A former Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah, has said when given the nod to be the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2020 election, he will use his marketing and communications skills to garner more support and win the election for the party.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, Dr Spio-Garbrah said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) employed similar marketing antics in the 2016 election to sell its ‘judicious’ policies and market its then Presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as incorruptible.
He said he would use his rich experience in marketing and communications, spanning from decades of working in financial, government and international institutions, to come up with good and attractive policies for the NDC.
Dr Spio-Garbrah recalled that when Ghanaians opposed the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT), which led to the ‘Kumi preko’ and other demonstrations in the 1990s, the introduction had to be suspended.
He said former President Jerry John Rawlings then tasked him as a Minister of Communications to lead a Public Education Committee to sell the idea of VAT to Ghanaians, which he did successfully, leading to the reintroduction of VAT.
He said it was the same skills he would employ to create a good image for the NDC and guarantee a victory for the party in the next election.
Strong support base
Dr Spio-Garbrah also served in different portfolios in the Rawlings and Mills administrations. He is a former Minister of Communications and Minister of Education. He also previously served as Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States of America (USA) and Mexico. He is a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) based in London.
In 2006, Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah lost the NDC contest to the then Professor John Evans Atta Mills.
Other aspirants for the NDC flag-bearer contest for the 2020 election are former President John Dramani Mahama, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies (UPSA), Professor Joshua Alabi, and the former Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Mr Sylvester Mensah.
Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah denied the suggestion that he did not even have a strong constituency or support base within and outside the NDC to make a mark in the flag-bearer race or the national election.
He said his support base cut across the youth, professional bodies, as well national and international bodies.
The experienced politician and former diplomat recalled that the suggestion was that then candidate Professor John Evans Atta Mills did not have a strong constituency but he went on to win the 2008 election.
Dr Spio-Garbrah noted that the corruption tag against the NDC contributed to the loss of the party in the 2016 election.
He said his personal image as a politician without a record of corruption would endear him and the NDC to many Ghanaians to give the party another shot at power.
Dr Spio-Garbrah said should he win the flag-bearer contest and get the mandate of Ghanaians to be President, his government would not shield any corrupt government official, no matter his relationship with the fellow.
He said the fight against corruption would succeed only when the leader himself disciplined himself against corruption and deal with the corrupt individuals around him.
Policies and programmes
Dr Spio-Garbrah said his government would focus on growing the economy, increasing agricultural production, job creation and promotion of health and education.
He said industries would be supported to expand and add value to the country’s resources to serve the country and export the surplus for foreign exchange.
He stressed the need for the country to begin to produce the basic things needed in the country instead of depending on the outside world for everything.
Dr Spio-Garbrah said he supported the suggestion that former President John Dramani Mahama should not be given the chance to lead the party for the 2020 election given the fact that he had only one term to serve as President