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Opinions of Thursday, 15 November 2012

Columnist: Amoah, Anthony Kwaku

When Voltarians Scramble For NPP Gears

By Anthony Kwaku Amoah

The Daily Guide of Thursday, November 8th, 2012 says, “The Volta Region traditionally supports the ruling NDC, which tags the region as its “World Bank.”

However, “The New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) standard bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s visit to the Ketu North District of the Volta Region, on Tuesday, unearthed a rare display of disaffection for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) as thousands of residents gathered at a rally and shouted for the exit of the ruling party.”

It further reports that the crowd which greeted Nana Addo is about the biggest so far in the Volta Region, adding, “It was unlike previous years when only a handful of party supporters would be seen at such rallies.”

A news item in the Thursday, October 25, 2012 (p.15) edition of Today newspaper headlined, “Akatsi North falls for NPP” reports Mr. Prince Sodoke Amuzu, the Akatsi North candidate, as saying the NDC will lose due to its abysmal performance in government.

Glad to see the hazy wind of tribal politics and attacks gradually giving way to a cool breeze of political tolerance and civility in an environment of multiparty democracy and constitutional rule.

It is unfortunate people try to tag all Voltarians as NDC as the way others also link the NPP to Ashantis. It is true the NPP has not electorally performed well in the Volta Region almost like the NDC in Ashanti.

In 1992, the NDC led by Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings had 446, 365 representing 93.2% of valid votes as against NPP’s Prof Adu Boahene’s 17, 295, equivalent to 3.6%, in the Volta Region. Ashanti Region produced 234, 237 (32.9%) for the NDC while the NPP had 431, 380 (60.5%).

Rawlings of the NDC in 1996 received 690, 421 votes (94.5%) from Volta compared to 34, 538 (4.7%) of NPP’s John Agyekum Kufuor. Ashanti Region gave the NPP 827, 804 (43.8%) and the NDC 412, 474 (32.8%).

In 2000, John Kufuor won the national election over NDC’s Prof John Evans Atta Mills in a runoff. For round one, Volta Region ascribed 49, 788 (equivalent to 8.5%) to the NPP and 505, 814, translated into 88.2%, to the NDC while Ashanti honored the NPP with 970, 124 (75.1%) compared to NDC’s 278, 387 (21.8%). At the runoff, J.A Kufuor won commandingly with 57.4% over J.E.A Mills’ 42.6%. The Volta Region just gave 67, 970 (10.8%) to Kufuor and as high as 560, 929, valued at 89.2%, to the defeated NDC’s Mills. In Ashanti, Mills recorded 19.5% as against Kufuor’s 80.5%. In 2004, it was a one-touch victory for J.A Kufuor, who scored 52.45% over the 44.64% of J.E.A Mills with Volta adding only 14.26% to that victory as against Mills’ 83.83%. Surprisingly, however, Joseph Kwaku Nayan, in 2004, managed to win the new Nkwanta North seat for the NPP with 30.0% as Muftawu Iddrisu of the NDC bagged just 26.3%.

In 2008, there was also a runoff. In round one, NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo raised just 99, 584 votes (14.98%) in Volta to add to his national stock of 49.13% with J.E.A Mills’ 551, 046, equated to 82.88%, to his stock of 49.77%.

The second round had Ashanti donating 499,749 (25.01%) to the NDC and 1, 438, 820 (74.99%) to the NPP as Volta again disappointed the NPP with 102, 173 (13.94%) and boosted the NDC with 630, 899 (86.06%) votes.

Mr. J.K. Nayan maintained the Nkwanta North seat for the NPP with 9, 426 (58.1%) further pushing the NDC to the periphery of power this time with Dr Joseph Kwabena Manboah-Rockson as the party’s candidate, who went home with some paltry 3, 241 votes (20.0%).

Volta Region has demonstrated great loyalty to the NDC but it appears the expected dividends have still not been received. There are still problems with job creation and employment, education, roads, agriculture, markets and health. Why are Voltarians now chasing NPP paraphernalia here and there? Is it a sign of growing love for the party because the NDC has disappointed them? DCEs, MPs and ministers of state from the region must be made to answer these queries. Most of them have lost touch with their people and have performed woefully.

Until now, many Voltarians would not want to identify with the NPP; only a few supporters were seen with NPP T-shirts, bags, key holders, caps, and head gears for easy identification.

Nana Addo’s agriculture lecture to students of Ho Polytechnic on Tuesday, October 30 was very inspiring and patronized.

The milling crowd which enveloped Nana as he moved out of Torgbui Afede’s palace through the Ho principal streets to the polytechnic was just unprecedented. I am aware political crowds can sometimes be deceptive. The belief, however, is that with focused campaigns, the NPP can perform better, especially with its free SHS message.