HOW ARE YOU? The two leading contenders for the Presidency, President john Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo at the Owdira festival last Friday at Akropong

Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has rubbished the argument being advanced by members of the National Democratic Congress that it will take the country another 20 years to be able to provide free secondary education.

Speaking at a well-attended rally at the Karikari Brobbey Park at Dansoman in the Ablekuma South constituency over the weekend, Nana Addo indicated that it was possible for Ghana to implement a free education policy now and for that matter, he would not join in the thinking of his detractors in the NDC who argue that it was a mission impossible.

The event was to round up his ?Hope Restoration? tour of the Greater Accra Region and to also launch the constituency?s campaign.

Places Nana Addo visited with the NPP parliamentary candidate, Ursula Owusu, included Mamprobi, Korle Bu, Chorkor, Agege and Dansoman before the rally started.

With the free education fire catching up with Ghanaians and admission by NDC operatives that it could derail the party?s chances of retaining power, the ruling party?s propagandists had launched vicious attacks on the NPP?s free SHS policy.

But Nana Akufo-Addo said the free SHS would be coming on live.

Nana Addo, who spoke extensively in the local Ga language often interlaced with Twi and English, wondered why members of the NDC government, especially President John Dramani Mahama and his Education Minister Lee Ocran, were claiming that it was not achievable, stressing that had it not been for a free education policy, President Mahama would not have risen to his current position.

Lee Ocran particularly said because Ghana?s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah could not do it, nobody could.

Nana Addo wondered: ?Why would he now turn around and say it is not possible when it got to the turn of others??

However, the NPP flagbearer said, ?I am not the least surprised because they are blowing huge sums of the taxpayers? monies and doling out some of those monies to people, for virtually no work done, yet when we need money for an important programme such as the free SHS they say there is no money, but they are giving freebies to their cronies.?

According to him, the NPP had taken time to do extensive consultations and calculations and come to the conclusion that ?we can do it?.

?There is money for us to do it and we will do it too?, he said, to a spontaneous applause from the crowd.

Promises

?As I have said time and again, when you vote for me to become President I will deliver the promise of free secondary education,? he noted, insisting that ?the days when education was the preserve of those who could afford it, should be made a thing of the past, for every Ghanaian child to be able to go to school?.

He decried the poor conditions in which Ghanaians were living, indicating that ?things have become very tough. There is no money, there are no jobs, industries are collapsing; it is because of these things that I have come to help change this government and replace it with one that can do the work.?

The NPP flagbearer asked Ghanaians to bank their hopes on him to put the economy back on a sound footing with a promise to re-introduce the Fisheries Ministry when given the mandate.

Everywhere he went in the constituency, a minute?s silence was observed in memory of the late Ben Brown, an NPP stalwart in the constituency who recently passed away.

Present were party bigwigs including former Mayor of Accra Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson who is neck-deep in the campaign to unseat Information Minister Fritz Baffour as MP for the area and others including former Finance Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo and Dr Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe, former Ambassador to Serbia.

The rest were Sheik Ibrahim Cudjoe Quaye, the ?Agbenaa? man who stormed the platform with a bell in hand, and claimed he was tolling the bell to usher the NDC into opposition.

This time around, he had a new slogan- ?Lootu Lootu?, taunting the NDC as a bunch of looters of state coffers.

NPP Parliamentary Candidate for Ablekuma South, Ursula Owusu, among others, promised to help provide access to quality education by lobbying for the improvement in educational infrastructure in the constituency when voted into power.

 By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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