General News of Friday, 7 December 2012
Finally it is here! The judgment day has certainly dawned as over 14 million Ghanaian registered voters head to 26,000 polling stations across the country to decide who should administer the affairs of the oil and gold rich nation.
Though eight respected politicians seek to occupy the top post of the land and latest polls have placed the candidate of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) – John Dramani Mahama and New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate – Nana Akufo-Addo effectively tired.
Candidates of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) – Papa Kwesi Nduom, People’s National Convention (PNC) – Hassan Ayariga, Convention People’s Party (CPP) – Dr Abu Sakara, Great Consolidate Popular Party (GCPP) – Dr Daniel Lartey, United Front Party Candidate (UFP) – Kwesi Addae and Independent candidate – Jacob Osei Yeboah, according to opinion polls, could be rendered mere spectators.
Interestingly, in just few hours the opinions of the connoisseurs will not matter a jot, as reality is expected to rear it heads when the last valid vote is accounted for.
The epic electoral campaigning fraught by never-ending accusations, counter accusations, banters, back slaps and even pseudo jabs on matters germaine to the larger interest of the nation, will see political parties and individuals jostle for the 275 seats in the legislature.
The party which emerges as majority in the August House has apparently positioned itself in the event of a run-off.
Despite the fact that the Electoral Commission created additional 45 constituencies to swell the earlier figure from 230 to 275, the NPP and the NDC are highly tipped to romp home with most of the seats.
As voters finally have their say today, some political watchers say the outcome of the election will significantly and steadily enhance the country’s democratic credentials on the continent.
Then Vice President John Mahama upon assumption of office of the NDC in 2009 promised to roll out policies that will alleviate the plights of Ghanaians, particularly the youth.
His party then led by late Professor John Evans Atta Mills assured of providing Ghanaians exemplary and incorruptible leadership, which Ghanaians have been yearning for.
Over and over, President Mahama after taking over the leadership mantle after the demise of Prof. Mills has said that the government has worked assiduously to record some successes in the face of the growing challenges.
Government officials have many a time touted the attainment of single digit inflation as one of the enviable achievements of the Mills-Mahama government regardless of the barrage of attacks it constantly attracts from the opposition.
The ruling party in constant attempts to shrug off such criticisms from the NPP and its leader – Nana Akufo-Addo – has often accused them of offering recycled policies of the previous NPP administration that, in its opinion, helped the wealthy and harmed the middle class as well as the downtrodden in society.
The NDC has, during the campaign period, stressed the point of Ghana reverting to the backwoods should power be given to the NPP.
Mr. Mahama said the second face of his government, notwithstanding the deficits and challenges, shall work to provide opportunities to everybody, and grow a strong middle class.
Nana Akufo-Addo, on the other hand, has been consistent and emphatic. His party has promised to provide free Senior High Education by relying heavily on the proceeds from the oil.
Arguably it was the most topical issue throughout the electioneering campaign. But the NDC have kicked against that assertion and has instead pledged to give much attention to improving the standards of education rather than making it entirely free.
With analysts predicting a run-off between the NPP and the NDC, it is roundly believe that the impact of the “smaller” parties is not going to be significant in determining the outcome of the polls.
Ghana’s first round election in 2008 saw late Prof. Mills of the NDC obtaining 4,056,634, representing 47.92% with Nana Akufo-Addo of the then ruling NPP romping home with 4,159,439 of the total valid votes cast representing 49.13%.
Dr Nduom then flag bearer of the CPP had 113,484 representing 1.34% with Dr Edward Mahama of the PNC obtaining 73,494 of the votes which represented 0.87% of the total valid votes.
The rest of the votes went to the DFP, DPP and an independent candidate.
The NDC dramatically overtook the NPP in the run-off by obtaining 4,521,032 representing 50.23% and the NPP had 4,480,446 representing 49.77% of the total valid votes cast.
Today is certainly a day of choices. The day offers an opportunity for Ghana to bolster her democratic credentials or join the league of countries that have been destabilized by elections.