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Opinions of Monday, 1 August 2011

Columnist: Ampah, Kojo

Ayeekoo President Nana Akuffo Addo

It is not yet January 2013 but one need not to be a Bob Shrum, James Carville, Karl Rove or a Ben Ephson to ably configure who will be the President of our dear nation Ghana, come January 2013. The writing is on the wall, President John Evans Atta Mills is done and Ghana will welcome Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo as the next President of the Republic.

The issue of whether President Mills has been a good leader or a bad one will be judged by posterity but for now, Nana Addo deserves all the commendation for sticking around, managing the perceived rift between himself and former President Kuffuor well, bringing and keeping together the Elephant fraternity and more importantly for carefully energizing the base of the party to a historic proportion.

It is obvious that just like President Mills; Nana owes former President Rawlings for bringing this close to the Presidency. One may call it a cat fight, a circus or a joke but the effect of the internal wrangling of the National Democratic Congress of which former President Rawlings is the founder and President Mills the leader has already cost them the 2012 general elections.

SIGNS OF THE TIME

The perception among many ordinary Ghanaians is that President Mills is not in charge and he is actually a spent force. This started as a New Patriotic Party propaganda but was made more popular by the President’s own party faithfuls most especially former President Rawlings, Dr. Spio Garbrah , Kofi Adams and more recently Honorable Teye Nyaunu.

Perception wins elections that is the reason why all over the world, Politicians spend millions to craft messages and embark on all sorts of electioneering campaign gimmicks. The harm done to the Presidency of Mils in the hearts and minds of the average Ghanaian as a result of the ongoing slugfest in the National Democratic Congress is catastrophic and irreparable, perhaps the ingenuity of Edward Bernays of blessed memory could have help this President if he happened to be alive today.

Besides perception, experts describe momentum as what actually gets people out to vote on Election Day and the candidate or the party who has the best of that always wins. The National Democratic Congress is now a wailing party and momentum is always found at the door step of vibrant candidates and energized party base which is direct opposite of the National Democratic Congress situation.

Momentum is the frenzy that engulfs party faithfuls at the mere mention of party slogans or even on seeing party paraphernalia. This effect exist where charismatic leadership marries perceived policy acceptance by die hard party members; But President Mills is blessed with something else which is definitely not called charisma and his policies and leadership style is also partly to blame for the current in fighting in the party which means that quiet a section of the party membership are not enthused.

Perhaps, this problem could have been easily solved by former President Rawlings, if it was that Rawlings of 2008, the Rawlings who was the very symbol of the National Democratic Congress, I mean the Rawlings we ho party faithful regarded as the heart and soul of the party; Unfortunately for President Mills, Jerry Rawlings of today is so bruised and battered that he has lost that command and control that characterized his person. The electricity and excitement that Rawlings used to pour on the party is gone and the party and President Mills have lost an energizing force as a result. The National Democratic Congress is struggling to find its rhythm and momentum but unfortunately for Mills, 2012 is just around the corner and it’s simply impossible to build another character like Rawlings of yester- years within this time frame. During the last elections (2008) the people of Central Region made a huge difference to give Professor Mills the presidential throne.

What is the situation in the region now? The very fishermen who rallied behind the professor and voted massively for him and his NDC are totally disappointed. The Central Regional factor will definitely come to play in 2012 and what will be the fate of the Mills-Mahama pair and the National Democratic Congress? Mills receiving such a massive endorsement by party delegates at their national delegates congress is not an indication that all is well and will go on to win the coming election sweat-lessly.

The true reflection of what happened at the NDC congress is that 95%of those who endorsed Professor Mills were people who relied on him for their bread and butter (NOKOFIO NI ABAAYE /KAKRAA NIPA BE DI) and are not prepared to change the status quo.

WHAT NANA ADDO SHOULD DO

Nana Akuffo Addo should keep on doing what he is currently doing. He should listen more and more and stick to his message and allow the National Democratic Congress to continue fighting amongst themselves.

Nana should avoid overly trying to defend himself from the rumor that he is a drug user because it only helps to keep that conversation alive in the media and subtly affects his image and person negatively. He should also avoid such viral comments as “all die be die” because his party has enough vigour and vim to carry them through election 2012 and such comments only help boost President Mills perceived image as a humble and peace loving person. From all indications,it is Nana’s election to lose, it is only a matter of time for Nana to become our President and Ghanaians are eagerly waiting for election 2012 to repudiate this president’s policies and lackluster leadership style.

HOW PRESIDENT MILLS WILL BE REMEMBERED

As a leader, President Mills will be remembered for his ability to break the jinx around former President Rawlings in the Ghanaian body politic. He will also be remembered for his controversial “ Dzi wo Fie asem” ( Mind your own business) approach he employed in helping to solve the Ivorian crisis after their last disputed elections.

Ghanaians will also remember him as the “Asomdweehene” who perhaps should have been a clergyman. Fair thee well President Mills, Ayekoo Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, the next President of our dear nation, Ghana.

KOJO AMPAH SAHARA,

PRESIDENT,

AFRICA CULTURAL EXCHANGE

FORDHAM UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK.

LEADING MEMBER-AFRICA PEOPLES ALLIANCE,

GENERAL SECRETARY –ASANTEMAN ASSOCIATION-NEW YORK