Spio: I will support winner of primaries to forge party unity

Former vice chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, says he will support the candidate who wins the July 9 primaries as the party’s flag bearer for the 2012 presidential election.

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“I will stand ready to support whomever the majority of my fellow Akatamansonians elect as our party leader in Sunyani,” he said in a statement issued in Accra on Thursday after his withdrawal from the flag bearer race.

Dr Spio-Garbrah said he would, however, also continue “to offer valid criticisms” of our party leadership and the government “if my conscience constrains me to do so”, while commending them for what they do well and right.

“As our Akan elders say, it is those who are standing behind the man cutting the path who can see where the path is crooked,” the statement said. Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah’s withdrawal leaves President John Evans Atta Mills and former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings in the race whose campaign has been seen as acrimonious.

He insisted that the party hierarchy, the government and former President Jerry Rawlings and Nana Konadu needed to resolve some “long-standing differences and reach mutual understanding and come together” before the elections in Sunyani in order “to ensure that our great party can emerge from the congress in unity and strength”.

Dr Spio-Garbrah said he still believed that the attempt by some party members “to sideline the Founder of our great party, former President Rawlings, is wrong, unfair, is based on ingratitude”.

He said if this continued it would lead to an electoral defeat for the NDC in 2012.

“In the same light, all of us in the party should do our best to support President Atta Mills and the NDC government to accomplish the aims of the NDC manifesto and the Ghana Better agenda,” he said.

Dr Spio-Garbrah said he remained committed to the 93Nkrumahist-Rawlings vision and practice of Positive Urgent Action” on behalf of the Ghanaian peoples.

“Too many of our brothers and sisters are jobless, hungry, illiterate and sleeping in darkness. An NDC which is true to its vision should be working day and night” with everyone on board – to reverse this situation for our less privileged countrymen and women.

“To my many supporters throughout the country and in the Diaspora, I ask for your continued support for the NDC, its leaders and the government.” He said he was aware that many of them would be disappointed that once again it may seem that “Spio-Garbrah’s time” is yet to come.

“I ask that they remain assured that in God’s own good time, a day will come when I will be able to represent the hopes and dreams and aspirations of all Ghanaians and work to lift our motherland to the lofty heights that is its destiny.”

On why he could not meet the June 1 deadline to file his papers, Dr Spio-Garbrah said his late entrance to the race, the tight deadline for submitting nomination forms, and other difficulties in the field made it difficult for his regional coordinators to secure all the necessary signatures from NDC executives from around the country before the deadline.

He said although the official Guidelines issued by the party stated that nominations shall close 30 days before the date of the Congress dates of July 8-10 July, which would mean that nominations should close on June 8, a date of June 1 had been somehow announced as the deadline for the submission of nomination forms.

He said although, in consultations with party executives, he requested an extension of time, which was reportedly approved in principle, other factors compelled him “to think of the higher interest of the party and to conclude my campaign for national leadership for now”.