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Opinions of Thursday, 16 January 2014

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

My Recommendations for Nana Akufo-Addo for 'Victory 2016'

As known to all Ghanaians, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who stood on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in both 2008 and 2012 general elections, has lost to two different opposing candidates. In fact, what was more pathetic was his defeat to John Mahama, who used only four (4) months of campaigning to beat him, not through a run-off, but 'one touch'. I am sure my NPP members would argue that the election was rigged by Afari Gyan and confirmed by Atuguba. Let me say that for the purpose of this write-up, I am indifferent to such assertion. Again, John Mahama used only four (4) months of campaigning, because he became the leader of the NDC in August 2012.

Apart from the revelations above, Nana Addo has not been able to win just one Akan region to beef up his chances of becoming president. Instead, he has been struggling to maintain the two regions (Ashanti and Eastern) sympathetic to the NPP. Indeed, it has been alleged that, the last two national elections have been rigged for the NDC, yet the NPP, in spite of the enormity of intellectuals and courageous men, has not been able to find antidote to this electoral thievery. For instance, whilst special mobile phones and numbers were said to have been given to each polling agent to text polling station results to National Headquarters before the Electoral Commission (EC), the NPP is yet to tell us the difference between the figures given by its own polling agents and that of the EC. Again, whilst the NPP leadership seemed to object to the creation of new constituencies prior to the 2012 general elections, our own NPP members, who desired to represent their constituents in those areas thwarted the efforts of the party leadership. For instance, 50 out of the 107 NPP MPs, presented themselves for voting in Parliament on the very day of voting to accept the EC's proposal. Why and how?

Also, the challenges of the ongoing NPP elections give credence to the fact that, the Party is the cause of its own defeats. The NPP is the cause of its own defeats, because there are several aggrieved persons in the party, who apart from showing apathy during campaigns, do not even bother to vote for Nana Addo. Some of these people have been politically or financially maltreated. Others have sat back because their efforts have not been recognised by the local, constituency, regional, or the national leadership, let alone rewarded. They do not see why they should die for the NPP, when they think they would be better- off under NDC. To most youth, their chances are brighter in NDC than NPP. The NPP is gradually losing its democratic tenets by its attitude to dissenting views within the party. People perceived to be anti-Nana are being 'crucified'. The Arthur Ks, Brobbeys, Alans, Aprakus, and even Kufuors are being treated like outsiders. If not, how could some people doubt my commitment to Nana Addo's, and for that matter, NPP's cause? But, that is the beauty of democracy; everyone has opinion.

It was the considered opinion that the NPP's Electoral College would help eliminate the influence of money in selecting a flagbearer, but this has not been the case. Rather, the Electoral College has become the breeding ground for apathy in the NPP. How could leaders seeking re-election be asked to conduct elections at various levels? For instance, at the polling station level, forms are distributed by either the Constituency organiser or the Secretary. All the Secretary needs to do to retain his position is to give 5 forms to a Polling Station Chairman, who is sympathetic to his cause. The Chairman in turn would distribute the remaining 4 forms to those he can work with. In some constituencies, the MP is the distributor of these forms, all because he wants to be re-elected to stand on NPP ticket. How then do you expect the loosing candidates to campaign and vote for you? The numerous court cases that have affected the NPP's ongoing internal elections are clear examples of what I am drumming home about.

Any observer could see that the aim of the NPP National Leadership is simple. They want to perpetuate themselves in power with the view to making Akufo-Addo, the flagbearer for the 3rd consecutive time. Yes, Nana Addo is the obvious choice, not because the over four (4) million NPP followers see him as the best candidate, but because of the discriminatory nature of the Electoral College. Until an independent body is mandated to conduct NPP's internal elections, I, Katakyie, will never see it as democratic and genuine. Simply put, it is democratically undemocratic.

At the moment, there is nothing we can do to change the tide, since Election 2016 is just around the corner. We cannot also afford to be in opposition for the third time running. Therefore, since it is obvious that Nana Addo will be taking the NPP to the 2016 polls, other things equal, I intend to make the following recommendations as a true patriot.

Nana Addo should; • As a matter of urgency, reach out to Alan Cash to find out what he can do to help him win elections. Nobody is repository of electoral knowledge.

• Make Alan Kyerematen either his running-mate or Campaign Manager, for Alan, whose mother is from Central Region, and father from Ashanti Region can deliver us the needed votes.

• Apologise to all the aggrieved party members who are victims of the fraudulent electoral college, and assign them different roles.

• Overhaul 80% of his personal advisors, especially the 'Akyem Mafias', who carry themselves as if the party is theirs. Their attitude put several people off.

.• Incorporate some of his perceived enemies into his Campaign Team. Remember, every vote counts.

• Reach out to the Aprakus, Brobbeys, Arthur Ks etc since they also have families and followers. Nana should follow Kufuor's example after the Sunyani Congress, for Kufuor worked with Nana for Victory. 2000.

• Accept constructive criticisms in good faith and work hard to perfect some of his weaknesses. Remember, Nana Addo is a mortal soul and cannot pass the perfectibility test.

• Refine some of his personal statements/speeches - "All die be die", "Y3n Akanfo" etc. If need be, apologise to those affected. These two statements could have been said in a different way.

.• Seek more views about funding the Free SHS, because he was not convincing enough. Such views should not be limited to only past Education ministers in the NPP gov't. Some of us on the ground can give useful advice.

• Identify himself to the 'ordinary people' as the politicians would say. Such identification should be thorough personal visits, funereal donations, visiting orphanages, handshakes etc.

• Cut down on the number of big promises, and talk about bread and butter issues. Most politicians have failed to deliver on big promises so the electorate put them in the same bracket.

• Find the basic problem of any area he visits, and try to solve some of the problems even in his capacity as opposition leader. Some of these problems include school furniture, roofing sheets, street bulbs, school park, borehole , and a few kilometres of bad road. You don't have to wait till you become president before you act.

• Find a suitable campaign message for each constituency. For instance, in certain areas, solving post-harvest losses or providing farm tools is preferable to free SHS.

• Our Campaign Message in the North should never be Free SHS, because they already enjoy it. We should find out what actually worries them. They might need more school buildings, teachers, better roads, or transport.

• Make himself more accessible to people instead of being shielded by his security apparatus. Nana should be given more room to interact with people because he is not yet president.

• Identify himself with, and sympathise with unions/groups that have fallen out with government. Example, commercial drivers, teachers, nurses etc

• Speak regularly on social and political issues that are dear to the hearts of Ghanaians. Eg. falling standards of education, high school fees, ban on teacher recruitment, post harvest losses, bad roads, lack of good drinking water, power outages etc. What is he going to do differently?

• Choose vibrant communicators from all regions, but not only in Accra to sit on radios. These communicators should be resourced with better information to counter NDC's propaganda, devoid of insults.

• Target the current JHS & SHS students who will turn 18 years in 2016, by making the NPP attractive to them. Our teachers can psyche them.

Note: the NPP needs to either increase its votes in Ashanti Region to 80% or win one Akan Region to win the national elections.

With the incorporation of the above recommendations, coupled with the protection of the ballot from the polling station to the EC's strong room, I cannot see the NPP on the left side if the political divide.

God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri (Free SHS Ambassador) Official blog: ( 0202471070 : 0264931361 : 0547851100