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Opinions of Monday, 24 December 2012

Columnist: Akyeampong, Prince

Over To You, Nana

In the interest of peace and in order to prevent potential mayhem in Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo has to abandon his plans to petition the Supreme Court and concede defeat. This was a relatively peaceful election albeit characterized by voters' frustration in certain areas due to technical difficulties presented by the new biometric system. Fortunately, those who failed to vote on the first day due to these technical challenges were allowed to do so the following day. No elections held anywhere in the world is perfect - even in America, there is nothing like a perfect election. It therefore stands to reason that the incidence of irregularities during elections is more likely to be greater in the younger democracies, like Ghana. Consequently, all aggrieved candidates and parties would be better off calling for more vigilance and extra security measures in subsequent elections in order to reduce these irregularities to very minimal or insignificant levels.

That is what Nana Akufo-Addo needs to do - accept and concede defeat like a man, and initiate a process from now till the 2016 election in collaboration with the other political parties, by which extra security measures can be implemented to reduce the incidence of irregularities and fraud. Frankly, that would be a step in the right direction for Nana. The impending petition to the Supreme Court has tended to heighten tensions in the country - it's as if until this political impasse is resolved, Ghanaians are sitting on a time bomb waiting to explode as soon as the NPP presidential candidate gives the go-ahead. Yes, I know he may be trying to prove a point, but judging from his comments and demeanor, anything short of being declared the winner by the Supreme Court would be unacceptable to him.

Nana Akufo-Addo is treading on dangerous grounds! Regardless of what happens, if indeed the NPP were to go to court, Nana would be facing a perilous NO-WIN situation. The reason is very simple. Now that he has managed, through his post-election speeches and comments to whip up the enthusiasm in his supporters and enhance their level of anticipation, they (his supporters) expect nothing more than victory through the court system to make up for their disappointment in the elections. Perhaps, this is what prompted former NPP bigwig, Dr. Wereko-Brobbey to advise Nana to accept the results and focus on extra vigilance in the next elections. If the NPP should lose this case, Ghanaians should not expect Nana to address his supporters in a joyous mood, full of smiles. Of course, he would be disappointed and angry and that is exactly how his supporters would feel - and who knows what could happen next.

On the flip side, it is not as if NDC supporters are willing to accept a court ruling that is not in their favour. That is what Nana Akufo-Addo is failing to realize. If he petitions the Supreme Court and the elections are declared null and void, NDC supporters could potentially go on rampage. This was a close election and no matter how one sees it, President Mahama did considerably well considering the fact that he had just a relatively short time to campaign - and he was not exactly anybody's choice for President until the untimely death of President Mills. Nana has to realize that it takes two to tango and no matter how huge his political ambitions and ego are, he cannot continue to disregard the people on the other side of the political aisle who voted for John Mahama. They are also Ghanaians and are not happy with Nana's allegations of being shortchanged in the elections through fraud.

The fact that it's within his constitutional right to go to court does not necessarily mean it's the best thing for Nana to do. The end result could compromise the peace Ghanaians are enjoying now and that is why peace-loving Ghanaians have urged the NPP presidential candidate to shelve his political ambitions and throw in the towel if indeed he has the interest of Ghanaians at heart. It takes a real patriot to do that and I hope Nana Akufo-Addo would listen to the many voices that have urged him to concede defeat and forget about going to court. Again, the issue at stake is not whether he has the right to go to court or not, it's about whether it's the best thing to do. I strongly believe that the peaceful co-existence of supporters of the NPP and NDC hinges on Nana's next move. Ghanaians are hoping he makes the right call. Seasons greetings to all Ghanaians and God bless mother Ghana!

Prince Akyeampong, email: