In 72 hours, Ghanaians will go to the polls to decide which political party and its presidential candidate should lead the nation for the next four years. Already, several electoral polls have predicted a one-touch victory for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and its candidate, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
These polls, some of which the largest opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described as not credible, come at a time when campaigns have intensified for both sides of the political divide.
The NDC has been preaching for a comeback on the fact that they have better policies than the ruling NPP.
The NDC wants Ghanaians to vote them to roll out a GH¢10 billion big push programme to support small and startup businesses to grow. They also are campaigning on the introduction of ‘Operation Sting to Fight Corruption.’
The NDC has also promised to legalise the commercial aspect of motorcycle operations, popularly known as okada, even though they banned it under their last government. They say that in consultation with the Muslim community, mortuaries would be built where necessary.
The party has also said it would review the famous free Senior High School policy, and also take steps to end the double track system.
Further, it promised to absorb half of the total admission fee for all fresh students at the tertiary level for the 2021/2022 Academic Year. But, the NDC, strangely, just a few days back, issued a statement to amend their manifesto. The change was that it was now going to absorb all the fees, a move which has been ridiculed by their opponent, who believes the NDC is frustrated by the signs on the wall, which tell of their second defeat.
Earlier, the flagbearer of the NDC, John Dramani Mahama, had openly stated that he introduced the free SHS, a statement which received the wrath of a section of Ghanaians, particularly NPP supporters.
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his two-day tour of the Greater Accra Region last week, took time to jibe his opponent for that claim.
He referred to some ill comments the latter had made about the policy, and asked if he could be taken seriously with his U-turn.
Before the campaigns got intense, some political analysts had predicted that the Free SHS was going to have centre stage of the campaign, because of its effects on the ordinary Ghanaian. Some had even said the programme was going to be the decider in this election.
For President Akufo-Addo, he moved around the country and never missed a chance to talk about his baby, the Free SHS policy. He added more energy into that when he had to respond to Mr Mahama’s claim, where he stated categorically that Mr Mahama made that claim because his “campaign was failing to catch up with the electorate. He has seen that his campaign is collapsing in confusion, outright fabrications, lies and misrepresentations.”
The NPP campaign has largely rested on the introduction of the Free SHS, One District One Factory, One Village One Dam, One Constituency One Ambulance, and a host of others.
All these are but stock-taking, having promised the electorate in 2016.
The NPP campaign, after highlighting the progress made so far, goes ahead to ask for another term to consolidate those gains.
The President in particular kept saying in almost all his remarks that he came to the people in 2016 with some promises, based on which he was elected, and that he had come back to account for his stewardship in the last four years, and if it was satisfactory, he should be given four more years to build a “house of prosperity” on the foundation he had laid in his first term.
Aside the campaign messages, polls have been conducted by several organisations, in which many, if not all, project Akufo-Addo as the victor, with not less than 50% of the total votes.
Among others, the survey conducted by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Political Science Department of the University of Ghana projects Akufo-Addo to be the winner. The University of Ghana polls, for instance, predicts a 51.7% and 40.4% win to Akufo-Addo and Mahama respectively.
In his latest poll, pollster Ben Ephson predicted victory for President Akufo-Addo and the NPP in the December 7 elections.
Ben Ephson says President Akufo-Addo would secure 52.6%, while John Mahama would garner 45.7 % of the total votes cast in the presidential race.
Like the other surveys, Ben Ephson posited factors such as the Free SHS, nursing, and teacher trainee allowances, and the fight against the Coronavirus, and others as the reasons behind the prediction.
Meanwhile, the Governance Research Bureau has also predicted that the December 7, 2020 presidential election may not produce a winner, as none of the candidates is estimated to poll more than 50 per cent of the votes.
A release signed by Mohammed Affum, Coordinator for the organisation, said based on its analysis of the Electoral Commission (EC) certified results since 1992, and the 2020 voters register, the Bureau estimated that Akufo-Addo would poll 49.19 per cent, with Mahama taking 48.27 per cent.
Nonetheless, the two major contenders out of the 12 are confident their candidate would win the election. But, when the dust settles, latest by December 9, 2020, each of them may have seen their smoothness level.
For us at The Chronicle, we wish all the aspirants well, and may the best candidate come out victorious.