A nationwide clamor for the comeback of immediate past President, John Dramani Mahama has taken an interesting twist as some taxi drivers in the country have kick start a campaign to prevail on the former President to stake another claim to Ghana’s presidency.
The campaign, code named #bringbackJM, according to the cab drivers, is to appeal to Mr Mahama to yield to calls to contest the 2020 presidential elections in order to continue the “good works he was doing before his presidency was truncated in the 2016 election.”
Majority of taxi of drivers interviewed by The aL-hAJJ in the capital city, Accra, on the leadership struggle in the opposition National Democratic Congress over who leads the party into the 2020 elections, endorsed Mr Mahama as the marks man to kick out the Akufo-Addo government.
“Apart from Mahama, the NDC does not have anybody to present for the election. Majority of the taxi drivers have started campaigning for Mahama ahead of time,” one of the taxi drivers noted.
Explaining why they have started a campaign to get Mr Mahama to contest the 2010 elections, another taxi driver told this paper that their plights have worsened over the six months that President Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party have been in charge of the country.
According to the cab workers, Ghanaians in general are feeling the economic pinch, adding that, this has affected their business because “when worker
A polling station organizer of the NPP in Suhum Krobea in the Suhum Constituency, Korsi Dogbe, has also revealed that cab drivers in the area and NPP supporters have vowed never to vote for the President Akufo-Addo in the next presidential election.
Stating how dejected and disappointed they are in the President, Korsi Dogbe, who doubles as Chairman of taxi drivers in Suhum, said President Akufo-Addo hoodwinked them into voting for him with the promise of appointing their MP, Frederick Opare Ansah, as Minister.
The NPP polling station organizer said he has advised all the cab drivers not to vote for President Akufo-Addo in any election again, saying “in the next election, Nana will not secure even a single vote here.”
“We are ready to work and campaign for any political party that approaches us. As for President Akufo-Addo, we are disappointed in him. We will not campaign for him again,” he stated.
On their parts, taxi drivers at Nungua in the Krowor constituency told The aL-hAJJ that, though they supported and voted for Akufo-Addo in last year’s election hoping to better their lives as Akufo-Addo promised, they have since regretted.
One of them said the Akufo-Addo government has lost the goodwill of Ghanaians, hence their call on Mr Mahama to contest the election and continue from where he left off, insisting that those who voted for Akufo-Addo are quietly waiting for Election Day 2020 to kick him out.
“Everybody is quiet because they voted for this government so they are ashamed to come out to say the government is not performing. They have remained quiet waiting for Election Day to vote against this government. Everybody is quiet. The only people saying good things about NPP are the serial callers who have been given monies to call into radio stations to promote government. No individual is saying anything good about this government,” the driver noted.
At Kaneashie Korle Bu/Mamprobi taxi station, the cab drivers there could not hide their admiration for Mr Mahama whom they say, they were deceived to vote against him in the 2016 elections.
Recounting some of the achievements of the former President, one of the drivers said ‘within three years, look at the infrastructure projects that Mahama executed; school buildings, hospitals – when you go to Kumasi, the kind of market he has built there is amazing…when you go to my hometown, Akwatia in the Abetifi area, the hospital he has built there will surprise you.”
“Someone has used just three years to build 200 SHS blocks; even if he did not complete some of the buildings before exiting office, at least he laid the foundation. Go to Nkrumah circle, Kasoa…as for Tema he didn’t finish it before leaving office but it’s still under construction , if we had added four years to his (Mahama’s) term, what do you think he would have done for Ghana?” the driver sarcastically quizzed.
At Ofankor Barrrier in the Trobu constituency where it is believed majority of the taxi drivers are NPP sympathizers, some of them cast doubt about the success of the Akufo-Addo government, saying President Akufo-Addo may not be able to match the records of his predecessor.
“Akufo Addo himself knows that he cannot deliver even half of Mahama’s achievements …the road projects he (Mahama) started when he was in office are still ongoing, he has paid for them so the contractors are still working.
You cannot abrogate those contracts because he has paid for them. Ghanaians will now determine who is competent and who is not…even Bawumia who described Mahama as incompetent has been sidelined, the Senior Minister has taken over his post. That is how they behave, under former President Kufuor, Aliu Mahama was also sidelined and Mpiani was doing his work. The Northerners were warned but they failed to listen…now Bawumia’s job has been assigned to someone else. He is just a ceremonial vice president,’ the drivers mockingly told this paper.
One of them narrated how the taxi business has gone bad over the last six month saying “last year, I close by 3 or 4 pm but now even after 8 PM I’m still working because I’ve not made by sales. You can roam for an hour without getting a passenger. Now any place at all, regardless of the distance, you must go other than that you cannot make sales.”
The drivers clamor for the comeback of former President Mahama comes at a time kingpins and rank and file of the NDC are calling on the former President to stage a comeback. Though the former President himself has not officially declared his intention to run for president again, there are strong indications that he will make a comeback.
Among NDC big shots rooting for the former President is former Chief of Staff, Nana Ato Dadzie, who is insisting that Mr Mahama is the most reliable candidate ahead of the polls.
“To me, I think he is the best bet [provided he would have learnt his lessons]. He would have to agitate among his people and the populace and then come out with credible positions,” he said.
So far some NDC heavyweights have been mentioned as interested in leading the party into the 2020 elections. They include former vice Chancellor of UPSA, Prof Joshua Alabi; former CEO of NHIA, Sylvester Mensah; 2nd Deputy Speaker, Alban Bagbin; former Trade and Industry Minister, Dr Ekow Spio Gabrah and former Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor.
But many have said that if Mr John Mahama decides to contest the NDC’s primaries, he will whip all the flag bearer hopefuls. This observation, according to the taxi drivers, is the reality in Ghana, saying “Beginning next year, Ghanaians will start clamoring for Mahama’s comeback”
According to the drivers, though Mr Mahama has not made public his decision to stage a comeback, they are hopeful that he will contest the 2020 elections.
“What Rawlings said at the NDC’s 25th anniversary rally that the jockey must be encouraged to ride the horse is allegorical. His reference to Asiedu Nketsiah as not fit for flag bearer, signals that they want to encourage Mahama to stage a comeback. We have a lot of people as taxi drivers in this country…if we decide to vote against your government, you will definitely exit power because we are many… a lot of people have regretted voting for Akufo-Addo. That is the reality,” they noted.