Caution to Nana - numbers never lie

Wed, 2 Apr 2014 Source: Sarfo, Collins

Nana Addo-Dankwa Akuffo Addo’s recent declaration of intent to contest for the flag-bearership [his 4th attempt?] of the NPP for the 2016 Presidential Election should come as no surprise to connoisseurs and junkies of Ghanaian politics. After the Supreme Court ruling late last year, disposing off Nana and the NPP’S contention of the 2012 presidential elections, Nana Addo rightfully took a political sabbatical. In his own words he did this to seek the face of God concerning his political future.

There were those who nurtured the hope that, after his magnanimous display of political maturity after the Supreme Court ruling, Nana would have retired from active politics at the very top of his game. But in his declaration speech, masterfully crafted, he said he could not ignore the pleas of his supporters, the present administration’s ineptitude sending the nation into a tailspin, the encouragement of his family and last but not the least couldn’t ignore listening to “himself”. What I find intriguing is that he barely mentioned wrestling with his creator for direction. Maybe that wrestle was solved through the voices that he heard - “Vox Populi Vox Dei”. The voice of the People for Nana became the voice of God.

Nana in the course of his long and illustrious political career has had the privilege of serving his country in many influential capacities. He has also made many mistakes which he alluded to in his speech – who has not? In his quest for the coveted position of the presidency, he seems to have struggled to get over the hump. Let’s take a look at some interesting figures both for Nana and the NPP in that quest and draw some conclusions:

In 1998 Nana Addo contested unsuccessfully for the flag-bearer against the eventual winner, ex-President Kuffuor who went on to win the first round of the 2000 Presidential voting by securing 48.17%. The late President John Atta Mills secured 44.54%. In the round-off, Kuffour dislodged the NDC, after eight years in power not counting the 10yrs of the {P}NDC, securing 56.9% with Atta Mills losing ground to 43.10%. The bump for Kuffour can only be explained by the ‘smaller’ parties, who surprisingly did quite well in the first round, voting with the NPP in the round-off. In the {2002} NPP primaries, Kuffuor went unopposed. He went on as the incumbent to beat John Atta Mills in the presidential election in a ‘one-touch’ securing 52.45% of the votes. John Atta Mills secured 44.54%. What is Interesting and to serve as a caution to the NPP is that even for their most popular candidate in recent times with all he accomplished in a relatively short time, Kuffour only could manage close to 53%. The explanation could be that the NPP got apathetic and did not show up for the elections for whatever reason. The NDC demonstrated that they could rely on a solid voting block of 44%.

In the (2006) NPP primaries leading to the 2008 Presidential elections, the NPP fielded 15 candidates. Nana Addo the leader in that primary was unable to secure 50%. His closest competitor Alan Kyerematen averted a potentially nasty round-off deferring, in victory not in defeat as he famously asserted in his concession speech, to his ‘big-brother’ and for the unity of the party. Nana Addo in the ensuing presidential election went on to secure 49.13% with the old war-horse John Atta Mills securing 47.92%. With the proverbial 50.1% marker eluding both, they squared off again in a round off. Nana only needed .87%+1 vote to win the presidency but he could only muster .64%. Surprisingly John Atta Mills squeezed through to win with 50.23%. The close to 3% bump for John Atta Mills could be explained by his supporters not taking any chances in the round-off and with some help from the small parties who didn’t do that well compared to the 2000 elections. For Nana and the NPP again, apathy and infighting after that dogged primaries were influential in their loss.

In the 2010 NPP primaries leading to the 2012 presidential elections, Nana Addo convincingly won the primaries. For the NPP faithful it was assumed that the twin monster heads of apathy and disunity, that characterized the previous primaries, had been beheaded. Unfortunately the monster reared up its ugly heads again. As fate would have it, John Atta Mills succumbed to death before the election. His vice John Mahama was quickly crowned to lead the NDC. Surprisingly he pulled a one-touch victory securing 50.70% with Nana Addo once again securing 47.74%. The ensuing legal drama ended with the Supreme Court validating the election results.

SILVER LINNING There is a silver lining in all these statistics for Nana Addo in his quest to become the President of Ghana and the NPP to wrestle power from the NDC.

1] Nana Addo’s popularity in the NPP is over-estimated. Only once in his political sojourns has he garnered more than 50% of the votes and this was in the 2010 primaries “fought” in a beleaguered party environment. In the 2008 presidential elections, his most opportune time, he was unable to sway the ‘floating voters to reach the 50%+1 vote.

2] The NPP, as has been argued by many brilliant political minds, cannot expect to wrestle power from the NDC with a mere campaign slogan of ‘times are hard’. Kuffour the incumbent with a great track record in his second term only secured close to 53%. The bloc of NDC voters was not going to reward him with any of their votes. The point here is that in the recent past the voting blocs of the two major parties have not been influenced that much by micro and macro-economics. The two parties have bases which are pretty secured.

How Can Nana and the NPP for that matter get over the hump?

1] Nana has to start articulating clearly how he intends to get this nation out of the mess it finds itself in. Hoping that because ‘things are bad’ now, the country is waiting for a savior won’t cut it. In the field of politics a day can be treacherous and the reality is that President Mahama can turn around the ship before 2016 .The NPP faithful doubts that though.

2] Discourage the NPP hierarchy from doing his bidding almost to the point of presiding over his coronation. The posturing of the party hierarchy has become so hilarious belittling the intelligence of the delegates for the Party’s upcoming Convention. The immaturity of some of the hierarchy will be looked upon with disdain in those countries who have nailed democratic elections down to a science.

3] Not to underestimate the “bitter” feelings of the supporters of his opponents in the flagbearership duel who after an acrimonious competition may not be able to switch over to his side that easily if he were to win the upcoming primaries. That calls for Nana and the party hierarchy to treat with respect all potential competitors. It may not hurt to call for a “PARTY SUMMIT” *Statistics gathered from Wikipedia.com

Columnist: Sarfo, Collins