Former vice-president, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills is reported to have formally declared his intention to take another shot at the presidency after two previous unsuccessful attempts as the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“I John Evans Atta Mills have decided to seek nomination of the great NDC as the flagbearer of the 2008 election. I'm going to contest. Atta Mills is coming back. Atta Mills is alive and well alive,” he told Radio Gold an Accra-based private radio station yesterday from South Africa where he is undergoing medical examination.
According to Prof. Mills, after two successive defeats in the hands of the NPP, he now has the magic wand that would propel him to win the 2008 election for the NDC.
The former NDC flagbearer who took a swipe at another potential contender to the NDC flagbearership, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah's attempts to ridicule him by declaring him as a three-time loser, said he was now a changed person, the Daily Guide reports.
“The former vice-president is being challenged by two of his closest friends in the party, including his chief financier, for the NDC presidential slot”.
The paper mentioned the contenders as Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah currently chief executive of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) (who the paper said described Mills as “very soft” for the party when he met with NDC MPs on Tuesday at Kama Conference Centre in Accra) and business magnet, Eddie Annan of Masai developers.
Acknowledging the interest in the presidential slot by Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama, former Defence Minister and presidential advisor to former president Rawlings, Prof. Mills said he was very happy about the interest shown by the other contestants.
He dismissed suggestions that his close friends had dumped him, saying it was not a betrayal.
He explained that their entrance into the race would afford them the opportunity to find out what motivated him to stand twice as they go round the country canvassing for votes from delegates.
Prof. Mills discounted the claim by Spio-Garbrah that after three defeats, he should take the backseat, since he may not be fourth time lucky.
“Ekwow should get his counting right. There's something wrong with Ekwow's counting,” he's reported to have said, “insisting that he had contested for only two elections which he lost to the NPP.
He explained that the first round of the 2000 and 2004 defeats, Prof. Mills said he had learnt his lesson, albeit bitterly, and would not adopt a new strategy to win the election in 2004. If not, he explained that he would not put himself forward again. “Atta Mills is a good learner,” he said.
“Sounding combative, with an impression of a self confident person, the former vice-president insisted that he actually won the 2004 election, but was robbed of the victory through rigging.”
However, having learnt his lessons, he said he was going to change the team that he worked with during the 2004 electioneering. “I am not going to use the same group,” he said.
Prof. Mills also indicated that his tolerance level had been overstretched, therefore he would not be accommodative in 2008.
“The NDC two-time presidential candidate who is said not to enjoy the support of the party founder, Jerry Rawlings because of his refusal to heed his advice to take to the streets after the 2004 election gave victory to the NPP, insisted that he is still in the good books of the former president.”
He said he was in regular contact with Mr. Rawlings since he left the country for medical check up in South Africa, explaining that the NDC founder's invitation to other contestants was to get the best for the party.