General News of Friday, 20 July 2012
The flagbearer of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Hassan Ayariga, has dismissed criticism of his performance at the IEA-organised Presidential forum on Tuesday, daring his accusers to meet him on the same platform to test their mettle against him.
Political analysts and stakeholders such as think tank Imani Ghana and the Ghana Trades Union Congress have variously described Mr Ayariga’s performance and presentation as embarrassing, disappointing, shallow, and below par, especially when compared to the performance put up by Dr Abu Sakara of the CPP at an earlier session.
In their opinion, Mr Ayariga failed to articulate any meaningful policies or programmes a PNC government would implement if voted into office.
But Mr Ayariga has hit back at his critics, daring them to meet him on the same platform so the public can judge. In his opinion, he “really delivered and scored 90%.”
Speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem Morning Show on Thursday July 19, he singled out Imani Ghana for special criticism, declaring, “Even God, if he comes to Ghana today, Imani and other people will find fault with Him, so who am I?”
Mr Ayariga called on Ghanaians, especially the Executive Director of Imani Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, and the other leaders of the organisation, to be “honest” and publicly confirm their membership of the NPP. This alleged political affiliation, Mr Ayariga told show host Adakabre Frimpong Manso, would always colour any analysis by the think tank against the PNC and other parties.
Adakabre: Why do you say Imani is NPP? Hassan Ayariga: Their director, what party does he belong to? He is an NPP man, or you dont know? Adakabre: Franklin Cudjoe? Hassan Ayariga: Yes, he is an NPP Adakabre: So he would always attack you? Hassan: He will always attack the PNC, he will attack the NDC, he will attack the CPP
In any case, “People will always say what they want; they have their own perceptions,” he continued. “They should face me on a platform to see if I was an embarrassment. They should have a look at my presentation, it’s out there and everybody can see. They didn’t even listen to me, they came out with their own questions irrespective of what message I was going to deliver.
“If they say I didn’t perform they should tell us what they want me to say” Mr Ayariga argued that he “have out answered” and “provided solutions, not rhetoric” at the IEA debate. Such solutions to alleviate Ghana’s problem included paying greater attention to agriculture modeled on the days of Operation Feed Yourself of the Acheampong era; and devoting a considerable amount of the national kitty to education.
But Imani has not taken the criticism lying down. While declining to respond on air, Kofi Bentil, Vice President of Imani, sent a text into the programme: “Imani doesn’t waste time responding to issues of whether they are NDC or NPP. We have always been tagged.
“(Hassan) Ayariga is not worth responding to. There is no substance in anything he says.”