The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has bemoaned the politics of tribalism and ethnicity being waged by President John Mahama in his campaign in the northern part of the country with barely two weeks to the conduct of the December 7 elections.
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, the lack of a campaign message by President Mahama and the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Mr Mahama’s inability to defend his 8-year record in office, evidenced in the scandals that have rocked the Savannah Acceleration Development Authority (SADA), have forced him to embark on a campaign of tribalism.
The President, while campaigning in Lawra, in the Upper West Region, stated that: “I pity Northerners who are calling for change”, adding the NPP he felt sad for the party’s vice-presidential candidate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia – a northerner – because the NPP will only “use you and dump you.”
These statements, in the view of Nana Akufo-Addo, are very unfortunate and characteristic of a President who has no plans of presiding over a unified country, and is willing to say and do anything to win an election.
The NPP presidential candidate was addressing party supporters at Akim Oda on Saturday, November 19, 2016, on the last day of his tour of the Eastern Region, when he made the comment.
“With the signs clearly spelt on the wall that he (President Mahama) has lost the Presidency, he has begun using divisive language in his campaign. He is in the north telling the people that because he is from the north, the people should vote for him. This is sad,” he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo added that it was “sad and shocking that our President will prefer not to use language that brings people together, but is rather using language that will divide us. I will not come before you and tell you to vote for me because I am from the Eastern Region or from Okyeman. I will never do that. The policies I have outlined over the course of my campaign should be the basis of your voting for me.”
The NPP leader further stressed that “if this country is to progress, we need unity amongst us. We must understand that we are first and foremost Ghanaians, and should not allow people to set tribe against tribe, all in the name of politics and elections.”
What have you done for the North?
Touching on the track record of President Mahama in the north, Nana Akufo-Addo described SADA as one of the saddest developments in the 59-year history of Ghana, especially in the time of a leader of northern origin.
“You (President Mahama) say you are from the north, and are asking people to vote for you on that basis, however, it is under your tenure of office that the people of the north have been further impoverished. The levels of poverty in the north are truly unprecedented. Monies from SADA have been squandered, monies which were to be used to develop the north have vanished,” he said.
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, “when asked to account for the SADA monies, we are told that it was used for the rearing of Guinea Fowls. And when asked where the Guinea Fowls are, we have been told that they have flown to Burkina Faso. Is this your track record as a President from the Northern Region? It is under your tenure of office that Northerners have been robbed.”
The NPP flag bearer added that if the people of the Northern Region were truly dear to the heart of President Mahama, he would have ensured that SADA’s resources were used for their true objectives and not as a conduit for corruption and the theft of public funds.