Feature Article of Thursday, 26 April 2012
Columnist: Obour, Samuel K.
*By Samuel K. Obour*
Political party communicators and strategists have begun deploying their campaign arsenals, as the highly anticipated December elections approach.With barely eight months to the big day, spin doctors and propagandists have also intensified their efforts at making their respective parties “look good”. A fortnight ago, in “Top 5 NDC Politicians Nana Addo should fear in 2012“, I mentioned five NDC politicians who have been working hard against Nana Akuffo Addo and the NDC, in order to pave way for the re-election of the Mills-Mahama administration in December.
This week, I bring you a list of top five NPP politicians who pose the greatest threat to the realisation of that ambition. These are individuals who , needless to say, are committed to evicting President JEA Mills from the Osu Castle come December.
My list is not based on any scientific research, but on my personal observations and analyses of NPP communications and public perception of some NPP politicians.
*Nana Akufo Addo*: Indisputably, Nana Akufo Addo poses the greatest threat to President Mills’ second term ambition.
He is one of the most experienced politicians around, and has been described as a ‘political colossus’ by veteran social commentator, Mr Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr.
Nana’s political pedigree and his commitment to the national cause can hardly be questioned.The only time I have had cause to question his commitment was when he made some comments relating to “all die be die” on a political platform last year. However, that development almost amounts to insignificance when compared to Nana’s exploits over the decades for Ghana: Not only was he instrumental in Ghana’s return to constitutional democracy in 1992, he was also a key player in the struggle for freedom of speech and expression as well as freedom of the press, which eventually led to media proliferation in the country. He was a key member of the NPP administration of President JA Kufuor between 2001 and 2009.
Most importantly, Nana Addo lost the 2008 elections to President Mills only by about 40,000 votes. Indeed, he led the first round of voting by about 100,000 votes only to succumb to a narrow defeat in the second round.
Reports indicate that Nana’s campaign in 2008 was beset by a lot of complacency: Apparently, Nana and his campaign team were certain they would win the election “one touch”, hence their failure to go the extra mile.
This time, Nana Addo and his team seem to have rid themselves of complacency and overconfidence. This is evidenced by the aggressive and coordinated nature of their campaign. Nana doesn’t appear to be leaving anything to chance, for “once bitten, twice shy”. He should, therefore, cause President Mills a lot of nightmare in December.
Apart from Nana Addo, however, the following NPP politicians pose the greatest threat to President Mills’ second term ambition:
1. *John Boadu*: Power is not given, it is won. And since January 7, 2009, when Professor Mills was sworn in as President, the NPP has fought hard to reclaim the political power from the NDC.
Communication has been a crucial element of this campaign, and one man who has been at the forefront of helping the NPP shape public thought and opinion is Mr John Boadu. He has a calm and assured way of analysing socio-political situations that many people admire.
Mr Boadu, a Deputy Communication Director of the NPP, is undoubtedly one of the party’s most effective communicators. From radio stations and television stations to political platforms, his analysis of national issues have been excellent and largely informed.
He coherently and efficiently advances the cause of the NPP, while rejecting and criticising policies and initiatives of the NDC government.
Fundamentally, the commuications efforts of Mr Boadu, an unrelenting critic of the government, have been positive for the NPP, but detrimental to the NDC. And as the December elections approach, the soft-spoken but firm communicator poses a threat to President Mills’ second term campaign.
2. *Gabby Otchere Darko*: Gabby is more or less Nana Addo’s Chief of Staff. He seems to be Chief Operating Officer of the Nana Addo 2012 Presidential campaign. He is Nana’s cousin, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
It’s my understanding that Gabby coordinates campaign issues relating to logistics, finance, communications, ideas, and strategies on behalf of Nana Addo. Essentially, people who have ideas, strategies and even money to support Nana Addo invariably have to go through his ‘main man’ – Gabby.
The NDC’s Kofi Adams was recently accused of conniving with Gabby to sabotage President Mills’ second term ambition. Despite, his rigorous denials, Kofi Adams has been suspended by the NDC. This somewhat confirms that the party (NDC)considers Gabby to be a threat; it also goes a long way to show how important Gabby is to the Nana Addo campaign.
