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Politics of Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Election 2020: Did Akufo-Addo contribute to Nii Lante Bannerman’s defeat?

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on his last campaign trail made a fatal blunder; one which did not only crack ribs but later coincided with a defeat.

He was addressing his patriots on his final campaign lap in the Odododiodoo constituency where his candidate, Nii Lante Bannerman shares similar names with his main contender - Nii Lante Vanderpuye of the National Democratic Congress.

The president, while acclaiming and endorsing his candidate rather announced his opponent’s name.

In a widely circulated video on social media, the president was seen holding the hand of Nii Lante Bannerman and proclaimed; “In Odododiodio, if you are voting for me, then you are also voting for Nii Lante Vanderpuye.”

Realising his grave error, the first reactions of the president was to cover his mouth, move to tap his head which signified regret and retract his words.

But the harm had already been done as a number of his teeming supporters who had gathered deep in the night began making disapproving comments.

Akufo-Addo’s gaffe is a blessing from God – Nii Lante Vanderpuye

The president’s blunder at the time became a blessing in disguise for his candidate’s opponent who in a few hours responded.

In an interview with GhanaWeb, he said the president was rather acting on the dictates of God.

“I am grateful and I thank him for doing what is right and what is good for the people…I have always believed that my God works for me. The president did not make a mistake, God put those words into his mouth. It will be strange for the president not to know the name of the parliamentary candidate because the president is always briefed before he makes his speech. God conflicted him on those words,” he said.

Nii Lante Vanderpuye wins parliamentary seat for third time

As though nature was on his side, the outcome of the elections became an affirmation of what Nii Lante Vanderpuye said.

He won the seat convincingly with 41,446 representing 53.83% while his namesake pooled 34887 which is 45.31%.

And although the figures suggested an improvement for the NPP’s Nii Lante Bannerman, the bottom line for Mr Vanderpuye remained that “the president did not make a mistake, God put those words into his mouth.”



Political History of Odododiodoo constituency from 2004

However, holding Nii Lante Vanderpuye’s words against history, it appeared he only relied on the biases of the constituents towards his party.

As per the electoral records, the Odododiodoo constituency has been a major stronghold for the National Democratic Congress for as long as many political experts would remember.

The party, which is now contesting the outcome of the polls has consistently won both the parliamentary and presidential race since 2004.

In 2004, the NDC presented Samuel Nii Mankattah as their parliamentary candidate in the constituency, against the NPP’s Reginald Ayi Bonte. The latter won with 52.41%.

2008 presented similar results when Mohamed Adjei Sowah of NPP went against Jonathan Tackie Komme of NDC for the parliamentary seat. Again, the latter won with 55.67%.

Nii Lante Vanderpuye came to the fore for NDC in 2012 to contest NPP’s Victor Nii Okaikoi. But it was again a massive victory for the NDC in the constituency as they won the seat with 62.98%.

Mr Bannerman then emerged in 2016 to attempt a haul of the NDC. He tasted defeat as the incumbent at the time, Nii Lante Vanderpuye won again.

The 2020 elections made no difference for the NPP. With this, several political pundits have said the president’s blunder was not a factor at all.



Political atmosphere prior in Odododiodoo prior to election 2020

Prior to the polls, the two main parliamentary candidates Nii Lante Vanderpuye and Nii Lante Bannerman became the main topics of discussion in the media.

In September, the incumbent, NIi Lante Vanderpuye was allegedly attacked by some thugs in the constituency and in October, a walk which was held by members of the two dominant parties in the area to campaign for a peaceful election turned violent.

These disturbing incidents led to the pronouncement of the area as a flashpoint. Indeed, at the aftermath of the polls, some cases of violence were recorded.



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