Politics of Tuesday, 7 February 2017
As members of the National Democratic Congress await with bated breath, report of the Kwesi Botchwey-led committee on what led to the party’s humiliating defeat in last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, names of some prospective candidates; seen as front runners in the race to lead the party into the 2020 election are already trending on social and main stream media.
Whilst the candidature of immediate past President, John Dramani Mahama, for the NDC’s 2020 flag bearer position remains “hanging” following strong objections from his family, names of some party stalwarts believed to be persons interested in leading the biggest opposition party into the next presidential elections is already generating varied and interesting discussions.
Among the tall list of names being bandied are three NDC heavyweights who though; have not openly announced their intention to lead the now biggest opposition party, but, are gaining prominence in the media.
The three are, immediate past Vice Chancellor of University of Professional Studies, Accra, Prof. Joshua Alabi; former Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Authority, Mr. Sylvester Mensah, and the Immediate past Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Mr. Julius Debrah.
This paper has however gathered that, their 2020 flag bearer bid is dependent on ex-president John Mahama’s decision on his future political life. Some of them are looking up to Mr Mahama to make definite pronouncement on the way forward for his career in politics before making their ambition public.
Surprisingly, former Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Ekow Spio Gabrah who had made two unsuccessful attempts to lead the party and has since been angling to take over from Mr Mahama, appears to have been overtaken by the three NDC kingpins who have gotten their “noses in front”.
But Dr Spio Gabrah appeared unperturbed by the early lead taken by his possible contenders as he recently told the media; a horse that is well fed, groomed and prepared for a race will win. He served notice that he will announce his presidential ambition in 2018.
Former PNDC capo and flag bearer of defunct National Reform Party, Mr Goosie Augustus Obuadum Tanoh, who was also rumored to be gunning for the post after making a surprise appearance at the recent 31st December celebrations has also not had his supposed bid resonate with supporters of the main opposition party.
Other NDC stalwarts like former Communications Minister, Dr Edward Kofi Omane Boamah; former Foreign Affairs Minister, Hannah Serwah Tetteh; immediate past Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Dr Stephen Opuni; former vice President, Kwesi Amissah Arthur among others who were reported to be interested in the post are all said to have chickened out.
In the case of Dr Opuni, report says he has lost the trust and confidence of the grassroots of the NDC after he was alleged to have been hostile to them and some party big shots during his stewardship at COCOBOD.
Some leading members of the NDC, including Greater Accra regional organizer, Anthony Nukpenu; Deputy Volta regional secretary, Mustapha Gbandi and others have openly accused him of contributing to the defeat of the party.
Mr Mahama’s excruciating defeat despite his much-touted unmatched achievements, especially in the area of infrastructure development, is said to have put a break on the presidential ambitions of many NDC big shots who had long confided in friends that they were going to stake claims to the party’s leadership after the immediate past president’s tenure.
However, Messrs Debrah, Sylvester Mensah and Prof Alabi seem unruffled by the ignominious defeat of Mr. Mahama and the NDC. They are reported to have been telling close friends and party bigwigs how they intend to take advantage of the NDC’s unfortunate loss to reorganize the party and bring together all the factions to position it battle ready for the 2020 elections.
Prof Alabi, a former MP for Krowor and former Greater Accra and Northern regional Minister under the Rawlings administration, is said to have his Ga lineage as one of his trump cards that feeds into the NDC’s regional rotation unwritten pact in electing flag bearer.
But Prof Alabi’s impeccable long career in academia appears to have wheeled him away from the rank and file of the NDC who are said to be questioning his “constituency” and commitment to the biggest opposition party.
The man who is believed to be the favorite of majority of grassroots but yet to win the heart of some elders and kingmakers of the party is Mr Julius Debrah. Mr Debrah, immediate past Chief of Staff to President Mahama, has a tall order convincing critics that; he will enjoy the support of his native region, Eastern region, which incidentally happens to be President Akufo Addo’s region too.
Mr Sylvester Mensah, whose 2020 posters are already out even though he has denied knowledge of them, has a perfect blend of Volta and Greater Accra regions as his trump card to make good case for his bid. His Ga background is in sync with the NDC’s regional rotational plan and Ewe background will also woo the party’s World Bank to his side.
But many think he is too young to provide the kind of leadership needed to restructure the NDC and bring together the various factions at this time. Even though he was subsequently cleared of any wrong doing, investigations into his stewardship at NHIA over alleged corruption is also said to have stained his otherwise impeccable record.
While all three front runners have been silent on their ambitions, former MP for La Dadekotopon, Nii Amasah Namoale has openly stated that he will contest the NDC’s 2020 flag bearer election if Prof Alabi decides to give up on his ambition.
The MP, who has been named by think-thank, ODEKRO, as one of the MPs who never spoke in parliament during the life of the 6th parliament, was reported in the media to have said “2020 Nii Amssah Namoale would contest for the presidency if Professor Joshua Alabi is not contesting…”.
But The aL-hAJJ’s investigations indicate that he is not one of the presidential hopefuls being considered by elders and rank and file of the NDC. Stay tuned
WHO IS JOSHUA ALABI?
