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17.10.2008 Politics

Lee Ocran to constituents: 'I've done better than Nkrumah'

By The Statesman

"I've done far better than Nkrumah, how much less his daughter,' is the one political blunder that is set to haunt Lee Ocran right down to election day.

In obvious reference to Samia Nkrumah, the first president"s daughter who is contesting the Jomoro seat on the ticket of the CPP, this statement has turned the heat on this otherwise experienced politician. But he's not alone in the gas chamber.

Prof. Atta-Mills on his visit to the constituency angered residents when he told them he'd only recently learned of their love for coconut.

 He consequently promised free coconut seedlings if he won power. This promise did not only incur the displeasure of constituents, it also made them realise how far removed the thrice defeated NDC presidential candidate was from the ground. 

A resident explained to The Statesman : 'The fact of the matter is that there is no more land for coconut cultivation. The people are therefore looking forward to other employment avenues.'

These political blunders leave Mr Ocran in a precarious situation as he's worked hard at distributing two truck loads of bicycles in order to secure the slim 1,655 vote margin he had in 2004.

Samia Nkrumah, who ordinarily should have taken advantage of Lee Ocran's and Atta-Mills' blunders is said to not have a home in the constituency and so lodges at Gracia Hotel at Half-Assini whenever she visits the Jomoro constituency, an act which is obviously alienating her from ordinary people.

DCE Nyameke Ackah, the NPP parliamentary candidate who has completed a lot of development projects has a brighter chance of winning the seat but party executives, while urging him to keep fulfilling his mandate, are counselling him to also pay attention to his parliamentary campaign. 

On air yesterday in response to our earlier story, Samia had a tough time explaining why she said CPP could not win the election. Lee Ocran also denied ever asking his people to vote for Nana as president.

However, the situation on the ground is that Atta-Mills' promise of coconut seedlings has really angered residents which makes it difficult for NDC foot soldiers to go soliciting votes in his name.

'If a doctor cannot tell what is wrong with her patient, how can she treat her?' residents chide NDC foot soldiers in obvious reference to Atta-Mills' promise of jobs through coconut seedlings.

"The sickness isn't the lack of neither coconut seedlings nor St Paul's disease,' said Kabinla, an employee of Ghana Rubber Estates Ltd. 'The disease is that there's no more land for cultivation.'

Sometimes frustrated at their inability to convince constituents about Atta-Mills, NDC foot soldiers snap: 'Ok, vote for whoever you want as president but please remember to vote for Lee Ocran as MP.'

In 2004, Lee Ocran polled 16,490, NPP's Anthony Tandoh polled 14,835 losing by a narrow margin of 1,655 votes. CPP's Philip Armah came in third with 8,567 votes.

Clearly if some agreement had been reached for the CPP candidate to withdraw from the election, NPP would have won the seat.

In 2000, Kufuor won the presidential vote with 13,594 votes whilst Atta-Mills had 13,003 losing by a narrow margin of 591 votes. George Hagan, the CPP presidential candidate polled 1,870

This constituency was again a 'skirt and blouse' constituency in 2004 as Kufuor extended his win with 20,875 votes whilst Atta-Mills came in second with 14,367 votes

Kufuor thus stretched this race this time by a margin of 6,508 votes. CPP's George Aggudey came in gasping with a poor third at 1,780 votes only. 

The constituency hence prefers an NPP presidential ticket as both CPP presidential candidates made far poorer showings than the CPP parliamentary candidates in both 2000 and 2004.

Aware of this trend and the current popularity of Nana in the constituency as well as the massive development projects undertaken in this area by the NPP through the NPP candidate Ackah, NDC foot soldiers are excluding Prof. Atta-Mills in their messages as they distribute cash and bicycles just to secure the seat for the NDC.

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