THE ELECTORAL Commission (EC) of Ghana yesterday declared Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Adddo, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the first officially recognized Presidential candidate in Ghana, for the December elections.
Nana Addo, who was the first flagbearer to file his nomination forms to the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Afari Djan and accordingly paid the GH¢5,000 filing fee, literally threw the entire neighbourhood of the EC offices at Ridge in Accra into ecstasy.
The NPP flagbearer's presence at the EC attracted a large multitude of noise-making party faithful who for a few hours brought vehicular movement in the area to a stand-still.
The crowd was so enthusiastic to witness the filing ceremony that Police personnel had to intervene in order to prevent a stampede at the entrance to the EC compound and also to guard all gates leading to the compound.
Though Nana Addo was scheduled to arrive at the EC by 10:00am, people started flooding the streets in front of the offices in the early hours of the day and by the time the NPP candidate arrived, there was no more space big enough to comfortably place a foot.
Nana Addo's guards had a hectic time, as they shuffled him through the thick crowd, whose only preoccupation was apparently to cheer him on and attempt to have a feel of his skin.
He was accompanied by his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia; party Chairman, Mac Manu; NPP General Secretary, Nana Ohene Ntow; National Campaign Director, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku; Campaign Chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey; and a high-powered party delegation which comprised Ministers of State, Deputy Ministers, Members of Parliament, and executive office holders amongst others.
While the NPP flagbearer was in the EC conference room presenting his nomination forms, his supporters outside were totally oblivious of the scorching sun as they went on a free-for-all jamboree, dancing their heads off and singing their hearts out.
Some of the youthful male supporters went on a perilous display of adventurous motor cycling skills as others enjoyed themselves to loud techno music bursting out of large speaker-boxes placed in the booths of vehicles and in the cabin of pick-up vans.
Nana Addo assured the EC of his party's commitment to a free and transparent election in which the result would reflect the general will of the electorate- an election that would boost Ghana's image as a thriving democracy and a beacon of peace and tranquility in the West Africa sub-region.
He said each of the past four elections Ghana had gone through under the Fourth Republic had been deemed to be an improvement on the country's democratic practices and it would be unaffordable to conduct the coming elections in a way that was undemocratic or unacceptable by the international standard practices in elections.
“The eyes of the world are on us here in Ghana in this election. We know what is happening in the rest of the continent and the unfortunate things that had been associated with elections.
“It is our hope that none of that would mar the process that we have initiated in this country. Ghana deserves credible elections”, Nana Addo noted.
“We want to assure you that on our part, we would do whatever is necessary to co-operate with you to make sure that the process that we have all started can work well for the Ghanaian people; they deserve no less and we are going to do our best to make sure that Ghanaians get a good and credible outcome in the elections to the benefit of all of us and we would make sure that the peace and tranquility that we are enjoying would be maintained and indeed deepened.
“Ghanaian democracy would then become a beacon to the rest of our continent. I believe that has always been the role of Ghana; to be a pioneer in the evolution of Africa's progress…Ghana is a beacon in the light of Africa's development and emancipation. So I am very happy and particularly humbled as well as proud that I am going to play a role in that process”.
The NPP flagbearer said he would focus his campaign on issues and pledged to continue to stay away from insults and personal attacks.
“I am not interested in a campaign of insults and vilification. I am a subject of a great deal of vilification myself and I do not think that I need to add to that and for myself, I do not think that is what matters”.
After the filing ceremony, the crowd followed Nana Addo's convoy from the EC office all the way to the Liberation Circle at Ridge round-about, and then through the Liberation Road, jubilating right behind the residence of former President Rawlings, all the way to the Ako-Adjei Interchange near the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) where the vehicular traffic cleared and the convoy increased the pace.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo