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Opinions of Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

Stop Worshipping Akufo-Addo as "Opposition President"

For quite a long time, it seems to me that most supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have no clue about the real issue at stake. This is because, most of them have been blinded by sycophancy and bootlicking to the extent that they see Nana Akufo-Addo as the epitome of the NPP. Most of them refuse to learn new political ideas and they refuse to be guided by past bitter electoral experiences. If you call for a change of Nana Addo as the next NPP flag-bearer, they want to burry you alive. Unfortunately, they are unable to give you any tangible reasons as to why Nana Addo should be given a third time chance in spite of his abysmal electoral performances since 2008. Is there any legacy Akufo-Addo left behind as an MP for 12 years, and Cabinet Minister for 7 years to suggest that he is the 'most intelligent person' to lead the NPP?

All that these people think is that, John Mahama has under-performed as president so definitely, Election 2016 is a foregone victory for the NPP. They have even forgotten that President Mahama is half-way through his 4-year term of office, and that, the man can spend billions of Ghana cedis in the Election year. They have not studied the voter psychology in Ghana to ascertain that, Ghanaians don't vote based on the economic performance of an incumbent government. Most NPP members have not taken time to find out why, in spite of the remarkable achievements of the erstwhile NPP government, Ghanaians still voted against the NPP under Nana Addo in 2008.

They have not taken time to find out why in spite of the Woyomism, dubious judgement debts payments, provocative actions of 'babies with sharp teeth', failed promises, for example, reducing fuel prices drastically, one time premium for NHIS, Mahama beat Akufo-Addo by 323,663 valid votes in Election 2012 using only three months of campaigning. They have not taken time to find out why Akufo-Addo is the only Presidential Candidate in the NPP to have lost to two different opposing candidates (Mills & Mahama) within a spate of five (5) years; they have not observed why Akufo-Akufo has not been able to win massively in his own home region - Eastern, and Greater Accra, where he was born and has lived all his years; They have not taken time to find out why Akufo-Addo cannot win presidential elections in spite of all the changes that occurred in the NPP leadership as well as the Campaign Team. Talk to them, and all that they say is that, Nana has suffered for the party; Nana was cheated in 2012; Mills won on his third attempt; Ghanaians change governments every 8 years etc. How do we go into crucial elections with such assumptions? Probably, if the immediate past NPP leadership had set up an independent body to find out the causes of Akufo-Addo's defeats in both 2008 and 2012, it could have changed their mindset.

Fellow Kukrudites, the issue before the NPP is not about insults on some of us who have dissenting views on Akufo-Addo's candidature. It is also not about the crowd - MPs, Chairmen etc that troop to Nana Addo's residence and worship him as the "Opposition President". The crowd, as we all know, is made up of NPP members, and therefore the value remains the same. The NPP has about 5.2m supporters using the 2012 elections as a guide. Unfortunately, this huge number is not enough to give us a president of our choice, and this has been proven by the three times rejection of Akufo-Addo - 2008 first round, 2008 second round, and 2012 one touch at the polls. In fact, if even Akufo-Addo's popular votes have been increasing from say: 49.13% to 49. 91%, then one could say that there is hope in 2016, and that some of us wouldn't be troubled by their stance.

But, how could these same people explain to us that the most popular, tried and tested, marketed, experienced, aged, and incorruptible politician of our time, for strange reasons, has had his votes depreciating from 49.13% in 2008, to 47.74% in 2012? The NPP's six (6) winnable regions - Ashanti, Central, Brong-Ahafo, Eastern, Western, and Greater Accra have reduced to one and a half (Ashanti and half Eastern). It is thus obvious that having the same crowd, same message, same running-mate, and of course same Akufo-Addo will never ever produce different results, come 2016.

I hope this is not what the NPP or Ghanaians want. The NPP needs extra votes beyond its core membership. It is here that the delegates need to find out which of the seven (7) contestants stands a better chance to give the party the needed victory in 2016.

• The delegates therefore need to choose a candidate who can attract votes from the floating voters. In this sense, the delegates should fish out what the floating voters usually look out for. These include humility, vision, charisma, character, competence, likeability, calmness, posture etc. • They should choose a candidate who can garner some votes from the NDC and other opposing parties. • They should choose a candidate who can win at least, one additional region for the NPP. • They should choose a candidate who can minimize the number of rejected ballot papers in the NPP strongholds. • They should choose a candidate who will relate well with the Electoral Commission (EC), but not be at loggerheads with it, because the EC is the election referee. • A candidate, who is without so many controversies so that the party can focus and sell its campaign message. • A candidate, whose utterances and those surrounding him would bring unity in the party and the country. • A candidate, who can resource the party's Polling Agents well so that they can protect the ballot papers. • A candidate, who has a clear vision for the NPP and Ghana within the next decade. • A candidate, who acts as a bridge between the young and the old, that is, neither a young-man nor old man. • A candidate, who has visible achievements in both private and and public life. • The country now needs an innovator, business developer, human resource developer, international diplomat, lawyer cum economist, who can create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth.

It is here that Hon. Alan Kyerematen, the former US Ambassador, Trade, Industry, and PSI, comes in. He is the best candidate to win power for the NPP. Let's shelve our emotions and give him the chance. I, Katakyie, have the strongest conviction that, Alan will not disappoint you.

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

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

"Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success"