Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and President John Mahama
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been gripped by what political connoisseurs describe as Nanaphobia, following the declaration by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) 2012 presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,that he would contest for the 2016 presidential race.
Barely an hour after Nana Akufo-Addo had declared that he was ready to contest again in 2016 if the NPP opened nominations later in the year, the ruling NDC was running helter skelter, trying to pour cold water on the effect of his announcement.
The thunderous reception that greeted Nana Addo’s intent appeared to have put the NDC in a panic mood.
The NDC hurriedly organized a news conference at its Kokomlemle headquarters, addressed by its General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, claiming to welcome Nana Akufo-Addo’s decision to contest, before saying that it was another opportunity to defeat and politically retire him in 2016.
The NDC, since Akufo-Addo’s announcement, has been coming out with theories, including their latest propaganda that Nana is too old to become President – knowing that the race for president has no age limit.
The top figures of the party have been hopping from one radio station to another in panic, trying to poison the political atmosphere as if Nana Akufo-Addo had already been selected as the NPP’s candidate for 2016.
The NDC is even devoting more time and resources to stop Nana Akufo-Addo, instead of finding solutions to the ailing economy, coupled with the current energy crisis – problems that can bring the government down.
In spite of the government’s waning popularity over unresolved social and economic challenges, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia bragged that the NPP had made the 2016 campaign very easy for them because Akufo-Addo is no threat to the NDC.
‘We know how to beat him; we will sharpen our campaign skills and give him a third time defeat,’ he said.
‘In terms of age and energy to prosecute an effective campaign, we have a huge advantage over him. The NPP would have been better-off electing a younger person to lead the party in 2016,’ he said.
Kobina Ade Coker
Greater Accra NDC Chairman, Kobina Ade Coker who is facing stiff opposition by Henry Manly-Spain, also entered the fray with his ‘theory’ that Nana Akufo-Addo is too tired to vie for the presidency for the third time.
He described the possibility of Nana Akufo-Addo taking on the NDC’s John Mahama in the 2016 as a mismatch.
Mr. Ade Coker said. ‘If Nana Addo wins the NPP flagbearer contest, it will be a cool chop for President Mahama,’ forgetting that the ‘youthful president’ who was born after independence, has woefully failed to deliver.
Kwabena Adjei Factor
Dr. Kwabena Adjei
NDC National Chairman Dr. Kwabena Adjei also joined the debate, saying his party was not scared of Nana Akufo-Addo’s declaration to run again.
He claimed, ‘I know that we have a group of NDC people who are unwavering in the way they vote. There’s no way Nana Akufo-Addo will get some of our people to add to his vote. We are going to capture more NPP people.’
Ofosu Ampofo’s Take
Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, a former minister who was recently appointed Board Chairman of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), said the return of Nana Akufo-Addo ‘is nothing new under the sun.’
He said the comeback would not be any novelty in Ghana’s politics and therefore asked Ghanaians to stop making “noise” about it because in his view, ‘it’s not news whether Nana Addo decides to contest or not…I’m not sure it’s news.’
Tony Aidoo’s Input
Dr Tony Aidoo
Perhaps, the only NDC stalwart who appeared to sound a note of caution to the ruling party following Nana Akufo-Addo’s declaration was the Ambassador-designate to the Netherlands, Dr. Tony Aidoo.
The former Head of Policy, Monitoring and Evaluation said the declaration should stir up the John Mahama administration to live up to expectation or risk being kicked out of government.
He said he believed Nana Akufo-Addo’s return to politics would intensify competition ahead of the 2016 general elections.
‘Nana Addo’s declaration to stand is good from the national interest point of view; it means that it intensifies competition and it should also be a wake-up call for the Mahama administration…
‘It’s going to be a match between the youth and the aged to the extent that the Mahama administration must put its confidence in the youth, and it means that that administration must not fail because if it does…the electorate will then think that this group is not delivering what we want…’
Dr. Richard Amoako Baah
However, Head of Political Science Department at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr. Richard Amoako Baah, described as ‘absurd’ and ‘flawed’ argument that old age is an impediment to political leadership.
According to him, age has no role to play in running for political leadership as long as the candidate is psychologically and morally sound.
‘If you are running a country you don’t need strength. If you are doing okay in the normal sense, that is even good enough. It takes brains and it’s only in Ghana that we behave as if you have to be a strong man.
‘What? That you have to be a ‘machoman’ because you are going to take ‘macho’ decisions? Is that what they mean? It takes brains, determination, commitment, integrity, truthfulness and all of these things,’ he said.
Still interrogating the argument, Dr. Amoako Baah asked whether Nana Addo had lost all these qualities and charged them to provide evidence to prove so if they had any.
‘If he was good enough a year ago, why are we saying this now? Do they mean one year has changed him; he has become demented now in the spate of a year?’ he questioned with surprise.
He said that it was a personal decision Nana Akufo-Addo had taken and that it depended on the power of the majority of Ghanaians to accept or reject him.
Age Not Barrier
Executive Director of policy Think-Tank, IMANI-Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, rubbished suggestions that Nana Akufo-Addo should take a back stage in Ghanaian politics due to his age.
Contributing to Citi FM’s current affairs and news analysis programme, The Big Issue, Franklin Cudjoe disagreed with such political pundits and said that age did not matter in politics.
‘Age should not be a determining factor when one is seeking the highest office of the Presidency. First they said this man was a cocaine dealer; he doesn’t smile and that he is arrogant but he got five million votes during the last elections.’
He said politicians should decouple age from who is qualified to lead the country as President.
‘We need to understand that if we do not delink the issues of age from the way we do our national politics, we will be running ourselves down.’
By William Yaw Owusu
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