Feature Article of Friday, 23 November 2012
Columnist: Tweneboah-Koduah, Nana Akua
By Nana Akua Tweneboah-Koduah
The flagbearer of the People’s National Convention, Mr. Hassan Ayariga, who almost pulled out of the 2nd and final presidential debate, became the unsung hero when he delivered series of heavy but biting political punches which dazed and finally unsettled the NPP Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo throughout the debate.
The packed debate organized by the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Accra, saw Hassan Ayariga go immediately for Akufo-Addo by casting an insinuation that he will never surround himself with drug barons or people with questionable characters if voted into power, a reference to Akufo-Addo who is accused of issuing a diplomatic passport to his drug baron cousin, Raymond Amankwah, who is currently languishing in jail in far away Brazil.
Mr. Ayariga who came prepared to make a stake for the presidency clearly stated that a PNC administration under him will not tolerate corruption and will support institutions that fight corruption with logistics. Ayariga made it known that he will never be like Akufo-Addo who was part of Kufuor’s administration but institutionalized corruption. Ghanaians will remember Kufuor for his famous declaration that, “Corruption started with Adam” and therefore it’s no big deal to have corrupt men/women in his administration.
Akufo-Addo who was suddenly taken aback by that jab from Ayariga was clearly stunned when it was his turn to answer the question bothering on crime/corruption. This set the tone for the night as Ayariga who seemed like possessed continued to put Akufo-Addo’s credibility and competence as the country’s potential Commander-in-Chief in doubt.
Mr. Ayariga who drew series of applauses from the audience stated that he will review the bad oil agreements signed by the Kufuor administration which gave 3% of the oil stake to some NPP cronies if given the nod as president. He told the crowd that he will draw inspiration from ex-president JJ Rawlings who took the bull by the horn and reviewed the Valco contract which led to some gains to Ghana.
Mr. Ayariga lambasted Akufo-Addo of being a sore loser in the last presidential election in 2008 when he filed a court injunction on a holiday to cancel the announcement of the results. He, therefore, asked the three contestants at the debate notably Akufo-Addo, President Mahama and Dr. Abu Sakara Foster to pledge there and then that if they lose the up-coming elections to him they will concede defeat and not resort to any feet dragging tactics.
The day was definitely not for Akufo-Addo who was clearly shaken and with his confidence almost lost looked like somebody who did not want to debate that night. The way he responded to questions with his winding and uninspiring answers left many NPP bigwigs and supporters who had gathered at the Banquet Hall shaking their heads in disbelief and in disappointment.
This was the debate that the NPP folks have been yearning for as the icing on the presidential cake for Nana Akufo-Addo, whereby they had looked forward to Akufo-Addo to put President Mahama on the defense and lay his so-called policy vision for the country. But Akufo-Addo simply showed that he lacked what it takes to be Commander-in-Chief as he showed up with empty rhetoric and got out with loads of jabs from Ayariga.