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22.10.2008 Politics

ESORO HO! Nana heads December 7 ballot paper

By The Statesman

Members, supporters and fans of the New Patriotic Party and her Presidential Candidate will have the easiest of tasks identifying and voting for their next president on December 7.

This is because Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's name, picture and party colours and symbol - the elephant - will be the first on the list of eight men and parties seeking to govern Ghana after President Kufuor"s term comes to an end on January 6, 2009.

President Kufuor's longest serving Foreign Minister will be followed on the ballot paper by the People's National Convention's Edward Nasigre Mahama.

John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills, flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, will be third on the ballot paper, to be followed by the Democratic Freedom Party's Emmanuel Ansah-Antwi.

Thomas Ward-Brew of the Democratic People's Party will be fifth, Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Convention People's Party will be sixth, Kwamena Adjei of the Reformed Patriotic Democrats will be seventh, while Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah, an independent candidate, will be eighth.

The positions will be the same for parliamentary candidates, with independent candidates coming after candidates of the political parties in alphabetical order.

Yesterday morning, the parties and candidates contesting the December elections met to ballot for positions on the ballot paper. There were two rounds of balloting.

The first round was to choose the order of picking the ballot to determine the order on the ballot paper.

The order for that balloting was determined by the order in which the presidential candidates filed their papers at the EC last Thursday and Friday.

After that round of balloting, the RPD was to pick first, followed by the CPP, NDC, NPP, DFP, PNC and DPP.

The significance of the NPP's placement on the ballot paper has not been lost on the party.

There was widespread jubilation among party supporters when the results were announced, this paper can confirm. NPP activists believe it would be much easier to market their candidate if he was the first person on the ballot paper.

To further buttress this view, and make the point that Nana Akufo-Addo's would be the perfect hands to entrust Ghana's destiny to after December, a statement released yesterday by Arthur Kobina Kennedy, Chairman of the NPP's Election 08 Communication Committee, noted, "Coming events, indeed, tend to cast their shadows.

 We have been first in ideas, first in performance in government and first in commitment to peace.'Today, we are first on the ballot and on December the 7th, as our supporters vote massively for 'ESORO HO!', we shall be first ONE TOUCH.

'We thank God and our numerous supporters for their prayers. Allah is at work and with him on our side, if we continue to work hard, we can say on December the 7th,

'AGBENAA!'

Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Campaign Chairman, who picked the NPP ballots, said Nana Akufo-Addo's top placement showed that the NPP had moved from 'asieho' (bottom of the ballot paper in 2000) to the top, adding that, it was just a reflection of the fact that Ghanaians, under the leadership of the NPP, were 'moving forward.'

Other parties have sought to put a positive spin on their placement. Ahmed Ramadan, National Chairman of the PNC believes the second position on the ballot paper confirms the party's slogan of '2 Direct; Two Sure'.

For the NDC's Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, being third on the ballot paper is a 'divine' sign; it shows the 'Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit'.

The spiritual significance is also confirmed, according to the NDC National Organiser, by the fact that this was the third time Prof Mills was contesting the presidential election and they also had three Johns in their presidential race - Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, John Dramani Mahama, running mate of Prof. Mills, and former President Jerry John Rawlings.

Political analysts who spoke to this paper however interpret the NDC's position on the ballot paper as a harbinger of a third successive electoral loss for the former law professor and the party he appears to lead in name only.

To Foster Abu Sakara, CPP running mate, being sixth on the ballot paper is a sign that the party will still stick to the ideals of Kwame Nkrumah, founder of the CPP, who led Ghana to attain independence on March 6, 1957.

Placement on the ballot paper has assumed major importance in recent times. In the 2000 election, then opposition NPP campaigned vigorously with the slogan Asie ho which loosely translated means Down There or Last One, after it was placed last on the ballot paper, with devastating effect on the NDC.

In 2004, however, although candidate Kufuor was placed in the middle, the parties which had the top and bottom positions failed to capitalise on their good fortune.

The EC team was made up of David Kanga, Deputy Chairman in charge of Finance and Administration, Kwadwo Safo-Kantanka, Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations and Albert Kofi Arhin, Director in charge of Elections.

Mr Arhin told the GNA that the EC would now print a 'Notice of Polls' and then print the ballot papers.

The EC would also undertake a series of training programmes for the agents of the parties, security personnel, parliamentary candidates and the media on their roles in the election, he said. With additional agency files

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