Spio-Garbrah joins NDC presidential race
A former Minister of Education in the government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has declared his intention to contest the flag bearer position of the NDC.
"After examining myself and listening to the views, opinions, criticisms and pieces of advice of a lot of people for nine months, I've realised that I have the right combination of qualities, experience, youthful maturity, personal values and leadership qualities which will enable me to address satisfactorily the problems of the nation," he said.
Dr Spio-Garbrah, the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the UK-based Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), made the declaration in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday.
He said he had entered the race to become the flag bearer of the NDC and subsequently become the next President of the country with the intention and commitment to serve and sacrifice, with courage, to bring about rapid transformation in the socio-economic standards of the citizenry.
Asked what had motivated him to leave a very lucrative international job to vie for the position of flag bearer of the NDC, Dr Spio-Garbrah replied, "I come from a family of service and sacrifice," adding that he had always wanted a challenging job which would allow his talent of problem solving to be put to the test.
The former Ambassador to the USA noted that he was the epitome of the President that Ghana needed in its current situation because he was committed, results-oriented and a problem-solver, traits which could easily be verified from all his political and professional careers, both as a minister of state in the NDC era and as the CEO of the CTO.
He added that those attributes had earned him a very attractive contract from the CTO from 2007 to 2011.
He said he helped to solve the image problem of the African Development Bank when he was its Corporate Affairs boss and used ingenious methods to change the behaviour of white people towards African employees at the World Bank, although that was not part of his work schedule.
He also mentioned the leading role he played in repackaging the Value Added Tax (VAT) to be implemented when it was first rejected by the people of Ghana, the introduction of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), among others.
Dr Spio-Garbrah noted that his decision to contest the flag bearer position of the NDC at the December congress was not for or against any individual but to secure victory for the NDC in the 2008 elections and ensure a safe and sound future for the country.
Asked why he would not leave the position for the former Vice-President, Prof J.E.A. Mills, who is perceived as being very well marketed, he noted that his move was meant to show how democratic the NDC was because the party had, in recent times, come under a barrage of attacks for not being democratic, especially when Prof Mills was the only candidate in 2000.
He added that the whole of the NDC, including himself, supported Prof Mills in 2000 and 2004, saying, "He did his best but the party did not win the elections. What I hear is that the people want a candidate they believe can win and they believe that I am the candidate who can deliver the Castle to the NDC."
Ironically, all the other three candidates who have declared their intention to contest alongside Prof Mills played great roles in his (Prof Mill's) campaign, with Mr Eddie Annan as a financier, while both Dr Spio-Garbrah and Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu were both in his campaign team.
On what new thing he was bringing to the party, Dr Spio-Garbrah said historically the NDC was in a difficult situation, infrastructure-wise, and the inactiveness of some of its activists who had been cowed through intimidation by the detractors of the NDC.
He suggested that the party would have to make amends with the people whom its antecedents had offended, provide its offices with Information and Communication and Technology (ICT) equipment, as well as seek funding for its activities, adding that Ghana needed to see a new and improved NDC.
Dr Spio-Garbrah said the party needed a new candidate with a fresh, dynamic and exciting posture, imbued with new ideas and strategies which would help to raise funds for the party and help also to forge alliances with other political groupings whose support the NDC would need to win. "I am capable of doing that," he emphasised.
On the question of his being a novice in politics and also allegedly abandoning the party in difficult times, he said he had and continued to pay his dues to the party and that apart from holding 10 national positions at various times in the party, he had always been in touch with the party.
He even showed several party cards in his name to this reporter. He said he was a member of the UK-Ireland Branch of the party, as well as the Gomoa East, Sekondi, Ejumako-Enyan-Essiam and Weija branches of the party.