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Opinions of Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Columnist: Blay-Miezah, Acka-Nyanzu

Ghanaians Need Patriot Akufo-Addo.

As the New Patriotic Party (NPP) goes through its own processes of electing officers for the various levels of administration of the party for another term of office, one thing that seems to run through all these processes from the polling station executives elections, to the constituency and next, the regional executives elections is ONE – WHO LEADS THE NPP TOWARDS ELECTION 2016? Any keen observer will concur that this question also runs through the campaigns of those posturing to contest for the national positions.

In my last visit to Accra from Axim and listening to the morning radios there only a few weeks ago, it seemed surprising to me that some political commentators especially of the NPP and NDC think Accra is indeed Ghana. Some News paper headlines and reviews, text messages and phone-ins by these commentators attempt a suggestion that the 2012 NPP presidential candidate should not consider offering himself for election as leader of the party. Do such people know what they are talking about? They should put their ears to the ground or travel round the country and listen to the millions of voiceless Ghanaians who are expecting nothing less than Akufo-Addo for 2016, and then they will understand the times we are in.

I ask myself why he shouldn’t. My biggest beef though is with some NPP commentators. These were the same people who believed and were all over our radios and communities few months ago telling us that Nana Akufo-Addo and for that matter NPP were wrongly denied the 2012 electoral victory through some machinations and connivance between the NDC and the EC. These same commentators and indeed party stalwarts expressed confidence in the Supreme Court to right the wrong of the EC and assured the NPP supporters and Ghanaians who felt that their wish/choice at the polls had not been made to reflect to patiently wait for the change through the court. If indeed these party leaders believed in the court case, why are some of them now saying that Nana Addo should not offer himself to lead the party? Why should a candidate whom one truly believes won a contest be urged not to contest anymore because he has been allowed twice and he has failed? Really, was Nana Addo allowed twice or he contested and won at primaries?

Using Axim as a microcosm of what is happening within and without of NPP across the country, I dare say the NPP would be doing the NDC a big favor while undoing the entire country if they succeed in convincing Akufo-Addo not to avail himself for election towards 2016. Here in Axim where fishing is the main occupation, fish has never been more expensive than it is today. We do not have reliable power for our cold rooms to preserve our fishes which are not sold at the close of day. Meanwhile the cost of living is on the rapid ascendance. We do not see any development happening in this ancient town of ours. Our roads are getting worse from bad. This town is on the decline and the municipal authority is as always clueless and telling us our problems instead of solving them. There is nothing happening. Our only hospital is poorly staffed because doctors would not accept postings here for lack of accommodation and working tools.

The only available doctor is overworked and I fear for his life because he is human and can breakdown at any moment. I dare not guess what would happen to healthcare delivery if this should happen. May be we will travel to Esiama or Anyinase. But even there, things are bad! The country is in dire need of deliverance and what some few but seemingly loud persons within the biggest opposition party can do is to bicker about how to make Akufo-Addo unpopular. Well I got good news for them all, their plots will fail!

And I hear some saying Akufo-Addo has become a statesman. I ask so? For the matured and patriotic manner that Akufo-Addo conducted himself before, during and after the 2012 presidential election petition, should that conduct which has been acclaimed worldwide suddenly become an albatross around his neck or a negative such that it will make him unattractive to voters. How? People have succeeded in turning political weakness into strengths and opportunities and some NPP guys are saying what? That the NPP party cannot harness on the globally acclaimed conduct of Akufo-Addo to make gains?

Mind you, this election petition is not what has come to reveal to Ghanaians ‘the patriotic’ Akufo-Addo, for he has always been that man who lives and demonstrates the love for this country burning in him. It was never going to be him setting this country on the path of war and destruction merely because he contested an election in which he knew he won but was never declared the winner. No, that’s not Akufo-Addo. At the time, when his political opponents stretched and tried so hard as they did to characterize him as a warmonger and violent tribalistic person, he demonstrated his disdain for violence and love for the rule of law by opting for the courts to arbitrate on his grievances instead of the bush like many opposition leaders turned into warlords scattered across our borders.

It is a person with such demonstrable patriotism that this country needs at this moment. Not selfish individuals who only know how to better their personal lot at the expense of Ghanaians.

Some have also said that Akufo-Addo is indeed very popular but his popularity is limited to within NPP circles. For those who profess such thoughts, do they really mean it and want us to believe such? That the over five million who the EC said voted for Akufo-Addo are all NPP supporters. I dare say, NO. That cannot be true. And that Akufo –Addo struggles to obtain 50% of the national votes while winning in only 2 regions. For these scholars who are skeptical because the NPP in the last two elections have won in only two regions, I ask, what if the NPP is able to obtain more than 50% of the national votes but succeeds to win in only one region out of the ten, will it mean anything less of a win? Similarly, it is possible to win in nine regions and still lose the elections. A win is a win just as a loss is a loss irrespective of the number of regions that are factored. This country does not operate a system where the more regions a party or candidate wins, then he is determined to have won the election. It’s still a one man, one vote principle, so please stop throwing dust into our eyes!

I guess Akufo-Addo was so unpopular and was hence rejected by the electorate and that’s why he was able to obtain more votes than all the NPP parliamentarians put together. And perhaps, he was again so unpopular such that it affected the party’s fortunes in parliament. Can you imagine such logic? The issues that beg to be addressed are rather how President Mahama obtained about half a million more votes than all NDC parliamentarians put together. In my estimation, these are some of the things which failure to address now would mar the chances of any NPP presidential candidate for the 2016 elections. Thus if the party fails to appropriately address itself to the realities of the machinations in our elections, it should forget about winning any election. Not Akufo-Addo, Bawumia, Frimpong Boateng nor Alan Cash will make any difference.

Personally I would wish that the NPP delegates acclaimed Akufo-Addo as the next leader and save their resources to be expended on another internal contest for the real deal – National Elections. But who am I to even suggest anything? I am an insignificant observer in lower town, Axim without a locus though very much on the ground with enough information and experience to tell that Akufo-Addo will wallop anybody who contests him in the NPP primaries. They will tell me my suggestion is undemocratic.

And I ask them, is it democratic merely because there are people contesting each other or because the will of the people is allowed to prevail? This is not a time to experiment with any fresh candidate unless the party believes that it has already lost the 2016 elections and hence is only seeking to market a candidate towards 2020 elections. Otherwise, the brand and product – Akufo-Addo has only become even better than it ever was. Ghanaians who fell for the lies that he was a man of violence can attest otherwise. Ghanaians have also come to understand that PR and propaganda fuelled by state resources may secure electoral victory for anyone but certainly not leadership and good governance for the people.

Acka-Nyanzu Blay-Miezah

Axim, Evalue-Gwira

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