A number of eager patrons who thronged to the second series of the Institute of Economic Affairs' (IEA) presidential debate were relatively unimpressed by the performance of the People's National Convention (PNC) presidential candidate, Hassan Ayariga.
DAILY GUIDE spoke to a few people after Mr. Ayariga's showing and it was clear the dissatisfaction to his presentation stemmed from his responses to many of the probing questions that were thrown at him.
Franklin Cudjoe, Executive Director of IMANI Ghana, thought perhaps due to the recent rancor in the PNC, there might not have been enough teamwork by other members of the PNC to optimize the output of their party's presidential candidate.
'I wasn't generally impressed by his [Ayariga's] performance,' the IMANI boss told DAILY GUIDE.
Nii Armah Akomfrah, Communications Director of the Convention People's Party (CPP), said even though the PNC leader did his best to highlight the policies of his parties, his subsequent answers should have been a lot more expressive. 'He could have expanded a little more on his answers,' Mr. Akomfrah stated.
Charles Nyaaba, Programmes Officer of the Association of Peasant Farmers, had his reservations about the agricultural policies that Mr. Ayariga proposed to implement. Mr. Nyaaba said it was not comprehensive enough. According to him, over 80 percent of farmers in the country were small-scale farmers; however 'there was not a single mention of small scale farmers in his policy'.
Charles Nyaaba believed the PNC's proposed policy of commercializing farming was too far-fetched.
On Tuesday, the PNC's candidate delivered a 30-minute presentation that outlined several glowing policies that a potential PNC government would embark upon. He highlighted several 'interesting' policies covering social welfare policies, agriculture, education and employment. Even though there was a general agreement about the eloquence of the presentation, the backup details to these policies left much to be desired.
At one point, Mr Ayariga proposed election for District Chief Executives, but when asked by Bernard Avleh of Citi FM to explain how he intended to implement these, he simply said that the PNC government would figure it out when elected. 'You cannot know what is in a room until you get into the room,' he stated.
Franklin Cudjoe thought these responses were not good enough.
Hassan Ayariga has received a lot of flak since his Tuesday appearance at the IEA debate platform which he described as the 'biggest platform ever in my life'.
Several high-profile personalities have expressed their misgivings about his performance. These include the Missionary in-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission Ghana , Maulvi Wahab Adam, Peter Mark Manu, former Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Seth Agblosoh of the Trades Union Congress.
Nii Armah Akomfrah said the standard set by Dr. Abu Sakara of the CPP, who preceded Hassan Ayariga in the debate, could not be met by Ayarigah, adding, 'Ayarigah is certainly not in the league of Dr. Sakara.'
'I don't see a president in Hassan Ayarigah,' said Franklin Cudjoe.
The IEA Presidential debate has become the general benchmark to ascertain the policies of presidential aspirants in Ghana. This platform has also become a forum to test the eloquence of the presidential aspirants.
In three weeks, the NPP's presidential candidate, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akuffo Addo, will face the Ghanaian electorate with his policies.
BY Raphael Adeniran