submitted the forms together with the GH¢20,000 filing fee and was issued a receipt in that regard.
The completed nomination papers included the names of 468 delegates of the party and their constituencies, and the profile of President Mills with his photographs.
President Mills, together with former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, and former Education Minister Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, collected nomination forms.
The deadline for the submission of forms is June 1 and Konadu is expected to submit her forms by Wednesday.
Ms Asamoah said President Mills went through all the names to make sure that they were duly qualified. She assured delegates that the president’s team would run a neat campaign and expressed the conviction that the party would come out united after the congress in Sunyani.
As the General Secretary went through the nomination papers, the campaign team sang the songs, “My Lord is Good” and “Atta Mills Na Double Double”, while pointing fingers to the heavens.
Asamoah expressed optimism that President Mills would emerge victorious at the NDC upcoming congress to be held from July 8-10, 2011. Party General Secretary Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah and other national officers of the NDC, including 2nd Vice Chairman Danny Anang and Anita De-Souso were on hand to receive the forms. After going through the forms, Mr. Asiedu-Nketiah said, “On the surface of it, I think that the requirements have been met.”
That notwithstanding, he said the executives were going to cross-check the veracity or authenticity of those who claim to have signed the forms. In that regard, he said they would go round the country to ascertain the information provided in the forms while they waited for other prospective candidates who would present their forms before the deadline.
All things being equal, President Mills is expected to be vetted by June 7, 2011. Barbara Serwaa was later said to have gone to the seat of government, the Osu Castle, to meet the President on his return from the Nigerian trip and to brief him on the latest developments regarding his second term presidential ambitions.
Source: Charles Takyi-Boadu/Daily Guide
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