The flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, yesterday filed his nomination papers with the Electoral Commission to gain what EC boss, Kwadwo Afari Gyan, described as "official recognition' to become the Presidential Candidate of the governing party.
He also paid the filing fee of GHC 5,000, which had previously been described by the nation's political parties as too high.He was the first flag bearer to file his nomination.
John Evans Atta Mills, flag bearer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress, as well as the Convention People"s Party's Paa Kwesi Nduom also filed their nomination papers yesterday.
However, the forms of Independent candidate Kwasi Amoafo Yeboah were rejected because of some irregularities spotted by the EC.
The EC faulted Mr Amoafo Yeboah for not providing a tax clearance certificate, one of the most important requirements, as well as his passport sized photographs.
Other aspirants, including Edward Mahama of the PNC are expected to file theirs before the end of tomorrow when the exercise ends.
Nana Akufo-Addo was accompanied by his running mate, Mahamudu Bawumia, Peter Mac Manu and Nana Ohene Ntow, NPP National Chairman and General Secretary respectively, as well as other party stalwarts including Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Kofi Konadu Apraku, Dan Botwe, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Mike Oquaye, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Alan Kyerematen and Adjei Barwuah.
The short, but colourful, event which took place at the headquarters of the EC also attracted a lot of party supporters and sympathisers who stormed the EC's premises to cheer their hero and to show support for him.
Dr Afari-Gyan who received the nomination forms subjected them to thorough scrutiny to ensure compliance with the EC's laid down procedures.
After satisfying himself with the forms' adherence to procedures, he signed his portion and requested two party members to counter sign them.
That was done by Peter Mac Manu and Nana Ohene Ntow, National Chairman and General Secretary respectively of the NPP.
'From now on you are a Presidential Candidate, and I hope you will run a clean and decent campaign to ensure peaceful and credible elections,' Dr Afari-Gyan told Nana Akufo-Addo.
The EC boss stated that further verification would be carried out to ascertain the authenticity of all the information provided on the forms, warning that any flag bearer who falls foul of the statutory declaration on the forms risked being disqualified from contesting the elections.
He announced that the EC would soon inform the political parties about the date they will meet to ballot for positions of the ballot papers after the end of filing of nominations to tomorrow.
In a short address, Nana Akufo-Addo thanked the EC boss and officials for the courtesy extended to him and the swiftness with which they processed his nomination papers.
The Presidential Candidate pledged his personal commitment and that of his party to ensuring peaceful and credible elections in December, adding 'we have invested a lot of capital into building the nation's democracy and we will therefore remain committed to all efforts to sustain and consolidate it.'
Nana Akufo-Addo called on all stakeholders, 'including the EC acting as a referee, to show similar commitment in the same direction so that the verdict on December 7 will reflect the collective will of Ghanaians.'
He called on all Ghanaians to reflect deeply about the election-related violence that had engulfed some countries on the African continent and collaborate with the Electoral Commission to ensure successful elections, and further avoid any act that could disturb the nation's peace and stability.
'All successive elections held in the country since the start of the 4th Republic have witnessed some improvements and I hope the 5th elections to be held in December will reflect that developmental trend,' the Presidential Candidate stated.
Nana Akufo-Addo re-affirmed his commitment to decent and issue based campaign, stressing 'I am not interested in the campaign of insults and vilification even though I have been a subject of vilification.'
He noted that the nation had always remained a shining example of democracy on the African continent and therefore called on all and sundry to contribute to the sustenance of the nation's democracy.
'We have been accorded the accolade of a beacon of democracy on the African continent, and so all of us have to join hands to prove to the entire world that we have truly embraced democracy, to help enhance the exceptional democratic credentials we enjoy among the comity of nations in Africa,' the Presidential Candidate added.
This filing of forms by Nana Akufo Addo for some is seen as the first 'official step' in the making of political history in the quest of Nana Akufo-Addo to succeed President Kufuor.
It is also seen as epochal in that should Nana Addo win this election he will make political history; the first time that a democratically elected government will hand over to itself through the ballot box.
According to the electoral requirements, all candidates contesting the Presidential and Parliamentary elections on December 7, are mandated to sign a statutory declaration affirming their qualification to stand for and be elected for the slot being contested.
The statutory declaration is to be made before and certified by either a judge, a judicial officer, notary public, commissioner of oaths, or any person authorised by law to administer an oath.