Don't Allow Akufo-Addo to 'Fool' you for the Third Time

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 Source: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

In partisan politics, the core objective of every flag-bearer is to win political political power, but not to consign the party into opposition. Leveling blames on the Electoral Commission (EC), the Supreme Court (SC), or other party stalwarts as a result of a Presidential Candidate's inability to win power for his party not once, but thrice on the trot (run- off included) does not call for any debate, but rather a total rejection of the Candidate in the party's primaries.

Unfortunately, it appears the NPP is not ready for power in 2016 due to the actions, inactions, and pronouncements of a section of its members. For instance, for almost one year now, such divisive statement like; "No Nana, No Vote" had not been condemned by Akufo-Addo. But, if indeed, all NPP members accept the fact that the New Patriotic Party is not Nana's Personal Property, then it behoves on every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the party to put a stop to such hero-worshipping in order to put the party on track.

Change is not a respecter of persons, for it is needed when all the props and practices of the past no longer works. It is for this reason that Nana Addo and all NPP members are calling for a change of government in Ghana in 2016. Change is so important in politics that in the year 1996, the NPP delegates did not waste time to change Prof. Albert Adu Boahen as the party's flag-bearer for Election 1996. This was even at the time that the party had written a "Stolen Verdict" to show the whole world that the 1992 elections were rigged. Similarly, the need for change prompted Nana Akufo-Addo to contest J.A. Kufuor for the NPP flag-bearership slot in 1998, when the former blamed Kufuor for not winning power for the NPP in Election 1996. In his determination to oust Kufuor from the flag-bearership position, Nana Addo said; "Any Candidate who is elected the Presidential Candidate of the NPP had already secured 30% of the total valid votes. Failure to garner the remaining 20% plus 1 vote is not anybody's fault, but the Candidate's". Although, the delegates rejected Nana Addo, his quest for change made him contest and beat Aliu Mahama in the 2007 NPP primaries at Legon, when Nana Addo himself knew that Aliu Mahama was the most experienced Candidate at the time, by virtue of him being a Vice President of Ghana for 8 years.

In fact, the concept of change is not peculiar to only individuals. Its impact is also felt among companies, political parties, and governments. It is in the light of this that the NPP saw the need for structural reforms in the party in 2010. Under the auspices of 3 R's - Reflect, Rebuild, and Recapture, the NPP's Electoral College was expanded from 2,300 to 140,000 delegates. Besides, the entire National Executives led by Mac Manu were changed. Surprisingly, Nana Addo who took the NPP from government in 2008 to opposition in 2012 was maintained, though he found it wise to replace his Campaign Manager, Dr. Arthur Kennedy with Boakye Agyarko. Strangely, in spite of the above changes, Nana Addo moved the NPP from Kufuor's six (6) regions to a struggling two (2); reduced Kufuor's popular votes of 52.45% to 49.13% and later to 47.74%, with a vote deficit of 323,663.

Following the consistent NPP's electoral defeats, changes have continued unabated in all the party's internal elections - Polling Station and National levels. Sadly, the man whose picture/photograph has always appeared on the ballot paper, and whose actions have caused us two painful defeats does not want to change himself. Neither do the people who blindly follow him see the imminent political risk Nana Addo's poses to the NPP in Election 2016. For me, if Nana Addo seriously loves the NPP as he always claims, the best that he could do for the party at this crucial time is to call it quits in the party's upcoming Congress in order to pave way for Alan-Bawumia partnership in 2016.

Though, Ghana has come to a standstill due to Mahama's incompetence and corruption, the Ghanaian electorate, especially the floating voter has made it clear on three electoral occasions that, they do not want Nana Akufo-Addo as their president. To them, they would prefer to live in abject poverty to living 'better lifestyles' under Akufo-Addo's presidency. However, the over 5.2m NPP members and sympathisers in Ghana (per the 2012 election) cannot make Nana Addo, the president, meaning that, there is a need for extra votes outside the NPP's core membership to be added unto the party's 5.2m votes to cross the 50% plus one mark.

Akufo-Addo is now calling on the NPP delegates to give him the last chance. Does it therefore make any political sense to present Nana Addo for the third consecutive time in 2016, if I may ask? How does anyone think that Nana Addo, now the oldest opposition leader in Africa, could overturn the 323,663 votes deficit against an incumbent youthful president, who had already beaten Nana Addo using only just three (3) months of campaigning? For me, it is easier to bring the dead back to life than for Nana Addo to beat John Mahama in any presidential election.

Admittedly, Nana Addo could be a potential good president looking at his political background. Unfortunately, he has not gotten what it takes to win presidential elections. One even expected him to put up strategies to win the next elections, but all that he has managed to do is to relax in London for six (6) months after consuming our time at the Supreme Court. No postmortem has been done on the party's two defeats. He surrounds himself with characters like Hon. Ken Ohene Agyepong and Hon. Atta Akyea who continue to make provocative and tribal statements. Nana Addo defends his old age as if Ghanaians would take him serious. He supports violence against the party leadership. Currently, 150 party vehicles cannot be accounted for, not forgetting the 2012 Campaign funds, yet all that we hear is that; "the grassroots are rooting for Nana Addo because he has been loyal to the NPP; Nana would get sympathy votes because he accepted the SC verdict; Mills won on his third attempt so it can happen to Nana". How do these assumptions translate into votes, fellow Kukrudites?

As NPP members, we cannot complain of thirst when we are in the midst of abundant water. The NPP delegates must understand that the party needs political power and not flag-bearer who has become a serial loser. Is Akufo-Addo the only best presidential material in the NPP? The NPP delegates must make sure they select a Candidate who can win the hearts and minds of floating voters. And as a believer of floating votes, this is what Nana Addo said in 1998 at the NPP Congress in Sunyani; "The NPP must elect a leader who has appeal outside the party and could reach out to the larger electorate and that if it fails to do this, power could once again elude it" - DAILY GRAPHIC, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8,1998. Page 11.

The question then is; who among the NPP flag-bearer aspirants stands a better chance to win the needed political power for the NPP and Ghanaians in 2016? From the many capable men and women in the NPP, it is obvious Alan Kyerematen could easily attract these floating votes for the party. This is because, Alan has the charisma, physique, competence, and experience to beat Mahama hands down. It is therefore imperative for the NPP to be dynamic and transformational to move away from the selection of just a mere flag-bearer to the selection of a winnable candidate. This calls for change in flag-bearership since Nana Addo himself believes in change.

In sharing his views on change a few years back, this is what Nana Addo said at the Sunyani NPP Congress; "There has been no instance in the history of democratic politics where a leader who fails to win power at first attempt succeeds when presented the second time in succession". Given the above quote, and coupled with the unique opportunities given to Nana Addo without any success since 2008, I personally appeal to every single NPP delegate to vote for Alan Kyerematen to lead the NPP into victory in 2016. Kindly, join GAKE in order to complete the last change.

God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku