Flag-bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has told Ghanaians not to put the destiny of the country into the hands of an inefficient, unproductive and non-performing government like the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
He noted that the 19-year rule of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) which metamorphosed into the NDC was enough evidence for Ghanaians to reject the NDC because the current global, African and Ghanaian economies call for a president who is focused, dynamic and development-oriented.
Speaking at separate rallies in Elubo, Tikobo No.1, Esiama and Kwesimintsim in the coastal belt of the Western region on Saturday, Nana Akufo-Addo said the NDC would turn back the clock of progress of the NPP government if Ghanaians mistakenly offer them any chance to govern the country.
He said it would be suicidal for a country like Ghana which under President Agyekum Kufuor's meticulous administration had won local and international respect to quickly change over to the NDC government which mismanaged the economy, virtually leaving an empty kitty for the NPP in January 2001.
“I believe Ghanaians are discerning and still remember how Jerry Rawlings and his team including Atta Mills, then his vice president, ruled this country without anybody breathing the air of freedom, with its attendant days of curfew and intimidation from certain quarters.”
Tactically employing Shakespeare's Mark Anthony's rhetorical style, Nana Akufo-Addo echoed: “Is it worth putting the destiny of this country into the hands of the NDC again?” which was greeted unanimously with an emphatic “No” by the enthusiastic crowd.
He spoke against tribal politics which he said former President Jerry Rawlings had been preaching in some parts of the Volta region recently to the extent that Rawlings prevailed upon the Voltaians not to vote for the NPP, claiming it was an Asante party.
He condemned such utterances, saying, “We in the NPP believe in the politics of unity, solidarity and oneness. Tribal politics is the politics of backwardness, for we are all Ghanaians and must move forward in unity and development”.
He reminded Ghanaians of the much-needed peace that should be allowed to prevail before, during and after the impending general elections, and added that elections were not about fighting, violence and intimidation but a critical decision to determine their future.
He called on the electorate to demonstrate high sense of maturity on Election Day so that the respect and trust the international community has for Ghana as the oasis of peace in Africa would not be dented.
Hon. Yaw Osafo Maafo, Member of Parliament for Akim Oda and former Minister of Finance gave an anecdote of the NDC as an irresponsible husband who after abandoning his wife, later wanted a reunion after realizing that a responsible and upright husband like the NPP had looked after her to become plump and beautiful.
He therefore made it explicitly clear that Ghanaians would vote massively for the NPP because it inherited $245 million debt which compelled Ghana to go HIPC, but through prudent economic management, the current reserve for the country was $2.6 billion.
Turning attention to the oil discovered in the Western region, Nana Akufo-Addo intimated that when given the nod as the country's president, Parliament would work out a formula as to how the revenue from the oil should be distributed equitably to benefit the entire nation.
The mammoth rally reached its climax when Nana Akufo-Addo raised the hand of Hon. Freddie Blay, the Convention People's Party (CPP) incumbent MP for Ellembelle who is also the parliamentary candidate for the constituency.
“Hon. Blay is one person I have the greatest respect for, in that he is principled, courageous and hard working. I will make Freddie a minister if NPP is given the mandate,” Nana Akufo-Addo said amid tumultuous applause.
“The man who is standing here is one of the men whom I give the greatest respect to in Ghanaian politics as I speak today; he is a man of principle and a man of courage and these are the type of human beings we need in Ghanaian politics.
“I am saying to you the people of Ellembelle, send him to Accra once again and I, being in the Flag Staff House, this man is a Minister in my new government that I am going to form,” Nana Addo told the cheering crowd.
The NPP presidential candidate explained that his party is not contesting the Ellembelle parliamentary seat but has rather thrown its weight behind the CPP's candidate because the latter is a forward-looking Ghanaian who is committed to the tenets of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
He asked the people of Ellembelle to vote for the NPP in the presidential ballot and vote for the CPP at the parliamentary level.
“Freddie Blay is a man that has the support of the NPP and even though he is a member of the Convention People's Party, we are supporting him to retain his seat in Ellembelle.
“We in the NPP are prepared to co-operate with all patriotic and forward-looking Ghanaians...we would co-operate with them for the interest of the Ghanaian people and that is why we did not field a candidate for Ellembelle and our co-operation is not only in the campaign to come to power,” Nana Addo explained.
Madam Grace Omaboe, popularly called Maame Dokono, told the enthusiastic crowd that a vote for the NDC was a vote for the return of Rawlings, economic hardship, serial killing of women and confiscation of people's legitimate assets.
She prevailed upon members of the NDC who had realized the good works and human-centred policies of the NPP to courageously defect to the NPP as she had done because political decision was individualistic, adding, “I am optimistic that NPP will win the elections hands down.”
Esiama, arguably the largest town in the Ellembelle district of the Western region, was shaken to its very foundation last Saturday by teeming NPP and CPP supporters clad in their T-shirts, which sent shivers down the spines of supporters of the opposition NDC that the people only take their campaign message with a pinch of salt.
The entire town was thrown into jubilation from morning to dusk when it was officially announced that Hon. Blay would be present at the mammoth rally, during which Mr. Amstrong, an ardent supporter of the CPP, said “Ellembelle Blay” would win hands down come December 7, 2008.
From Sam Mark Essien & Halifax Ansah-Addo, Esiama