One of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential aspirants, Mr Boakye K. Agyarko, has stated that the NPP presidential race was not about popularity but about ideas that would solve the nation's problems.
“We are going to explain to the delegates how we will run the country. Because being around for so long has its own disadvantages,” Mr Agyarko, who had domiciled in the US for nearly two decades, said and referred to an Akan adage whose equivalence in English may be “familiarity breeds contempt”.
At a press conference in Accra, Mr Agyarko answered questions bothering on whether he would be able to withstand the already known faces in the NPP.
He cited Dr J.B. Danquah who was well known in Ghanaian politics but was defeated by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who was relatively unknown on the political scene.
He also gave the example of the 1979 elections when Dr Hilla Liman, also not very popular on the then Ghanaian political scene, was able to win the presidency, despite the popularity of Mr Victor Owusu, and other such people.
Addressing the press conference, Mr Agyarko said Ghana under J.A. Kufuor's presidency had achieved successes in stabilising the economy, which were necessary ingredients that would facilitate easy planning of investments and other economic activities.
He stated that while it was true that the nation had emerged from its dark days, “there is still the vast majority of our people who subsists at the grinding edge of poverty and are in constant worry over their families and their future.”
According to him, while local industries were grinding to a halt, shops in the country were “filled with not less than 80 per cent cheap imports” and added that “many homes and families in Ghana now desperately depend upon the periodic financial remittances from relatives abroad to sustain a life worth living.”
He stated that the prevalence of these problems required that Ghanaians moved from the stabilisation phase of the economy into a balanced growth orientation and that all efforts must be directed at satisfying the basic needs of the people, which included “food on the table, clothes on their bodies and roof over their heads.”
On the issue of international assistance, he charged that in as much as his government would not lose sight of the need for foreign support to accelerate the means of fulfilling its socio-economic objectives, “we must also remember that we have lived long enough on the charity and generosity of other nations. But as a nation, we must not found our economic life on the indulgence and munificence of even our closest friends.”
He said he had joined the race to restore the hope of Ghanaians and to show that Ghanaians had the power to overcome the heritage of debt, corruption, inefficiency and poverty.
“This power becomes demonstrable by the wise and responsible choices to establish a government that will not abuse power, but, rather by honest and selfless service, enlarge the freedoms and help improve the condition of Ghanaians for fuller happier lives.
Mr Agyarko said notwithstanding the fact that the nation had inherited some intractable problems and commitments that had had an effect on it, Ghanaians must not act simply in accordance with prevailing political consensus.
“We must not confine our actions to the amelioration of the present circumstances because in riding with the trend, we make ourselves irrelevant,” he said and suggested that Ghanaians should be bold and prepared to grapple with their circumstances, “to wrench politics and our circumstances from the tight fist of the past, in order to reshape our reality”.
Story by Donald Ato Dapatem