National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer hopeful, Stephen Atubiga has revealed that he sought for the advice of former president John Mahama before declaring his intention to contest in the flagbearer race of the umbrella family.
Speaking to Kwame Minkah on Radio XYZ 93.1 on Friday, Mr Atubiga denied stabbing the former president in the back as being reported in the media.
However, he said he went to the former president’s residence and informed him of his plans to contest for the topmost position before he announced his intention.
“At that time, he [Mahama] said he was tired and was not ready to go into active politics,” Mr Atubiga recounted.
Asked why he wants to be in the race with someone he calls a brother, Atubiga said he is the right person to lead the party, adding that he will “thrive on the achievements of John Mahama.”
“I love John to death,” he continued. “I’ll take a bullet for him. He’s an inspiration to northerners….He has given the northerners the clean sheet to aspire for higher positions.”
“We’re family. He used to stay in my house in the United States anytime he was in the States. That was when he left Parliament.”
He continued: “I went to see the former president before declaring my intentions to contest… and he gave me his approval and told me he had no intentions to contest again…I had his blessings,” he added.
To him, he did not know Mr Mahama will later return to seek the support of party delegates to lead them into the 2020 general elections.
Stephen Atubiga, a business man, believes Mr Mahama is one of the best presidents Ghana has ever had. He also believes the former president will deliver when Ghanaians give him the opportunity to lead the country again, but he thinks it is time for Mr Mahama to support him to lead the party.
“I went to prison because of him…He’s my brother but this is the time he has to support me,” he said adding that Mr Mahama will be his Special Advisor when he becomes a president.
Stephen Atubiga was the first to declare his intention to be a flagbearer. He has written to officially inform the leadership of the NDC of his intent to contest for the flagbearer position of the party.
More than nine persons have already written to the party officially to inform it about their intentions to lead the party for the 2020 presidential election.
Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin; a former Trade Minister, Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah; a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Mr Sylvester Mensah and a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Professor Joshua Alabi are in the race.
The others include banker and oil and gas consultant, Nurideen Iddrisu; Cape Coast South, MP Kwaku Ricketts Hagan; a private lawyer, Mr Elikplim Agbemava and Mr David Doste Kwame Kuwadah.