The evening of the 9th of December 2016 is a night Ghanaians would forever remember and it would go down in the country’s history books as a very momentous one. This the night in which the leader of the largest opposition party in Ghana that is the New Patriotic Party (N.P.P.). Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo defeated the incumbent president, John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (N.D.C.) after a keenly contested election which had taken place two days earlier. President Mahama’s concession followed by the subsequent announcement and declaration by the E.C. chairwoman, Madam Charlotte Osei of Nana Akufo- Addo as President elect of the republic of Ghana further helped to strengthen Ghana’s democratic credentials making the country live up its reputation as the beacon of democracy in Africa. The President’s concession speech followed by Nana Addo’s victory and acceptance speech was a classic display of African diplomacy at its best.
Nana Akufo – Addo’s rise to the highest office in the land can be likened to a telenovela story. It is a story of great personal pain which eventually leads to triumph. As a matter of fact, it is a story which spans a period of eighteen (18) years. I repeat eighteen (18) years! Eighteen (18) years of character assassination, insults, young people who boast of no major personal achievement except that of attaining ministerial positions question your credibility and credentials. Credibility which was built years ago in the legal sector and through human rights advocacy. Again I stress eighteen (18) years! Let that sink in. What are you passionate about? What are you resilient about? How many of us would be willing to sacrifice eighteen (18) years of our lives for a cause we believe in? Nana Addo’s story is a testament to the old rhetoric of ‘Never Giving Up’ in the midst of trials and tribulations. Whenever I think about this story, I am reminded of a saying of Les Brown the famous American motivational speaker in his book ‘Live Your Dreams’ in which he said and I quote “ It is one thing to have faith and exude happiness when all is well in your life, but to handle misfortune and turmoil with a similar grace is an entirely different matter.’ This is a lesson which should drive and inspire us to tap into our inner positive energies to achieve personal goals irrespective of the challenges we face.
Another key to the victory of the President elect and his party all boils down to effective preparation. The need for preparation in any field of endeavor cannot be overemphasized enough. Preparation is one of the key elements which determines failure or success in any personal or collective undertaking. A careful look at the campaign strategies of both the ruling N.D.C . and the opposition N.P.P. and the outcome of the 2016 general election clearly demonstrates which of the two parties had the most effective campaign strategy. The N.D.C. campaigned on a message of continuity, urging the electorate to keep them in power to continue their ‘unprecedented’ infrastructural projects. However many political pundits have intimated that the N.D.C failed to drive home this message effectively. They have been accused of deviating from their core campaign message and rather chose to resort to personal attacks on the opposition candidate. This strategy worked for them in the 2008 and 2012 elections. However, it did not work this time around as the N.P.P. countered and called the government out on many corruption scandals carried in both thee print and electronic media. The N.P. P. criticized government’s handling of the Woyome judgement debt scandal and the Smartys deal in the branding of government procured buses. They were very effective in churning out a strategy which attacked the government’ credibility in managing corruption issues and scandals. Corruption was one of the major issues the electorate considered in choosing who their next president would be and Nana Addo was seen as the preferred candidate over President John Mahama in dealing with corruption. I believe the N.P.P. came out hungrier, poised and ready for battle having tasted two electoral defeats and being in opposition for eight years.
The N.P.P’s preparedness and tactics leading up this election was so remarkable in the sense that, one of their prominent lawyers in the person of Akoto Ampaw together with a former Director of Research at Parliament, Kwesi Nyame Tease-Eshun filed a successful lawsuit at the supreme court which exposed flaws in the CI 94, a new law which governed the 2016 elections. The supreme court in its ruling ordered the E.C. to provide collation sheets to all party agents a the close of polls. According to the N.P.P. , this was the ruling which turned this election in their favour because they had accused E.C officials in 2012 of changing figures in their 2012 election petition. This helped the party to effectively collate all the results from 275 constituencies 8 hours after the close of polls. They were able to predict victory for their presidential candidate at a time the Electoral Commission seemed not have the full complement of the needed data at the national collation center. They employed the services of Joe Anokye- a telecommunications engineering service manager at NASA to help them with their collation ahead of the E.C. Also having served as a Presiding officer for the E. C. in this election, I observed the difference between the party agents of both parties. Whilst the N. D.C . agents were enjoying themselves with fast food from ‘Papaye’ and assorted soft drinks, the NPP agents were vigilant from the start of to the close of polls. It seemed the NDC agents were so sure of victory that they were relaxed and at times displayed seemed to display arrogant posturing.
This raises one important question. As individuals or corporate bodies, how far are we willing to go to achieve our desired goals and objectives? A lot of us fail to adequately plan and prepare for victories in our lives and personal fields of endeavour. I am of the belief that even if it is a miracle we seek, our minds and our spirits must be adequately prepared to attain the particular miracle we desire. The great civil-rights leader Whitney Young once said “it is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” In fact as we approach the end of the year, a lot of us have made new years resolutions. If this eighteen year old story of resilience, faith and preparation from the N.P.P. and its Presidential candidate does not motivate you to work on your dreams, then frankly I don’t know what else will.
I conclude this write up leaving you with these questions to ponder on. What is it that you desire to achieve? What personal sacrifices are you willing to make in order to achieve your desire? Would you he willing to follow your desired objective even if it means failing over and over again and most importantly, how prepared are you to achieve your desire?
Story by: Kwaku Duah