The flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged voters to consider the hardship they have been through in the past eight years under the NDC government, when they go to the polls on Wednesday, December 7.
He said the general elections on Wednesday, would present an opportunity for Ghanaians to vote out President John Mahama in order to change the economic fortunes of the country.
Addressing thousands of supporters at the party’s final national rally organised at the Trade Fair Centre in Accra yesterday, Nana Akufo-Addo urged Ghanaians to vote massively for him to redeem the country from the current economic hardships and mismanagement by the Mahama-led government.
“We will bring jobs and improve the living conditions of Ghanaians. I am not going to steal; that is not why I am running. We want to bring relief to Ghanaians and implement policies that will bring development,” he said.
Mr. Akufo-Addo said the country was endowed with natural resources and yet, its people were living in abject poverty due to the mismanagement of the government.
If given the mandate on Wednesday, he said he would invest the country’s resources in the people to improve their standard of living, and build a strong economy that would create jobs.
“The president is mocking me because I am begging Ghanaians. I will continue to beg Ghanaians to vote for me because they hold the power to determine who becomes president. I am pleading with you to give me the mandate to restore the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which has been bedeviled with challenges. I plead with you to give me the mandate to restore the allowances to trainee nurses and teachers,” he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo told the gathering that a government under his leadership would bear the cost of senior high school education for every child, and promised to build an all-inclusive government which would leave no one behind.
He said the party had done it before, and still had the people who could help manage the economy better than the NDC, and entreated the electorate to vote for the NPP to bring back progress and prosperity to the country.
“John Dramani Mahama and the NDC inherited an economy growing at 9 per cent without oil, and this year, we are going to have the lowest economy over the past two decades and he still wants to be President. He is a threat to the future of the economy,” he said.
According to the NPP’s flagbearer, the NDC had peddled falsehood against him and his running mate because they had no better message for Ghanaians.
“I have not killed anybody and I am not corrupt. You should not heed to the lies and fabrications about me and my running mate,” he said, and urged voters to ignore such allegations.
He took a swipe at President Mahama for his “divisive language” and accused the President of trying to set tribes against tribes.
“We are going to have the opportunity to tell him that is not what the people of Ghana want. We want a one united indivisible country. We are not going to engage in the tribal politics by the NDC,” he said.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor urged the electorate to vote for the NPP’s presidential candidate on Wednesday, because he was the right leader to redeem the country from its current challenges.
“We are not joking. You are voting for your future. You will live better lives and your children will be better off. We are at the crossroad and the right leadership is with the NPP led by Nana Addo, supported by Dr. Bawumia,” he said.
The former President said the NPP had a better track record of development, and indicated that the party lifted the country from extreme poverty in 2001 and built a strong economy.
“One of the key people who helped move the country from HIPC and positioned it to the path of growth are still with the party and they are willing to even do better,” he said.
“Let us vote wisely for the love of our country, ourselves, and our children’s children, and I am sure that the Good Lord will give us victory. God has spoken and he says this year’s election belongs to the NPP. NPP is the biggest party in Ghana and we must show them that we are, indeed, the biggest party in the country,” he said.
The vice presidential candidate, Bawumia, said the election was about the future of the country, and urged Ghanaians not to leave anything to chance.
“Wednesday’s election is going to be a contest between corruption and incorruptibility, a man of vision and a man who cannot think far. All of us have to vote and stay for the votes to be counted until Nana Addo is declared the president,” he stated.
“We need change because over the last eight years, this NDC government has demonstrated that they are incompetent at running the country,” he said.
Dr. Bawumia said under former President Kufuor, the NPP grew the economy from three per cent to nine per cent in eight years, with several policies and programmes introduced to improve the standard of living in the country.
“Under the NPP, the economy grew, taxes were reduced, we moved from three per cent to nine per cent in eight years, and paid teacher training and nursing training allowances. We brought development in eight years with only GH¢20 billion”
“This government after eight years, has had more resources than all government from Nkrumah to Kufuor. They have spent GH¢248 billion and yet, they cannot pay for NHIS, youth employment, school feeding, free maternal attendance, teacher training, nursing training and mass cocoa spraying. Electricity costs us more than necessary. This is the government of John Mahama.
Dr. Bawumia said the NPP did so much with little, while the NDC had done little with so much because the NPP was better at managing the economy than the current government.”
He assured that the party would reduce the tax burden of Ghanaians, build an inclusive government, restore the teacher and nursing training allowances, build dams across the villages, and bring major change.
A leading member of the party, Allan Kwadwo Kyerematen said the hardship Ghanaians were going through was genuine, and urged them to blame the Mahama-led government for their problems.
The standard of living under the NDC, he said, had worsened in the past eight years and it would further worsen if the NDC was given 12 years in government.
Mr Kyerematen said, the NPP, within eight years, introduced policies such as the National Health Insurance Scheme, Free Maternal Health Care, School Feeding Programme, among others, to improve the standard of living, and added that the next NPP government would implement such policies to improve the living condition of Ghanaians.
“When you make Akufo-Addo president on Wednesday, there will be jobs for the youth. We are not just saying it, we have the plan and we can deliver. The plan is there. Every district of Ghana will have a factory, and the factory will create jobs. You do not need to go abroad to look for jobs. There will be factories in your districts and you will get the employment,” he said.
The party’s Acting National Chairman, Freddy Blay, urged supporters to be rest assured because Nana Akufo-Addo would be declared the president of the country by Thursday.
He said the party’s campaign team had visited every corner of the country with its message of change, and urged all voters not to make any excuse not to vote because their votes were necessary to bring change.
“A victory for Nana Addo is not victory for just the NPP. It is victory for the entire country. It is victory against corruption and greed,” he said.
The acting General Secretary, John Boadu, also supported the call on the party’s supporters to go out in their numbers to vote massively for the flagbearer on Wednesday.
He said the date for voting would not be extended to Thursday, and urged voters to try and vote on Wednesday.
The Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, told voters to vote massively for their party’s parliamentary aspirants, while voting for Nana Addo.
He said an Akufo-Addo-led government would invest in the development of the country, and would not supervise corruption like the current government.
Other speakers at the function were Mrs. Samira Bawumia, wife of the vice presidential candidate; disqualified presidential candidate for the Independent People’s Party, Kofi Apaloo; disqualified Independent presidential candidate, Akwasi Addai Odike; the secretary of the All People’s Congress, Razak Kojo Poku, who recently declared his support for Akuffo Addo, former Youth Organiser of the People’s National Congress (PNC), Abu Rahaman, among others.
By Kingsley Asare and Yaw Kyei