The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Co-operation and NEPAD, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has reiterated his call to members of the Tertiary Students Confederacy of the NPP to brace themselves to "spearhead the NPP's 2008 victory agenda through effective door-to-door campaign."
According to the Statesman newspaper, Nana Akufo-Addo made the call through a message he sent to the leadership of the University of Ghana TESCON.
It also comes in the wake of the house-to-house campaign embarked upon by the NDC's presidential candidate, John Evans Atta Mills, in his attempt to win the hearts of the electorate.
The recalled that Akufo-Addo, who is MP for Abuakwa South and a leading contender for the NPP's flagbearership, first made the call a year ago when he interacted with executive members of the University of Cape Coast branch of TESCON, after addressing a public lecture organised by the Graduate Students Association of Ghana.
The paper said while he was reluctant to speak directly to the apparent door-to-door canvassing tactic of the NDC leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, however, insisted that there is a world of difference between "a mere Public Relations gimmick, however loud, and an effective, extensive and intensive door-to-door campaign, which is often appropriately done by volunteers or party activists familiar with the terrain."
The paper said “Prof Mills' visits to a few doors and lorry parks in Accra last week caught the positive attention of the press, offering his campaign some much-needed fillip. The Foreign Minister nevertheless, questions the sustainability of a task he believes can be better undertaken by volunteers.”
Nana Akufo-Addo believes in TESCON, the NPP has a corps of good volunteers because it has the numbers, energy and intellect to lead the NPP to launch an effective door-to-door canvassing in 2008 to "disabuse the minds of a public that would otherwise be forced to endure baseless opposition propaganda."
The NPP presidential aspirant has given notice that the NPP will not "allow the 2008 general elections to be dominated by false populism and recycled, discredited propaganda.
He said the cost of every promise made by the NDC will be calculated and the party compelled to tell Ghanaians how they intend to pay for it. "For every criticism of our eight years they'll have to show Ghanaians how they did it in their 19 years in office. It would be irresponsible on our part as an achieving government to allow the NDC to think they can simply bluff their way past the scrutiny of the electorate. The records are there for all to see and every party's manifesto and utterances will be put to the strictest reality test," Nana Akufo-Addo said.
The paper quotes him as advising against confusing the territorial radius and the close personal contacts that can be physically covered by a parliamentary candidate, on the one hand, to that which can be sufficiently covered by a presidential candidate on a nationwide tour, on the other.
"It can be difficult to resist the temptation of mistaking media coverage of your campaign tactic for the actual on-the-ground coverage of your campaign strategy," Nana Akufo-Addo argued.
As politicians, the Foreign Minister and NPP presidential aspirant warned, "We must be extremely careful about taking the people for granted. Of course, it might appear easier to act the exhibitionist in a deceptive attempt to create a false impression that you are more sensitive to the concerns of the people than the party that is in fact doing something about it. But showmanship is no substitute for effective campaign structures and practical solutions to challenges in society. I trust Ghanaians have a better scale for measuring a politician's concern than relying on the pendulum of PR gimmicks."
The Foreign Minister described TESCON as very much a part of the "intelligentsia of our party. It is made up of young, exuberant and intelligent party activists who understand the issues on the ground, live among the people, and also possess the level of commitment needed to carry out effective door to-door campaign to explain government and party issues to the masses," he told The Statesman in a telephone interview from Cairo on Monday.
While commending TESCON members for their commitment to the cause of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo added that "what needs to be done is to seek effective ways to motivate them, and offer them some kind of training to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the political and economic realities on the ground."
Credit: The Statesman