General News of Sunday, 13 December 2015
It is not a common phenomenon to find people jubilate over the defeat of others in any life endeavor particularly when there is no evidence of enmity, envy or hatred between them.
But this is not the case for the 2012 Presidential Candidate of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Hassan Ayariga, who was defeated in the party’s congress on Saturday.
Mr. Ayariga, an accountant and entrepreneur, 44, was defeated by Dr. Edward Mahama, a seventy year old gynaecologist, who after unsuccessfully leading the party from 1996 to 2008, staged a surprise comeback.
The reactions to his defeat mostly from non- PNC members, is that of ecstasy.
When Mr. Ayariga was handed the baton in 2012, members of the PNC and observers were optimistic he could reinvigorate the party to improve its fortunes in the 2012 elections, because of his youthfulness, but that was not to be.
The image of the PNC appears to have been badly dented with many describing Mr. Ayariga as a ‘political comedian’ as he became popular not for the intelligence and character he exhibited, but merely for the ‘jokes’ he churned out.
Mr. Ayariga’s commentaries on governance issues were seen as shallow particularly when he appeared on the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) organized Presidential debate ahead of the 2012 elections.
At that debate, Mr. Ayariga who coughed repeatedly and intermittently when it was his turn to answer questions later earned the nickname ‘Ayaricough’ and got many Ghanaians ridiculing him on radio, television and on social media platforms.
For most observers, his inclusion in that race was only good because he spiced up a rather serious contest with a bit of humor and not because he had anything good to offer the electorate to convince them to vote for the PNC.
Indeed, the observers were not wrong as the PNC’s votes dwindled rather drastically from its previous performances when Dr. Edward Mahama was in charge.
PNC’s performance in previous polls
In 1996, Dr. Edward Mahama had 3.0% of the vote in the presidential election.
In his second attempt at the presidency in 2000, Dr. Mahama had 2.5% of the votes.
In preparation for the 2004 presidential election, the PNC and two other parties – Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE) and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) formed an alliance known as the Grand Coalition and chose Dr. Mahama as its presidential candidate.
He placed third out of four of the votes.
Mahama was again elected as the Presidential Candidate for the PNC in the December 7, 2008 presidential elections.
Hassan Ayariga polled a paltry 0.22% of the votes in the 2012 elections.
It therefore may not come as a surprise that Mr. Hassan Ayariga has lost the race to lead the party for the second time despite reports that he induced delegates with freebies at the Wa Congress in the Upper West Region.
It must however be noted that Dr. Edward Mahama won by a slim margin after polling 492 votes with Ayariga managing 426.
Public reactions to Ayariga’s defeat
A quick sample of reactions to Mr. Ayariga’s defeat on social media specifically Citifmonline’s Facebook page, showed that people are elated at his loss.
Except for a few who thought Dr. Edward Mahama’s comeback will not make any difference, the majority are of the view that the delegates of the PNC have chosen wisely by voting out a “joker’ from Ghana’s politics.
Regardless of the jubilation, a few also think that the “humorous’ part of the politics will be missing in the lead up to the 2016 elections, particularly if a debate for presidential candidates is held. `
Some also suggested that the delegates have voted out a mole of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) since Mr. Ayariga appeared to be in bed with the incumbent government and had allegedly been sponsored to win the election.