Central and Western Regions to be the 2008 elections battle ground again?

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 Source: Jeffrey, Peter Nee

Can Atta Mills carry his 2 home regions? (I)

Like the 2004 elections, the 2008 election outcome would be decided again in the Western and Central regions. As someone who has close connection to the two regions, (Western Region is this writer’s home region and mother hails from Central Region) this writer and his organisation intend to poll the citizens of the two regions every 3 months until the Election Day to ascertain which of the 2 presidential candidates is on course to win the presidency.

The 2 regions were the only regions that voted on the real issues confronting the country at the last elections and not on party or tribal lines as was the case elsewhere.

Thus with the selection of Professor Atta Mills (who comes from the Central Region) as the NDC flag bearer, the NPP need to come up with someone who can challenge him as Kufuor did in 2004. Only 3 candidates stand realistic chance of challenging Prof. Mills in his home turf, namely Papa Owusu Ankomah( Western Region), Dr Ebo Kobina Kennedy and Alan Kyeremanten (both from Central Region). The NPP may be deluding their supporters if they think anyone outside the region can beat Professor Mills this time round in his back yard. Unfortunately Central and Western Regions will become the real battle grounds for the presidential elections once again. And this time the citizens of the 2 regions are much wiser. They were abused, vilified and were criticised for only thinking about their stomach because they were promised “Milk and Honey” what an insult!!!……well not this time round.

Papa Owusu Ankomah is from this writer’s hometown of Sekondi, in the Western Region of Ghana, and is the most promising candidate of the 12 or so people who have declared to contest the NPP flag bearer ship. Although he is not the front runner, he is one of the youthful and talented ministers in Kufuor’s administration. Papa’s intellect, dedication to hard work and his efforts to help the poor in his home region cannot be question.

Before Papa Owusu Ankomah became an MP for his home town of Sekondi in 1997, he was already a hero among his people. Papa Owusu Ankomah became the voice of the voiceless and friend of the poor. He work tirelessly for his constituents, especially the youth, offering free legal aid (very rare in Africa) to many and raising funds to support the poor or send their children to school. Papa Owusu became the pillar of his people. Papa was born to serve and he serves with humility.

From 1981 until he entered government in 2000, Papa Owusu Ankomah undertook series of assignments in his home region, all in the service of his compatriots. Papa Owusu is well liked by all, including his opponents (including his predecessor and friend late Kofi Sam) in his home region. Almost everyone in his home region calls him Papa Owusu.

What is Papa Owusu’s vision for the country? Education, health, job creation and poverty eradication are some of the issues that drove Papa Owusu into national politics. Although others might argue that he has been part of this administration for 8 years and hence should account what he has been able to achieve to date. However people must know that there is difference between implementing policies that have an imprint of the President all over and implementing policies that you take ownership for. Papa Owusu will draw a 5 year Development Plan that to take the country to the take off phase.

The President was among the first to notice Papa Owusu’s immerse talent when the NPP were still in opposition. Thus, it was not a surprise when the President brought Papa Owusu into the cabinet earlier than anticipated, to help with the reconstruction of the country. Throughout his ministerial career, Papa Owusu performance has been exemplary. He is the most promoted minister in this NPP administration and one of the most talented.

If selected as flag bearer for the NPP, commentators might regard this as a shock selection, but those of us who have known Papa Owusu Ankomah for number of years knows that he was someone who was born to serve his country. His passion to see his compatriots acquire skills and knowledge to help the country move forward is phenomenon. However the decision to select Papa Owusu Ankomah firmly lies in the hands of Nana Ohene Ntow and his delegates. They and they alone have the power to elect who to face Professor Atta Mills in 2008 Ghana’s Presidential elections.

Peter Jeffrey MSc BSc (Hons)London.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Jeffrey, Peter Nee

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