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Opinions of Friday, 18 April 2014

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

It is Alan's Time, Give him a Chance!

It is often said that opportunity knocks, but once. The onus therefore lies on whoever the opportunity falls to grab it, and if possible, make good use of it. It is this disingenuous for anyone that fails to grab it, and more importantly maximize to blame others. In the UP Tradition for instance, political opportunities have fallen on the ways of many prominent party faithfuls, but not all of them ceased and maximized them.

The first political opportunity came in the way of Dr. J.B. Danquah, an Akyem, but on more than two occasions between 1950 and 1960, Dr. Danquah could not lead Ghana as president. Prof. K.A. Busia (Brong), on the other hand, ceased his opportunity in 1969 by becoming Ghana's Prime Minister, but he could not utilize the power to the fullest due to military intervention. Regrettably in 1979, petty differences between two PFP stalwarts, Messrs Victor Owusu, (Asante) and William Ofori Atta (Akyem) caused the UP Tradition the presidency. After 30 years on the political wilderness, Prof. Albert Adu Boahen (Akyem) had the opportunity to become Ghana's leader in 1992, but once again, political power eluded the NPP.

Mr. J.A. Kufuor (Asante) had his turn in 1996, but messed it up. As a result, his main competitor, Nana Akufo-Addo argued that; "Any candidate selected by the NPP delegates as a flag bearer has already secured 30% of the valid votes cast in the national elections. Failure to secure the remaining 20% plus 1 is the candidate's fault, hence he, Akufo-Addo, should be given the opportunity to lead the party since Kufuor had failed the NPP". The above notwithstanding, Kufuor came back strongly and won the NPP power in 2000, and went ahead to retain it in 2004.

In 2008, the opportunity fell on Nana Addo to lead the party. Even though the NPP was an incumbent government, Nana Akufo-Addo failed to retain power for the NPP as he lost the presidential elections by 40,000 votes. He pleaded a second chance in 2012. From "y3nim wo firi tete, expansion of electoral college, "All die be die" declaration, free SHS, and the "Battle is The Lord's", not forgetting the time-wasting at the Supreme Court, the most marketed presidential candidate of the NPP lost the elections for the second consecutive time to a new candidate by over 300,000 votes, an indication that his votes have been shrinking. Do we therefore need a rocket scientist to hint us that there is a missing link somewhere in the NPP?

Fellow Kukrudites, the NPP is a corporate entity and does not belong to a single individual. Therefore, those who have created personality cult in the party have gotten everything wrong. As I have oftentimes argued; if there is any single individual who needs to be worshipped in the NPP on a daily basis, it is none other than His Excellency, J.A. Kufuor. For, he is arguably the most successful personality in the Danquah-Dombo-Busia Tradition, and I need not educate readers on why Kufuor should be held in high esteem, as far as the NPP matters are concerned.

I have read and listened to the arguments being put forward by Nana Addo's supporters, with regard to his third term bid. However, I'm yet to be convinced as to how our tried and tested politician could secure power for our beloved party, the NPP. Usually, those in support of Nana Addo's bid centre their arguments on the man's marketability, popularity in the NPP, and lately sympathy votes. At times, they use Atta Mills' third term bid as a reference point. When you engage those people in a discourse to justify their stance, then they begin to tag you as Alan Boy or sometimes insult you. But, when people say Nana Addo has already been marketed, and thus deserves to lead the NPP for the third time, they easily forget that John Mahama used only just three months to beat him in the last presidential elections. I know people will say John Mahama was a former Vice President so he was already marketed. Then, if that is the case, how could Nana Addo beat John Mahama, the incumbent president in 2016?

These guys talk about Nana's popularity in the NPP as if the over 5 million NPP members voted for him during the 2010 NPP primaries. What people have forgotten is that, the NPP's Electoral College was skewed by the Jake-led NPP National Executive to favour Nana Addo. If popularity within the NPP is of any political significance, why has Nana Addo been beaten twice on the trot by two different candidates in the presidential elections? This is food for thought for all those who argue blindly about Nana Addo's popularity in the NPP.

Personally, I don't want to go into the issue of sympathy votes, else I'll ask for its meaning and source. We are constantly being disturbed by Nana Addo's sympathisers the man would receive sympathy votes all because he readily accepted the Supreme Court's verdict in last August. But, what else could Nana Addo do after the declaration by Justice Atuguba? I have been questioning the source of these sympathy votes for Nana, but the answers are not forthcoming. May I ask, how many sympathy votes did the NPP members give to the NDC, when Prof. Atta Mills died in 2012? So, why should people think for a minute that sympathy votes would come from our opponents?

In using Mills's third term bid as point, they forget to note that apples are being compared with oranges. For instance, Mills was a sitting Vice President on his first attempt, but Akufo-Addo was not. Mills was 64 years on his third attempt, but Akufo-Addo will be 72 years. Mills brought in new running-mates in all three attempts, but Akufo-Addo has maintained Dr. Bawumia twice. Mills died three and a half years after becoming president, so do people expect Akufo-Addo too to die after becoming president? Mills never lost to two different candidates, but Nana has lost to both Mills and Mahama. Aside this, there were break-away factions from the NDC - the National Reform Party, Democratic Freedom Party, and National Democratic Party. What has happened to the NPP since 2000?

For me, Nana Addo has had his time and also done his best, but his best has not been enough to get us the needed political power. As a party, our preoccupation is to win power in 2016. Fortunately, the NPP has uncountable men and women to do that for us. The Ghanaian voter has proven more than one occasion that, Nana Addo is not the man they need as their leader. The NPP should look beyond Nana's so-called popularity and find a "winnable candidate". And from the look of things, John Alan Kyeremateng stands tall among the rest. Alan Cash, whose mother is from the Central Region can easily win both Central and Western Regions for the NPP. His father is from the Ashanti Region and just imagine the number of votes that would be maximised in this region. He is handsome, giant, affable, young, and approachable. He is also called John, a name which is synonymous to all presidents since the advent of the 4th Republic. These are the major factors most Ghanaians consider in choosing their leader. There is no way any political opponent can put a negative tag on Alan K. as has been done to Nana Addo on several times. Such negative tags won't even stick, because Alan is not surrounded by controversies. This will give the NPP enough time to sell our campaign message, instead of always wasting time to defend Nana Addo on negative tags. If Nana's votes have been shrinking since 2008, what is the political sense in retaining him in 2016?

Let's all focus on winning the presidential elections first before we think about who would be a better president, for the issue of a better president is relative. Seek ye first the political kingdom and all other things shall be added unto you!

God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri. Email:katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk Mobile: 0547851100 : 0264931361 : 0202471070