“We acknowledge your role in maintaining the stability of nations and hereby stretch out our hands of comradeship as we seek your support in our quest for political power to change Ghana,” was what Dr. Edward Nasigri Mahama churned out when he led a high-powered delegation of party executive to the Nima offices of DAILY GUIDE on Monday.
They were received by Mrs Gina Blay, Managing Editor; Fortune Alimi, Editor; and other senior officers of the newspaper house.
By the courtesy call, the presidential candidate and leader of the People's National Convention (PNC), Dr. Edward Mahama who has just completed a tour of the Volta and Northern Regions, has unfolded a novelty in political campaigning which could be emulated by others as the race towards Election 2008 gradually gathers steam. He is the second presidential candidate to visit DAILY GUIDE after Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Convention People's Party (CPP).
He told his hosts that his party needs the support of the media, whose role in any effective political campaign, he said, cannot be overlooked.
During the visit, he held an interactive and frank discussion with top management staffers of the paper.
Dr. Mahama pointed out that one of the objectives of his mission was to correct certain misconceptions being held in some quarters about him, and to also clear the air on certain views about his relationship with the media.
A case in point, he explained, is the notion in some quarters that he is a Moslem because of his manner of dressing.
“There is nothing wrong with being a Moslem. In fact some people even address me as an Alhaji, but I do not like pretending. I have always been a Christian. It is only the media which can correct such misconceptions,” he said.
Although there is a mutual need for each other by the media and politicians, he said the latter need the former most.
On what he would do differently in education when he comes to power, he noted that the current elongation of the school year is not the answer to the shortcoming in this sector.
“We need to change the contents of the curricula and an extension.”
Teachers need motivation to give off their best, he said, adding that when he comes to power he would engage teachers in fashioning out the way forward.
He said he faults the current system whose development did not include the teachers who are the persons in the field and whose input is necessary.
The General Secretary of the party, Bernard Mornah, in his contribution, stated that the courtesy call was informed by the recognition of the media's position as an important pillar of democracy.
The PNC, he observed, is of the view that every product must be taken to the market to be sold and since the media is such place for the transaction, “we have brought Dr. Mahama, who is the product, to the media so that they can identify him”.
It is the belief of the party, Mr. Mornah said, that their product, Dr. Mahama is of a superior quality and would therefore be bought by the media which he added has the capacity to do good and bad.
The engagement with the DAILY GUIDE is an opportunity to meet face-to-face as a way of creating a rapprochement for the good of both parties.
The meeting, he stressed, was to have the Dr. Edward Mahama-As-Next-President mission included in the agenda of the DAILY GUIDE.
In her response, the Managing Editor of the paper expressed gratitude for the call, and recalled the humble beginnings of the paper which she said was in a garage.
She assured the presidential candidate that the DAILY GUIDE would support all aspirants to tell their message because after all “we are all Ghanaians seeking the success of our country”.
She had earlier taken the visitors round the premises during which the presidential candidate expressed excitement at what for him is a tremendous progress made by the paper.
The entourage included Abukari Sumani, Policy Analyst; Henry Asante, Chairman of the Publicity Committee and the Deputy National Organiser; Sadik Quarshie, who took a facility trip of the DAILY GUIDE establishment.
By the time they took leave of DAILY GUIDE, the smiles on the faces of both hosts and guests pointed to a mutual satisfaction for an accomplished mission.
By A.R. Gomda