General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, yesterday dropped hints of the possibility of the party's founder and former President Jerry Rawlings attending the national delegates congress scheduled for tomorrow.
At a programme to receive the nominations of President John Mahama as NDC flagbearer for the December polls at the party's Kokomlemle headquarters in Accra yesterday, he said, 'We expect the arrival of His Excellency Flt. Lt Jerry John Rawlings, the founder of the party.'
Mr. Mahama is expected to be acclaimed and endorsed as flagbearer of the NDC at the congress scheduled for the Kumasi Sports Stadium.
In spite of the frosty relations between Mr. Rawlings and the current leadership of the party including Asiedu-Nketia himself, the general secretary claimed the former president would address the delegates and therefore expected all delegates to be seated by 8:50am tomorrow.
He said the NDC founder would have 10 minutes to address the delegates if he so desired, warning that if the former president exceeded the time, he would stop him.
However, information picked up by DAILY GUIDE indicated that Mr. Rawlings would likely not turn up for the event.
This, according to sources, was partly due to his strained relations with the leadership of the party and the fact that he had virtually been left out of all decision-making processes in the NDC, especially after the death of President Mills.
In spite of the fact that Mr. Rawlings was the founder and Chairman of Council of elders of the NDC, sources close to the party said he was not consulted over the decision to make Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur the Vice President and possible running mate for President John Dramani Mahama.
Apart from that, he was said to have been left out of the decision to make President Mahama the automatic presidential candidate of the party following the demise of President Mills.
The old man, according to DAILY GUIDE's source, was also not too happy with the contents of an invitation letter extended to him for participation in Thursday's congress, since it sort of placed some restrictions on him and the tone of the letter addressed to him by Asiedu Nketia was not the best.
Sources also said the question of Mr. Rawlings attending the event would largely depend on whether or not he had any scheduled appointments outside the country this week, especially in Somalia, where he is the Special Envoy.
DAILY GUIDE learnt he had an intended trip to that country this week, a situation that might coincide with the NDC congress.
Supporters of the NDC in Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital, were said to have gone into wild jubilation over news that Mr Rawlings would be attending the congress.
There had been concerns among NDC supporters as to whether the NDC founder and his wife Nana Konadu, would be attending the event.
But information got to the region that Mr. Rawlings had agreed to attend the event where President Mahama is expected to be endorsed by party delegates as the NDC flagbearer.
Ashanti Regional Secretary of the party Joseph Yammin said, 'So far it is 95% sure that that he will be coming for the congress.'
Yammin disclosed that they had even arranged for accommodation for the party founder, insisting that a befitting welcome had been arranged for Mr. Rawlings.
He said the NDC founder's decision to attend the big event was an indication that the NDC was united and poised to inflict a painful defeat on the other political parties, especially the NPP.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu & I.F Joe Awuah