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General News of Friday, 12 December 2008

Source: Statesman

Nana beefs up campaign team

NPP presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, has revamped his national campaign team in the stepped up effort to win the December 28 run-off poll between his party and NDC candidate, John Evans Atta Mills.

The NPP leader has posted two of his closest and most trusted lieutenants to the party's major strongholds, Ashanti and Eastern Regions.

Sources in the hierarchy of the NPP have told The Statesman Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, a former presidential aspirant, now heads the Ashanti Region campaign team, while Yaw Osafo-Maafo, another aspirant, heads the Eastern Region team.

The two have been deployed to set up camp in the two regions to galvanise support and get the electorate to come out and vote.

An estimated one million voters on the voters" register in these two strong NPP regions did not vote, checks by the party have revealed.

The party estimates at least 500,000 of their voters were complacent, bought into the 'One touch victory’ talk and didn’t bother to vote.

Nana Akufo-Addo was just 60,000 short of the required number of votes to clinch a ‘one touch’ win over the seven other men who contested with him on December 7.

To make matters worse, the largest opposition party resorted to playing the ethnic card, especially in the Central and Volta regions, analysts say.

There have also been reports, especially from the Volta region, of multiple voting by NDC agents and some minors.

With both presidential and parliamentary results from 228 out of the 230 constituencies in the country declared, NPP candidate Nana Akufo-Addo yesterday handed the first of two electoral defeats to John Evans Atta Mills of the opposition National Democratic Congress.

Nana Akufo-Addo won 4,159,439 of valid votes cast, representing 49.13%, while John Evans Atta Mills won 4,056,634 representing 47.92%.

Neither candidate, however, obtained the required 50% plus one vote required to win the presidency, and will compete in a run-off poll on Sunday December 28, 2008, Electoral Commission Chairman Kwadwo Afari-Djan announced yesterday.

The other contestants, Convention People’s Party’s Paa Kwesi Nduom, People’s National Convention’s Edward Nasigrie Mahama, Democratic People’s Party’s Thomas Nuako Ward-Brew, Democratic Freedom Party’s Emmanuel Ansah Antwi, Reformed Patriotic Democrats’s Kwabena Agyei and Independent Candidate, Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah, won a combined total of 2.95%.

Prof Mills had earlier been beaten thrice (first round and run-off in 2000, first round in 2004) by outgoing president J A Kufuor, and it is expected that Nana Akufo-Addo will repeat the dose.

Significantly, on both occasions that a presidential contest has been forced into a run off, the NPP candidate won the most votes. Then candidate J A Kufuor won 48.40% against J E A Mills’ 44.64% in the first round of the 2000 elections.