At the end of the balloting yesterday, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, managed to appear first on the ballot paper leaving behind his main contender, John Dramani Mahama, and ten others.
Representatives of all eligible political parties, 10 of them, took part in the balloting process, which took place at the headquarters of the Electoral Commission (EC) in Accra.
The process was in two rounds, with the first one determining in what order the parties would pick the ballot papers, with the second being the positions on the ballot papers.
Officially, President Akufo-Addo would be placed first, after the Director of Elections for the NPP, Evans Nimako, picked number four and one at the first and second ballots respectively.
The Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Peter Boamah-Otukornor, picked eight and two respectively for his candidate, John Mahama.
On the other hand, the Ghana Union Movement (GUM) will be third on the ballot paper. The Convention People’s Party (CPP) would be fourth, and number five would be the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP).
Also, the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) picked six, All People’s Congress (APC) seven, and Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) eight.
Further, the People’s National Convention (PNC) picked nine. The Progressive People’s Party, and the National Democratic Party (NDP), picked numbers 10 and 11 respectively.
However, the only independent candidate among the 11 contestants, Alfred Kwame Asiedu Walker, by convention, would be last on the ballot paper.
Drama ahead of balloting
When the Deputy Chairman, Operations, Samuel Tettey, announced the formalities for the balloting, Peter Boamah Otukornor of the NDC raised concerns.
He had issues with the decision of the Commission to call the parties according to the order of filing of nominations to choose a number to pick the actual place on the ballot paper.
The EC had explained it was adopting that formula due to the social distancing protocol associated with the coronavirus pandemic, an excuse the NDC rubbished.
In the spirit of transparency, Peter Boamah Otukornor criticised the failure of the Commission to openly fold the numbers for the balloting in the presence of the parties.
He sought to create the impression there was a grand scheme to hand over a particular number to a candidate, which he did not mention anyway.
Meanwhile, Mr Samuel Tettey stood his ground, insisting the Commission had laid down procedures for the balloting and would not deviate from that. As such, the EC had its way.
Reactions after balloting
After picking the positions, the representatives of the parties spoke to the media. Both scribes of the two major political parties, NDC and NPP, John Boadu and Peter Boamah Otukornor, gave some interesting interpretations into their respective numbers.
For the NPP, John Boadu, who is the General Secretary, indicated that the number one signified that the NPP was first in everything.
According to him, some key policy initiatives that have transformed the nation were first introduced by the NPP.
He believed that being number one on the ballot paper was easy for the electorates to identify their candidate, and to, without stress, vote for the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Otukornor, on the other hand, interpreted number two to mean the second coming of John Dramani Mahama.
He stated that the number was what the party expected, adding that it would be easy for their campaign.
Social Media interprets numbers
Meanwhile, minutes after the balloting ended, social media started buzzing with connotations.
Whereas supporters of the NDC claimed the NPP’s number one meant it would have only a term in office, the NPP also claimed that the NDC’s number two meant the second defeat of John Mahama.
Position on ballot papers years ago
Over the years, at least, from the 2000 general elections, positions on the ballot papers have become a key component in the whole electoral processes.
There have been instances where political parties use their positions on the ballot paper as campaign tags. In 2000, former President Kufuor had a tag of ‘asee ho,’ to wit, the bottom, indicating he was last on the ballot paper.
In 2004, he used ‘esoro ho,’ to wit, the top, when he was the first on the ballot paper. Then candidate Akufo-Addo, in 2008, also used ‘esoro ho’ for the same reason. In some instances, he would point his index finger in the air on campaign platforms.
Fast forward to 2016, we heard John 3:16. That was because Mr Mahama had picked number three on the ballot paper, and the election was in 2016. So, in effect, John 3:16, a quotation from the bible was used – For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.