Nana Akufo-Addo And John Mahama

There are extremely high stakes in tomorrow?s presidential election as eight gentlemen jostle for the country?s topmost job.

Although the eight job seekers have vigorously crisscrossed the country, it is clear that the employer?the Ghanaian electorate? will give the job to either the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) or the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) as the contest has become a two-horse race.

The two parties wound up their campaign yesterday with huge rallies in Accra ahead of tomorrow?s polls where the presidential candidates drummed home their messages.

Nana Akufo-Addo, NPP presidential candidate, insisted that the NDC should be given a red card because of poor performance and corruption.

Nana Akufo-Addo appealed to Ghanaians to ?get rid of this corrupt, non-performing, vindictive government; the worst government of the fourth Republic by the grace of your thumb?.

He told NPP supporters at the Efua Sutherland Children?s Park in Accra that the NDC should apologize to Ghanaians for its poor leadership and management of the nation, rather than seeking a second term in office.

?If I was them, I would say to the people of Ghana, ?I am sorry, we are sorry for the poor work we have done, we are going to go and think about ourselves.? But that is not the people we are dealing with. The fruits of office, the money under the table have become sweet for them so they are determined to stay. Are we going to allow them to stay? Are we going to allow that to happen?? he asked.

Nana Addo promised that the NPP, when voted into power, would ?strengthen the unity of our country and promote reconciliation amongst the Ghanaian people. We are not coming to chastise people and be vindictive, throw people out of work because they are not NPP people; that is not the way we are going to run Ghana.?

Nana Addo added that every Ghanaian would have the opportunity to contribute to the ?new prosperity and to the new world that our country is going to have?.

Sympathy Votes

President John Mahama told the NDC rally at the La Trade Fair Centre that the party?s imminent victory would be dedicated to the memory of the late President Prof. John Evans Atta Mills.

He had earlier visited Asomdwee Park where the former president was interred to mark the one hundredth day since the death of his former boss.

He kicked against the free SHS policy of the NPP, insisting that was not his priority.
The candidates are high caliber men at various stages of their political careers who are asking Ghanaians to give them the political mandate to govern the country for the next four years.

On the ballot sheets, the electorate would be choosing Nana Akufo-Addo Addo Dankwa of New Patriotic Party (NPP), John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People?s Party (PPP), Dr. Abu Sakara Forster of the Convention People?s Party (CPP), Hassan Abdulai Ayariga of the People?s National Convention (PNC), Dr. Henry Herbert Lartey of the Great Consolidated People?s Party (GCPP) Akwasi Addai Odike of the United Front Party (UFP) and the only independent presidential candidate on the bill, Jacob Osei Yeboah.

The National Democratic Party, an offshoot of the NDC, headed by former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, is rooting for Nana Akufo-Addo.

Undoubtedly, the focus of the elections would be on the two biggest political forces who mounted gargantuan rallies to round up their campaigns which basically brought Accra to a standstill yesterday.

The NPP?s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the NDC?s John Dramani Mahama are the front runners in the presidential race as their political parties control about 95 to 98 percent of total electorate.

These men have mounted an incredibly spirited political campaign in the past several months, but political analysts contend that this year?s election is one which would be fought as a contest of ideas.

Policies

The NPP is championing a revolutionary concept of free basic education to the Senior High School (SHS) level as its flagship campaign message, while the NDC is preaching continuity, being the incumbent.

The NPP is preaching an industrial and infrastructural transformation while the NDC is indicating that it is already embarking on those transformations. However, the NPP?s free education appears to have caused a major stir as a lot of people have accepted the concept which is threatening to be the game changer.

Indeed, two separate surveys conducted by the National Centre for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) concluded that education was the topmost priority of the Ghanaian electorate as they head to the polls tomorrow.

In the past months, the flagbearers have successfully consolidated their images in the hearts and minds of their prospective voters, with all of them optimistic of winning.

The Vox Pop

In the heat up to the elections, several polls and counter polls have popped, up giving mostly conflicting claims. While some are tipping the NPP for victory in December, others are also betting on the NDC to subdue its opponent.

Research firms such as Research International, Synovate Polls, Geolink Partners Incorporated, DaMina and a research by US-based Ghanaian professor of Statistics, Prof. Adu Bonna, have all predicted marginal wins for the NPP. The Economic Intelligence Unit and a certain US-based pollster, Jeff Link, are also predicting wins for the NDC.

Sebastian Spio-Garbrah of DaMina acknowledged the effectiveness of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo?s door-to-door campaign.

Too Close To Call

Political analysts including Kwesi Jonah of the University of Ghana believe that this year?s elections would be very close.

It is anticipated that Ghana would yet again see a repeat of the 2008 elections in terms of closeness.

The NPP lost the election by a marginal 40,000 votes after a third round of votes.

In the post election analysis of 2008, a study by the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, titled ?The Successful Ghana Election of 2008: A Convenient Myth?

Ethnicity in Ghana?s Elections Revisited?, it was stated, ?As expected, the contesting major parties and their candidates attainted their best results with highest voter  turnout in their respective strongholds: Nana Akufo-Addo, leader of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) gained 75 percent in Ashanti, and Atta Mills, presidential candidate of National Democratic Congress (NDC) got 86 percent in Volta region, also labeled as the ?World Bank? of the NDC by party veteran and former head of state, Jerry Rawlings.?

By Raphael Ofori-Adeniran

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