Gabby, who is the Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, has also been one the fiercest critics of the NDC government; he has consistently complemented the efforts of the NPP’s Communications team and should pose a threat to President Mills in December.
3. *Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu*: The fight for Ghana’s political power, like I indicated above, is being fought on many fronts, the Parliament of Ghana inclusive. Since 2008, the Minority Leader, Mr Kyei Mensah Bonsu, has commanded the NPP ‘forces’ at that crucial institution. And, Needless to emphasise, he has done a remarkable job.
Mr Bonsu is doing exactly what Mr Alban Gbagbin did for theNDC as Minority Leader throughout the 8 years that they (NDC) were in the ‘wilderness’. He and his NDC counterparts have frustrated the President Mills-led NDC government by stalling, criticising and even rejecting many of its policies.
Don’t forget that Mr Bonsu led the NPP to rigorously and relentlessly resist the government’s STX deal as well as the procurement of a loan of $3billion from China.
On several occasions, the Minority Leader has led his NPP colleagues to sit out of parliamentary proceedings, in protest against some actions of the goverenment they deem either not to be in the interest ofthe people of Ghana or in the interest of his party.
Mr Bonsu has also not failed to criticise the President when the opportunity has arisen: Readers will recall that he described President Mills’ 2011 State of the nation address as the “most divisive” in the history of Ghana”. That scathing criticism, coming from the highly esteemed and respected Minority Leader, was telecast live on about three television stations and broadcast live on scores of radio stations across the country.
Essentially, the impact of the Minority Leader’s anti-government actions on public opinion has been positive for the NPP. As December elections approach, Mr Bonsu is expected to intensify his ideological hostility towards the government, potentially causing President Mills huge problems.
4. *Sammy Awuku*: Though, Mr Sammy Awuku is a Deputy Communicators Director of the NPP, he works harder than a party foot soldier. The young man has been one of the fiercest critics of President Mills’ government.
A capable, aggressive, and extremely confident commnicator, Mr Awuku continually moves from media house to media house criticising the policies and initiatives of the NDC government, while articulating the difference NPP could make in the lives of the people of Ghana. The passion and commitment that characterise Mr Awuku’s communications for the NPP have helped improve the image of the NPP in the eyes of many Ghanaians. The NPP die-hard remains one of the most potent threats to President Mills’ 2012 campaign.
5. *Ursula Owusu*. I dare say, that Ursula is the fiercest, the most aggressive, the most abrasive, and the most relentless and unrepentant critic of the NDC government.
It has to be said that she has been a thorn in the flesh of many officials of the NDC. The aspiring Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South has already described the government of President Mills as “visionless, clueless, directionless, and purposeless”.
Ursula has perpetually combined her phenomenal communications ability and her immense knowledge of law in advancing the cause of Nana Akufo Addo’s NPP. The same way, she has boldly and forcefully condemned President Mills’ leadership style, calling on Ghanaians to vote him out to be replaced with Nana Akufo Addo.
Though many NDC supporters detest Ursula for such blunt criticism of their government, I have no doubt that they would’t mind having such an excellent communicator on the side of the NDC instead of the NPP.
As the elections approach, the NDC government should brace for more ‘fireworks’ from the NPP firebrand. Ursula is a credible threat to President Mills’ second term ambitions.
Other NPP politicians who are doing well to position the party for a takeover of political power in 2013 include Mr Kweku Kwarteng, Nana Akomea, Mr Abu Jinapor, Mr Michael Ocquaye Jnr among others. [image: :-)]
To contact this writer, email [email protected] or follow him on twitter @SamuelObour
Read: ‘Top Five NDC Politicians Nana Addo Should Fear in December’
*Dear Editor: I salute you, sir. Could you please make the first part of this article titled "Top Five NDC Politicians President Mills Should fear in December" available to those who didn't get to read it earlier. So that they won't think I'm biased towards a particular party.*
*Thank you, sir.*