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Opinions Thu, 10 Sep 2015

NPP must stay focused like their leader

The fact remains incontestable in our country, and of course the world over, that elections are won at the polling stations. This point was copiously stressed during the 2012 Presidential Election Petition trial by the Supreme Court, the nation's apex court.

What this means is that every political party that wants to win an election must concentrate more of its attention and resources on campaigning at the polling stations. After all, that is where the voters are located! The obvious message here is that members of the party at that level must be well mobilized, energized and united for them to focus on the task they have to work to ensure victory for their party.

There is no modicum of doubt about the reality that the overwhelming majority of members of the New Patriotic Party are unvaryingly united behind their Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in their determination to re-capture power from President John Dramani Mahama and his National Democratic Congress, to rescue the nation from the current state of hopelessness.

Having secured over 90 per cent endorsement to become the party's 2016 presidential candidate, and with the prevailing unity at the grassroots, the NPP cannot, in the right sense of the word, be described as a party that is divided.

The disagreements among some national executives in relation to how the party's business should be conducted should not be seen by the grassroots members as an encumbrance to their determination to work hard to secure victory for the party in the 2016 general elections.

In fact, the National Democratic Congress has gone through worse periods than what the NPP is going through currently. A national chairman of the party, together with a national women's organizer and a deputy general secretary, once left the fold to form a new party, but the NDC survived. Wife of the Founder of the NDC, after making history as the first person to contest a sitting president in a party presidential nomination, left and formed her own party, but the NDC prevailed and won the election that was at stake.

Like many well-meaning Ghanaians, especially members of the NPP, we at the New Statesman do not endorse the current happenings among some top national officers of the main opposition party in the country. It certainly does not give a good picture about the party. This is a fact no one can deny!

But we believe what is going on at the national level should not be allowed to take away the focus from the work that should go on at the regional, constituency and polling station levels that have the major role to play in securing victory for the party in the 2016 general elections.

We believe, in this regard, that it will do the party members a world of good to listen to the advice from their presidential candidate to end the renewed media war over internal party matters, especially at the national level.

We find it problematic to take the claims that some national executives are working against the presidential ambition of Nana Akufo-Addo. After all, all the current officers came into office with one pledge: to secure power for the NPP in the 2016 elections.

And this is even where we have problem with those who claim others are working against Nana Addo. We had long expected such party members who claim to be working wholeheartedly for Nana Addo's victory to turn down any invitation to be dragged into any battle that has the potential to undermine the party's overall plan to win next year's election.

Nana Akufo-Addo's advice to NPP members, especially those who want to be seen to be 'killing' themselves for him, is simple and straightforward: don't give any attention to those who go on radio to discuss internal party issues.

We agree perfectly with Nana Addo, just as we also agree with those who think members of the NPP must focus on the campaign for change which is going on, instead of focusing on who is who in the party.

In spite of the current happenings in the NPP, Nana Addo has demonstrated that he remains focused on his determination to offer hope to the suffering people of Ghana, as all are seeing in his ongoing "Arise and Build" tour. And it remains the natural obligation of members of the party to present this message to the electorate: to make them know that their trusted leader remains focused on seeking ways to address the bread and butter issues that concern them.

As a tried and tested politician, Nana Addo has shown that he is not distracted by what is going on at the top level of the party. That is why he is on the ground working; and seeking to appreciate better the challenges the masses are going through. That matters more than the seeming fight for supremacy among some national officers of the party.

Now, it is instructive to bring to the fore that Nana Addo has demonstrated with his ongoing tour that he is prepared to work with all party members and not only his loyalists: that is why he has been meeting with former DCEs, former NADMO officers, former MPs and former Ministers, among others.

The fact also cannot be gainsaid that Nana Addo is a sincere person with a good heart for his party and country, and has the ability to provide effective and resource-oriented leadership for the nation. The masses are convinced about this, but they need to be reminded: that should be the focus, instead of reminding them about the seeming tension among some national officers of the NPP.

Nana Addo is determined to ensure that Ghana works again and in the best interest of the suffering masses. That is why he wants all to "Arise and build." Ghana is terribly down, with nothing working for the masses that now live in a state of absolute hopelessness.

As a regular writer in our paper, Leo-Nelson Adzidogah, puts it, Ghanaians are facing the severest form of hardship under the Mahama government, with unbearable utility charges, high fuel prices, lack of jobs for the youth, epileptic power supply, high school fees, difficult access to health care, high taxes, high transport fares, high prices for goods and services, among others.

Nana Addo is on a divine mission to rescue Ghanaians from this situation. And we are happy he remains focused and not distracted by what is happening in his party, as well as all the negative things his opponents, like Deputy Communication Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu, have been 'empowered' by development in the NPP to say about him. Felix Kwakye wants the whole world to believe that Nana Addo is the weakest ever person to lead the NPP, and unfit to lead Ghana, even though he believes Mahama's presidency is the best thing ever to have happened to the country.

Here, it is important to remind NPP members, and for that matter all Ghanaians, that President Buhari of Nigeria even faced a bigger challenge during the electioneering campaign that brought him into office. He was thought to be too weak to manage all the factions that made up the APC. Yet, he stayed focused and won that historic election. And 100 days after assuming office in Africa's most populous nation, Nigerians are convinced it was worthwhile supporting him to become their president.

We are convinced a similar fate awaits Ghana and Nana Addo. And that is why we are enjoining all NPP members to take his caution not to respond to those who want to discuss internal party matters in the media. The focus should be on the campaign for change that is fast gaining unusual momentum: that is a divine assignment Nana Addo and the NPP have embarked upon. And that project must succeed for the sake of our dear nation

Columnist: New Statesman