Ghanaians trooped to the various polling stations throughout the country yesterday to elect a new president or renew the mandate of President Mahama and the next parliament in what many experts believe will be a historic election.

Seven persons contested for the position of president, with incumbent President John Dramani Mahama representing the National Democratic Congress (NDC); Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the New Patriotic Party (NPP); Ivor Greenstreet, the Convention People’s Party (CPP); Dr Edward Mahama, the People’s National Congress (PNC); Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP); Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the National Democratic Party (NDP) and an independent candidate, Jacob Osei Yeboah.

By the close of polls, it was emerging that the contest had narrowed to a straight fight between President Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo.

The rest of the candidates were terribly trailing behind the two, with most of them recording zilch while Dr Nduom, who seemed to be showing a sign of impact, was struggling to go past five votes at various polling stations, sometimes also recording zero.

The NPP seemed to have closed in on the NDC in some of the latter’s strongholds.

Results

There were interesting provisional results coming in as at press time last night, but the trend showed that the minor parties performed abysmally.

In the provisional presidential results in Lawra Old Council, NDC garnered 195 votes with the NPP getting 123.

At Faith Evangelical Church, Kuku Hill, Klotey Korle, the NDC polled 345 and the NPP 345.

Ash-Town/Mbrom Presby NDC had 83 votes while the NPP had 449.

At the University of Education Winneba, Kumasi Campus, NDC polled 3 as against the NPP’s 1,507.

Madina Social Welfare Polling Station 1C in Accra, the NPP had 262 against the NDC’s 199 and at 1A Polling Station, NPP had 258 and the NDC 206, indicating that the NPP may snatch the seat from the NDC’s Amadu Sorogho.

It appears that the NDC may drop more parliamentary seats by the close of today as some of the results coming from its strongholds are nothing to write home about. Some of the seats to watch are La Dadektopon, Ledzokuku, Odododiodioo, Adentan, Madina, Agona West, Heman Lower Denkyira in the Central Region, Shama and Akontombra in the Westen Region, among others.

At Wa Central Polling Station A, NDC had 82 and the NPP 106 while at Polling Station B, NDC polled 81 and NPP 115.

At Amasaman Mount Horeb Polling Station A the NPP, 423 while NDC got 180 and in Tamale Central C the NPP got 338 with NDC polling 37.

Commendation

In a statement issued in Accra yesterday, the New Patriotic Party commended Ghanaians for voting in a peaceful and orderly manner.

“Despite some incidents at the polling stations, the people have turned out en masse and demonstrated to the world that Ghana wants change.”

“We urge all Ghanaians to remain vigilant, to stay at their polling stations to observe the counting of ballots, and verify that the correct results are reported by their polling station and constituency collation centres.

“A few more hours are a small sacrifice to make sure we don’t have four more years of the mismanagement, incompetence and corruption of the Mahama-led NDC government.”

“Together, we have come this far. Vigilance is key for change,” a statement signed by John Boadu, acting General Secretary of the party, said.

Atmosphere

The elections were thought to be largely peaceful, with pockets of fracas in some parts of the country, whiles there appeared to be an appreciable voter turnout for the exercise.

Allegations of ballot snatching, intimidation of some voters by security personnel, particularly soldiers, were rife as voting proceeded.

The issue of missing names leading to possible disenfranchisement, dominated in many constituencies similar to what happened during the special voting.

Intimidation

Voting in the Ablekuma South Constituency in Accra was characterized by heightened tension with the presence of gun-wielding soldiers.

Hours after voting began on a good note, a team of gun-wielding military men stormed the area in droves, moving from one polling station to the other.

By that time, long queues had started forming at the various centres, with people anxious to cast their votes.

The mere sight of the gun-wielding soldiers put fear in some of the voters, considering the fact that there were no reported incidents of violence at the various polling stations.

Everywhere they went, these soldiers, wearing grim and long faces, ordered people who had formed long queues to rearrange themselves or got beaten, creating some level of apprehension among potential voters.

Some expressed concern about the way the soldiers were going about their duties since their posture was intimidating.

In one of such incidents which occurred at the Korle-Bu police station polling station, some of these overzealous soldiers in a truck with registration number 74 GA 60, went to the centre, issuing strict instructions for those who had formed queues to move back amidst threats to whip them.

In the process, one of the military men ordered a reporter of DAILY GUIDE to stop recording proceedings of whatever was happening.

Sometime in the day, agents of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) foiled attempts by some agents of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to confuse potential voters at Chorkor.

The Contenders

NPP presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, voted after 10:00 am in his hometown of Kyebi in the Eastern Region.

He then took to social media platform – Facebook – to urge people to go out and cast their ballots.

“I just voted at the Rock of Ages Polling Station in the Abuakwa South Constituency. I appeal passionately to all of you to go out and vote in an orderly and peaceful manner. There might be queues, there might be hold-ups and there might be some local difficulties, but I appeal to you to be tolerant and vigilant,” he urged.

He added, “Please be prepared to make the critical sacrifice of time. If we want change, we have to vote for change. I urge the Electoral Commission, security personnel and all the officials to do their work professionally. Let us make sure that the process is transparent and credible. Ghana is, then, the winner.”

His running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, voted in his hometown of Walewale in the Northern Region at about 9:44 am and was expected in Accra to monitor the situation.

Mahama

President John Mahama, who is seeking re-election, cast his vote in his hometown, Bole, in the Northern Region and took to social media – Twitter – to urge people to vote.

The NDC candidate tweeted: “Finished casting my vote. It’s your civic responsibility too. #Vote4JM.”

His wife, Lordina Mahama, voted at Rangoon Cluster of Schools polling station in the La Dadekotopon Constituency in Accra.

Veep

President Mahama’s running mate, Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, together with his wife Matilda, voted at about 11:30 am at a polling station at Accra High School and expressed his excitement with the voting system.

Smiles

Dr Bawumia expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the exercise, and remarked that “God will bring smiles on the faces of the NPP by the end of the day.”

He advised the people to comport themselves and refrain from engaging in any acts that would disturb the peace in the country.

He was accompanied by his wife, Hajia Samira Bawumia, who exercised her franchise at the Kperiga D/A Primary School Polling Station ‘B’ in the same constituency.

Ex-President J.A. Kufuor voted around mid-day at Dzorwulu, Accra in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency. Although he did not disclose his ballot, his comments showed clearly that he voted for change.

“I am very confident, I don’t talk 100 percent, but I expect Ghana will give it to NPP this time,” he said.

He further called for calm and admonished Ghanaians to eschew violence during the election process.

Ex-President J.J. Rawlings voted at Klottey Korley Constituency but shied away from stating that the party he founded (NDC) was going to win the election.

Speaking to journalists after casting his vote, he said he was impressed with the calm nature of the process and that he hoped it stayed throughout the process.

When asked whether he was confident of an NDC victory, Jerry Rawlings said, “God will deliver,” and when pushed further, he said, “to the one who deserves to win.”

Money Sharing

At Bawjiase in the Awutu Seya West Constituency of the Central Region, voters were allegedly being given money at some polling stations to induce voters to vote for Foreign Minister Hannah Tetteh – who is contesting on the ticket of the NDC – against George Andah of the NPP.

Later, Mr. Andah confirmed the incident but said he was not perturbed, adding that he was going to spring a surprise in the constituency.

By 2 pm yesterday, a good number of polling stations were almost empty and election officials and party agents were just waiting for the close of polls to do the counting.

By William Yaw Owusu & Charles Takyi-Boadu/dailyguideafrica.com

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