The 2012 presidential candidate of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Hassan Ayariga, has launched an unprovoked attack on the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, describing him as corrupt.
In what looks like a new wave of vitriolic onslaught, Ayariga went as far as dragging Nana Addo’s late father, onetime President of Ghana Edward Akufo-Addo, into the attack.
He left out the ruling party, which political observers believed that he was in bed with, and turned his guns on Akufo-Addo.
That was during a recent visit to the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua, where the man, whose seeming coughing record during an IEA presidential debate earned him the nickname ‘Ayari-cough’, sought to denigrate the NPP presidential candidate for 2016, justifying why he had not spared Akufo-Addo his constant vitriolic attacks before some PNC members.
In his attempt to catch votes from the potential delegates of the PNC, Ayariga first suggested that Akufo-Addo did not mean well with his promise to provide ‘free secondary education’ when elected President during the 2012 electioneering campaign.
‘I am going to tell you three reasons why I attacked Akufo-Addo…because you have sent me to the war without guns and without ammunitions and I’m going to use my weapons to fight so let me use my weapons and tell you why I fought him,’ was his prelude.
He then proceeded thus: ‘Number one; Akufo-Addo said that he was going to give us free education and for that matter Ghanaians should vote for him so that he will give us free education.’
Ayariga told the gathering, most of who did not seem to be paying much attention to his address in view of his occasional appeals for them to pay attention and keep quiet and listen, that ‘I said Akufo-Addo even in my manifesto, it’s there…but the point is that I cannot build this house in one day and you’re telling me that you want to build it one day…no, it’s not possible.’
His defence was that the late President Nkrumah gave the three northern regions free education, ‘that means if you were a southerner living in the northern part of Ghana, you will have free education; if you are a northerner and you are living in the southern part, you will pay for the education; looking at the geographical area and the wealth distribution.’
That, he said, was because the three northern regions did not have enough wealth.
In an angry tone, however, Ayariga claimed, ‘And Akufo-Addo’s father came and said ‘hey boys scrap that thing off. If the northerners cannot pay for their school, they should go and rear cattle and goats and they scrapped it off.’
He then asked those who were ignorant about his claims to go and check the records.
The former PNC flagbearer also sought to tag Nana Akufo-Addo with whatever sins he believed the latter’s father might have committed, saying, ‘Now you come again and sit on the same platform today because you want to be President…you had the power in 2000 and 2008, you could not do the free education and now you are telling Ghanaians ‘vote for me so that I will give you back what my father took away from you’, asking the gathering whether it made sense.
‘…And I said, in the first place, it will not happen; in the second place, our parents are paying for the fees…go to the northern part of Ghana, they are sitting on stones…some of them are sitting under tents. When it is raining, they run back home because there are no classes. Some of them, they have classrooms but they have few teachers—three or four teachers—so one will teach this class, he will leave…I say look even when they are paying, you are not able to give them better education; what if they are not paying?’ he asked rhetorically.
Ayariga also questioned Akufo-Addo’s claim to be incorruptible, saying, ‘I laughed and laughed and laughed; even though I was coughing and drinking but I laughed.’
He recalled how the smaller political parties supported the NPP in the year 2000 to snatch power from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which had been ruling for close to 19 years and how the NPP made one of PNC’s own, Mallam Yusif Issah, a Minister of Youth and Sports but was hit with a corruption scandal.
According to him, ‘they tagged Mallam Issah, took away $46,000 and said Mallam Issah was corrupt; for that matter PNC was a corrupt party and they put Mallam Issah to jail [sic]’ at a time Akufo-Addo was the Attorney General.
Interestingly, he alleged, ‘And the same year MV Benjamin cocaine saga, there was a document [sic]; a big document like this. They were supposed to prosecute people who brought that cocaine; under his (Akufo-Addo’s) watch,…got missing and that one, they did not jail him for that document worth more than $460 million…and you think that man is not corrupt?’
When the answers were not forthcoming, he demanded a response from the crowd: ‘That man and Mallam Issah who is more corrupt?’, with a subtle response emanating from one or two people, ‘That man’.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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