One's instant reaction to the article headlined “2008 – JAK's CHOICE” which appeared in an Accra daily on March 22, 2007, was to doubt the validity of the results of the opinion poll published in the paper, with special reference to Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor's ninth position in the New Patriotic Party's (NPP's) flagbearership race.
Another worry, quite legitimate, is that Dr Addo-Kufuor, the dark horse, was not even acknowledged in the front page pictorial presentation of the aspiring candidates.
What is, however, worth noting is that even some of the candidates who are yet to declare their stand were given prominence.
In fairness to the authors of the publication, I should like to attribute this lapse to inadvertence rather than malice, mischief or a deliberate slight of the Defence Minister.
Again, why was a 10-month-old and obviously obsolete and stale opinion poll results put alongside the current story of the president's thoughts on the choice of an eligible successor?
The connection or relevance is tedious to comprehend. The admonition, 'Put not new wine into old wine skin', is worth heeding, is it not?'
To be sure, a lot has happened within the past 10 months to realign the thinking among delegates. An election is a fluid process which requires a similarly fluid handling. Experts know it and tread with caution.
Ten months ago, Dr Addo-Kufuor's campaign machinery had not quite hit the road and the trenches to tackle the hurdles which lay in the path, the immediate and most pressing being the dynasty issue being bandied around.
At that time the matter had not been subjected to any sober reflection. With a deliberate, planned and persistent effort, and given the discerning and receptive disposition of the delegates, the matter seems to have given way to more serious concerns.
Ten months ago, the role of the marginal voter as a critical factor in the fortunes of the party at the general election did not receive a thought. Now it has. The President has drawn attention to it as a factor which should inform the choice of a flag bearer.
What this means is that perceptions, real or imaginary, such as arrogance, corruption, insensitivity and disrespect for the ordinary man, are all engaging the attention of the kingmakers.
It is President Kufuor's wish that his successor should be a candidate with common sense, experience and appeal to the floating voters. Based on these criteria, it is all too clear that Dr Addo-Kufuor leads the field. The party need not despair over failed PSIs. It can take solace in the glittering, verifiable, heart-warming successes of the Defence Minister.
Encapsulated in Dr Addo-Kufuor's success story are copious personal initiatives, incredible resourcefulness and an amazing drive to enhance the legacy of President Kufuor and the NPP.
A man who knows what to do, how to do it and does it in style has common sense; a man who shows remarkable successes in every sphere of his life and leaves his subordinates and colleagues and the populace at large better than he finds them has experience; a man who consistently steers clear of controversy and the ever-tempting vices of political office is a man with the potential to win the hearts and minds of the broad electorate.
Give the floating voter Dr Addo-Kufuor and, presto, the NPP has a President.
Article By Kwesi Arthur