There were 17 people aspiring to be elected as the presidential candidate of the NPP party. Most of them considered stalwarts of the party who have contributed immensely for its well-being since its formative years.
There were concerns about the unity of the party and who would become the flagbearer. The fact that there were so many aspirants in the running made the flaberareship ever the more tension-packed.
For the eventual winner to emerge out of 17 candidates having amassed 1,096 out of 2,228 votes was a clear indication of the mass support that he commands within the party.
But even before he could set about his personal leadership mission of uniting the party for the general election, the other aspirants led the way. They instinctively congratulated Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo even before Alan Kyerematen did the true-party man thing with his official withdrawal to concede victory to Nana, thus avoiding the superfluous exercise of a second round of voting.
It was clear the NPP party inside and outside of the congress and the community across the length of the country felt this was the right decision. This sentiment seems to cut across party lines. This was a triumph in the principles that have kept the Danquah- Busia tradition alive for 60 years.
The peaceful, transparent, democratic manner of the congress and the results that came from it only lent more credence to the party's democratic and matured credentials.
For those who were in doubt it has reinforced the common belief that NPP is the chosen party and will continue to be the leading party in shaping Ghana's democracy.
The first 12 days of Akufo-Addo's position as presidential candidate have been promising. His actions and that of the party around him continue to reinforce that congress made the right decision in choosing him.
He has began by sending a clear message to the other candidates that Ghana"s political discourse, from henceforth, is to be one that focuses on issues pertinent to the lives of Ghanaians.
He has therefore put forth a challenge to all the other presidential candidates to join him on this responsible enterprise to have a campaign based on issues not insults.
We believe all four candidates have enviable records of decency and we hope they will show leadership by ensuring a campaign of civility is one understood and practiced by their parties' rank and file.
Beyond that, for those who doubted Akufo-Addo's relationship with President John Agyekum Kufuor, Nana Akufo-Addo has shown matured leadership qualities - the kind associated with the NPP, by showing that he is ready, wiling and indeed he finds it most desirable to work faithfully and sincerely with the President for the campaign and after.
The two leaders are ready to work for the common good of party and country. President Kufuor has also shown he is a strong believer of democracy. Although it was clear he had a preffered candidate, other than the eventual winner, the President's actions after congress have clearly shown the strong believer in democracy that he is.
He has more than embraced the democratic choice of his party and has more than expressed his willingness to work strongly with him. It is to his credit and to the blessing of Ghana's democracy.
Nana, for his part, has never stopped proving since his election that he is a true unifying force. The credit, of course must be shared by the others he competed with.
A testament of this was the breakfast that took place on Wednesday with all the aspirants; that was followed by a Thanksgiving Service at the Ridge Church, attended by the President, as well. They all joined him for a big lunch afterwards. These are all positive signs of the continuing unity of NPP.
We can report that yesterday the presidential candidate started a two-day one-on-one meeting with all 16 aspirants with the intention of seeking their full involvement in the execution of the 2008 electoral project.
All indication is that all are ready and willing to work together to insure an NPP victory to build massively on what the NPP and President Kufuor have started in these two terms.
The future is bright for the NPP. The future, therefore, must be bright for Ghana. Excellent start, Nana!
By The Statesman