The second Presidential Debate organised by the Institute of Economics Affairs (IEA) has ended in Tamale with a pledge by the four candidates to ensure that there is peace before, during and after Election 2008.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of New Patriotic Party (NPP); Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom of Conventions People's Party (CPP); Professor John Evans Atta Mills of National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Dr Edward Nasigire Mahama of People's National Convention (PNC) held hands to make the pledge.
After the pledge they exchanged pleasantries with Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr Nduom hugging each other while Prof Mills and Dr Mahama also did the same thing. Again, Prof Mills and Dr Nduom hugged each other, after which Prof Mills and Nana Akufo-Addo shook hands because Dr Nduom was in-between them.
The candidates put forward their positions on the amendment of certain portions of the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution. They were generally agreed on the need to amend certain parts of the Constitution.
On the decentralisation of governance they also agreed on the need to carry on with the process even though they put different emphasis on how they intended to bring it about.
The four candidates agreed that there was corruption in the country but while Prof. Mills said it had become more rampant in recent years Nana Akufo-Addo was of the view that it had been around even in the past.
They were also in agreement that the declaration of assets by public officer was in the right direction and promised to do so when elected. They went further to say that they would make it public instead of just depositing it with the Auditor General's Department and requiring a court order to get access to it.
The four candidates acknowledged that there was a problem with waste disposal and management and each laid out his plans to tackle the problem.
They all appreciated the fact that the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions lagged behind the rest of the country in socio-economic development and each had plans to bridge the gap.
The candidates said they would try to instil discipline to stop the haphazard development in the urban areas.
However, all the candidates failed to address how they were going to combat erosion in some villages.
The candidates rolled out plans to make science and technology to play their proper role in the national development effort.
On oil exploration and exploitation and consequent pollution, all the candidates said they were going to strengthen the regulatory institutions to carry out their mandate more effectively.
On conflicts, they acknowledged their existence and gave various approaches to solving them. Some attributed the conflicts to poverty while others thought partisan politics also played a role.
The candidates agreed on the seriousness of the hard drug business and said they would take various measures to deal with the situation.
They all agreed on the need to develop other sporting disciplines such as athletics, hockey, basketball and table tennis. They all said they would start in the schools by reintroducing various competitions.
The candidates generally agreed on many things except that while Dr Nduom emphasised the need for the State to take active part in the economic development of the nation Nana Akufo-Addo preferred that the State played a facilitating role instead.