Nana Akufo-Addo left Accra on his nationwide Thank You tour with a 6-vehicle convoy, but by the time he entered the Tamale metropolis yesterday the convoy was akin to the hundred vehicle convoy that has become so controversial.
But, in the words of Samuel Abu Jinapor, an aide to the New Patriotic Party Presidential Candidate, "It is a mark of his popularity; when you don't have to hire people, hire cars, pay for their petrol and they come on their own to meet you, it is the sort of love that every politician and political party dreams of.”
In the words of Mr Jinapor, “It is a refreshing reinforcement of the changing times in the political landscape, with areas considered virtual no-go areas for the NPP receiving the party's candidate with open arms.”
Addressing a gathering at the Radach Memorial Centre in Tamale composed in large part of people who have not shown a liking for the NPP in the past but were screaming themselves hoarse screaming Nana oo Nana!, Nana Akufo-Addo said he started his nationwide tour in Brong Ahafo where the reception was “Fantastic,” the reception in Wa in the Upper West region was “great, absolutely great,” but what he had seen in Tamale was “ah, ah ah…,” he paused, seemingly short of words, to thunderous shouts.
He continued, "I hope this welcome, is an electoral message to the people who think they have a monopoly in the north. And let us tell them that that monopoly is no more, the NDC monopoly of the north is broken from today by the NPP and is broken forever." And the people roared in approval.
"From 23rd December," he went on, "when I was announced as flagbearer, the divisions amongst us ceased. There are no longer any camps, we are all one family, one big family. With unity, no political party in Ghana can contest the great Kukrudu family."
He also spoke about the reopening of the Voters' register. "In March, they are going to open the voter's register. It is important that we are in a position to see to it that every body who is eligible to vote, especially those who are 18 and are voting for the first time are register. We should mobilise ourselves and send out the message and actively get everybody of age to register and vote to decide their destiny."
He hinted that NPP National Chairman Peter MacManu is at the moment compiling a list of the Task Force to ensure harmonious party-government relationship to be unveiled in the very near future, possibly next month, "so that never again should we see a division between party and government."
He ended by saying, "What President Jerry John Rawlings failed to do, to hand over to President John Atta Mills on January 7, 2001, President John Agyekum Kufuor will do on January 7, 2009 when he hands over to President Akufo-Addo."
Earlier, the candidate and his team were welcomed to the Tamale Central Mosque by fellow aspirants Dan Botwe and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Regional Minister Mustapha Ali Idris and Minister for Women and Children's Affairs Hajia Alima Mahama and officials of the mosque.
After prayers, they trooped to the Radach Memorial Centre, which can accommodate about 3000 people with some standing, was filled to capacity with a majority of the people still standing outside the doors, causing the organisers to place loud speakers outside for them to listen to hear what was being said..
Nana Akufo-Addo walked among the straining crowd, shaking hands, making new friends and reacquainting himself with old ones.
Speaker after speaker spoke about the theme of Nana Akufo-Addo's gratitude tour, underscoring the underlying message of beginning the election 2008 campaign with the aim of fostering peace and unity within the party and the nation at large.
Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey was more than convinced that the NPP was more united than ever and is moving forward with a confident stride into the December poll.
Taking his turn, Yaw Osafo-Maafo reminded the nation that there was only one camp within the NPP, the NPP camp marketing its presidential candidate, and charged any true lover of democracy to rally behind the NPP flag.
He reminded them that when he came earlier on his personal campaign tour, he urged them to vote for someone who had served the party, and served the party well; among the 17 aspirants Akufo-Addo was the best and "is the one who best fits this description."
By News Desk