The young generation knows him as a consummate academician who transformed then Diploma awarding Institute of Professional Studies, into a full-fledged university now named University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).
Those of the older generation tout his enviable record in politics and public office even before his well-lived life in the field of academia.
The man who imparted knowledge to many in diverse fields such as politics, academia and public service, is the immediate past Vice Chancellor of UPSA, Professor Joshua Alabi.
Following his exit from UPSA after serving for a long time as head of that institution; a Columnist, Charles Nii Ayiku, chronicled the life achievements of Prof Alabi in all spheres of his 59 years on planet earth.
With over twenty-five (25) years of professional practice, Prof. Alabi has held a number of international, national, institutional and administrative positions. Now let’s get to know Professor Alabi as told in several publications locally and internationally.
About Professor Joshua Alabi
Prof. Joshua Alabi is an Economist by training and a Marketer by Profession, who was born on 1st March, 1958. He obtained an MSc. in Industrial Economics from Moscow Institute of National Economy now Russian University of Economics (Plekhanov) in 1986 and an MSc. in International Marketing from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland in 1992, where he was awarded the Moshood Abiola Prize in International Marketing.
Prof. Alabi rose through the ranks as Lecturer, Founding Head of the Marketing Department of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (1987 to 1990, 1993 -1997, 2001-2003), and Dean of Faculty of Management Studies (2003 to 2005), Pro-Rector (2005 to April 2008).
Then he became the Acting Rector (April 2008 to December 2008), and the substantive Rector (January 2009 to September 2012). He also chaired several committees at the University level. He later became the first Vice-Chancellor of the University from September 2012 to 31stDecember 2016.
Prof. Joshua Alabi’s contribution to national development, education and the transformation of UPSA has been recognized and celebrated by many.
On 29th October 2016, Then President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama awarded Prof. Alabi the “Officer of the Order of the Volta” a National award recognizing his contributions to the transformation of UPSA and other national contributions.
In July 2015, Prof. Alabi received another award from the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB) in recognition of his contributions towards transforming the former Institute of Professional Studies to a fully-fledged University, and for his excellent performance in the financial landscape.
The All-Africa Students Union in 2013 celebrated him as the Africa Vice-Chancellor of the year for 2013.
In 2012, IMANI Ghana, a policy and accountability think-tank, also recognizing his contributions to the phenomenal change of the University of Professional Studies, Accra named him the Most Influential Public Sector Leader for the year 2012.
That same year (2012), the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG) awarded him the Marketing Man of the Year, the highest professional recognition in this field.
At the national level, Prof. Alabi has contributed as follows;
• Chairman for the Board of Trustees for Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
• Chairman of the Board of Directories – HFC Bank in Ghana.
• Chairman of the Ghana Book Development Council
• Chairman of Governing Council of the Accra Polytechnic
• Member of Ghana National Commission for UNESCO as well as Chairman of the Social Science Committee of UNESCO Commission of Ghana, from May 2009 to 2014.
• Member of the Governing Council of University of Professional Studies, from 2001-31st December, 2016.
• Professor Alabi was a Member of Parliament for the Krowor Constituency in the Greater Accra Region from 1997 to 2001.
• Minister of State for the Greater Accra and Northern Regions between 1997 and 2001.
• Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) political party for the Greater Accra Region from 2001- 2005
• A member of the Business Committee of Parliament (1997-2001)
• A member of the Parliamentary select Committee of Food and Agriculture (1997-2001)
• Chairman of the Regional Security Council for the Greater Accra and Northern Regions (1997-2001)
At the International level, Prof. Alabi was:
• A Member of the Group of Experts of the Executive Board of UNESCO (Paris) in September 2011,
• Member of the Executive Committee and Chairs the West Africa Region of the International Association of University Presidents, from June 2011 to date.
In the field of sports, Prof. Alabi has handled the following portfolios:
• General Secretary, Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA) from March 1994 to April 1997.
• Member, Ghana Football Association’s Management Board (GFA) from 1994-1997.
• Coordinator, Ghana Black Stars Management Committee, from August 1994 to April 1997.
Additionally, Prof. Alabi has managed countless number of international and national projects successfully and is the Founder and current Board Chairman of the Consumer Advocacy Centre (CAC), Ghana; an Affiliate Member of the Consumers International (Cl) and a Member of the Federation of Consumer Organization (FCO) in 115 countries.
He is also a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana (CIMG) and a fellow of the Ghana Institute of Taxation.
Another interesting thing about Professor Joshua Alabi is that, he did not need to know your father nor godfather before he considered you in his scheme of things. You just needed to prove to him that you are hard-working and you will be part of his team.
It is true when it is said that behind every success man is a woman. Professor Mrs Goski Alabi can be described as a supportive wife who has been with Professor Joshua Alabi through thick and thin to make UPSA what it is today.
According to Professor Joshua Alabi, Professor Goski suffered a lot of humiliation because of him, “She was attacked and called all sorts of names because of me…” Professor Alabi added
Professor Goski has been the pillar of strength to the Prof Alabi. She is indeed special to Professor Joshua Alabi. Professor Goski was duly acknowledged and praised by Professor Joshua Alabi at the special thanksgiving service in honor of Prof Alabi