Mahama�s Call For Debate, Will Nana Addo Accept The Challenge?

Ghana’s 2016 elections will be very crucial. The two major political parties, NDC and NPP especially, will leave nothing to chance. It’s going to be a do-or-die affair, something a section of the public abhors. This will probably be Nana Akufo-Addo’s last attempt at the Presidency and whether the transformation agenda NDC touts is really changing lives to merit another term is yet to be seen come Nov 7.

So what really will inform the strategies? For President John Mahama, it will be what he describes as an evidence based campaign and the NPP obviously will hammer home what it believes is government’s failures. Or does the NPP have a message which it will sell to the electorates?

But President John Mahama has thrown out an open challenge. ‘I am willing to debate Nana Akufo Addo any day, ………… Indeed he has made a lot of contentious statements I wish to debate him on”. It’s a call many floating voters especially should be interested in.

When President John Mahama delivered the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the biggest opposition party, NPP responded with what it called the True SONA. NDC replied insisting there were some factual inaccuracies. One issue that dominated the debate was the Hohoe township roads and the debate about under which regime some key roads were constructed. The discourse was healthy because it gave a direction to journalists and the general public and now we are well informed who told the truth.

President John Mahama in his exclusive interview with TV3’s Bridget Otoo on their flagship morning show programme New Day raised critical issues that Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, the ‘messiah economist’, the ‘economic whiz kid’ must respond to.

President Mahama in that interview said; “The basis for economic growth and progress is putting in the relevant social and economic infrastructure. It helps to promote investment, it attracts Foreign Direct Investment, … of the ways of stimulating growth is through public works. In building the hospitals, the schools, roads etc, Ghanaian companies are in charge, creating jobs for the people”

He adds “we are doing the best we can and the point is, there is a lot of exaggeration about borrowing. Borrowing has not been excessive, one of the political leaders says this government alone has borrowed over 37 billion dollars in 7 years.  The total debt of Ghana as of today from Independence is 24 billion, how can this government alone borrow 37 billion?  Does it make Mathematical sense? We must tell the people the truth. You can’t lie your way to power.

He was obviously reacting to claims by Nana Addo’s running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, that the Mahama Administration has weakened the country's economy through reckless borrowing.

Dr. Bawumia who has been consistent about his claim re-emphasized it in a lecture on the topic “The Role of Financial Discipline and Investment In National Development” at the University for Development Studies, Wa Campus recently.

As an ordinary citizen who lives at Nungua, I recall the days just before the 2008 elections when I used to wake up before 4am to avoid the heavy traffic on along the beach road to my office and spend time after work at a pub sometimes till 10pm to avoid extra stress in the traffic. The road then was narrow, full of potholes and the wear and tear was hell.

Today I have three major access routes,… dual carriage asphalted road from Tebibianor through the back of Burma Camp to link the Giffard road, the dusty bush road through Zenith College to the Trade Fair Site at La which was virtually not user friendly is now tarred giving a facelift to Chaado and of course the evidence on the old beach road to Teshie is verifiable.

Yes, lives have been touched. Hours spent on the road have been drastically reduced, cost of repair on damaged vehicles has been slashed and the examples may go on and on. That’s my personal testimony and I need to be convinced what I benefit from today isn’t changing or haven’t transformed lives in my community.

John Mahama and the NDC will showcase what have been achieved. They are building on and the onus lies on the opposition to prove that what they see around them are irrelevant. Some residents of Accra New Town recently remarked that something very frightening was happening in Accra under John Mahama.  They said that Accra residents would go to bed, wake up to see that the dusty untarred roads in front of their houses have been asphalted by Ghanaian road contractors who worked throughout the night. Marvelous indeed!! One of the marvels of Accra was for commuters to drive on asphalt roads from Pig Farm through Accra New Town to Kwame Nkrumah Circle. Fabulous asphalt road in a part of Accra whose roads had been neglected for a very long time.

A debate between the two political giants, Nana Akufo-Addo and John Mahama whose parties dominate the political landscape will be an interesting one. The issues raised can definitely be verified by the Think Tanks, Civil Society, you and I. The debate will certainly be evidenced based and can be subjected to strict proof.

Is Nana Akufo-Addo ready to face President John Mahama? If he fails, will it score points for the NDC that he has chickened out?

If I were him, I would go all out for it, since this is his last chance. Nana must demonstrate his do or die spirit and go for the kill. Especially as he has always willed and wished to win power at all cost.

Because the NPP as Andrew Awuni, former Spokesperson of ex-President Kufuor recently said, ‘is not attractive to financiers and the 71-year old [turns 72 this 29th March] political veteran may not have the energy for an all-round campaign across the length and breadth of mother Ghana.”  This may be his best opportunity to catch the undecided voter before it’s too late. I can’t wait to hear his response. John Mahama has dared Nana Akufo-Addo to a debate, now, now now! Will Nana accept it or chicken out? The jury is out there!!!!!