Feature Article of Thursday, 1 November 2012

Columnist: Daily Post

Akufo Addo Bombs IEA Debate

If NPP flag-bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo’s handlers will be sincere to him, then the only truth they can tell him about yesterday’s Presidential debate organized by the IEA in Tamale is that he bombed it.

‘Bomb’ is the term used by students to show an abysmal performance in a text or an examination and that was Akufo-Addo’s lot yesterday evening as he allowed President Mahama to turn him into a punching bag as Azumah Nelson did Australian braggart, Jeff Fenech in the second fight in Sidney, Australia, some years ago.

Probably realizing that he has bombed, the NPP flag-bearer could be heard towards the end of the programme whining about how inadequate the time allotted to all the Presidential Candidates was.

Indeed, Akufo-Addo was his own worst enemy for the night as he came into the debate with a negative strategy that saw him concentrating his efforts on denigrating the NDC government rather than selling his vision to Ghanaians.

For instance when he was asked to state the three ways he would improve health care in the country, he dwelt mainly on the NHIS, how badly he thinks the NDC has managed the scheme and how he will improve it. When the time for answering that question elapsed, the co-host of the programme, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah of JOY FM fame reminded him that he had stated only one out of the three reasons he had been asked to state.

On how effective he would make the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) if he was to become President, Akufo- Addo simply made a mess of his answer. Instead of stating how he will ensure that he will not make it partisan so that successive governments can build on it, he said he will simply ensure that the NPP’s manifesto becomes the National development plan and to ensure that the NDPC is effective, it will be headed by his Vice-President.

This compelled President Mahama to say that Akufo-Addo is confused to which the NPP flag-bearer tried to escape by saying he was not confuse; rather, it is the 1992 constitution that created the confusion.

Akufo-Addo also got pummeled by the President who wondered why the NPP flag-bearer has chosen to be headstrong by persistently brandishing his fake figures about the NHIS whereas the NHIA continues to tell him that his figures were wrong.

The ‘icing on the cake’ in the debate was when Akufo-Addo claimed that each of the students sent to Cuba to be trained as doctors will cost the Ghanaian tax payer GH ¢105,000. President Mahama exposed the NPP flag-bearer when he told him that the cost to Ghana is $5,000 per student and not the figure he is brandishing.

Caught off guard, the lame excuse the NPP flag-bearer could give to his cooked figures is that it is all over on the internet. He left Ghanaians wondering how he, who wants to become President, can take figures on the internet as the Holy Grail instead of first verifying them.

It was a nightmare of an evening for Akufo-Addo but the NPP’s spin doctors can be trusted to start shouting themselves hoarse that he performed par excellence. Like the King that was convinced that he was wearing invincible clothes when in truth he was naked as he paraded through town, Akufo-Addo’s handler’s are definitely not going to tell him he bombed the night. But, he did!