The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that, unlike President Mahama, he will never tell the people of his home region to vote for him simply because he hails from there.

According to Nana Akufo-Addo, he has and will never campaign along the lines of ethnicity and tribalism, but, will rather campaign on the basis of competence, coupled with programmes and policies that will return Ghana onto the path of progress and prosperity.

Nana Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, November 17, 2016, whilst campaigning in Osino, the Fanteakwa South constituency of the Eastern Region, on the 3rd day of his 4-day tour of the Eastern Region.

It will be recalled that on November 10, 2012, at a mini-rally in Zualerigu in the Upper East Region, President Mahama called on Northerners to vote for him “because I am a northerner.”

Four years on, Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, has been reinforcing the President’s unfortunate statements in his campaigns in the North, urging the people of the 3 Northern Regions to vote for President Mahama, because “it will be extremely difficult for a Northerner to get to the Presidency again if President Mahama loses.”

These statements, according to the NPP flagbearer, do not have any place in a democracy, and are messages that will only come from persons and political parties who have no campaign message for the electorate, and will prefer to set tribe against tribe in order to win an election.

“I am not appealing for your votes not on the basis that I am from the Eastern Region or from Okyeman. No. I am appealing for your support so I can go into office and implement the programmes and policies I have outlined all throughout my campaign, and before you today, so we can bring progress and prosperity to all in the country,” he said.

He continued, “Someone went to the Northern Region and his sole message to the people was that ‘vote for me because I’m a northerner’. However, it is under his tenure that the people of the North have witnessed unprecedented levels of poverty. That is not the kind of job I want to do.”

Revival of NHIS

Outlining some his policies to the people of Fanteakwa South, Nana Akufo-Addo stated that if we are to make any meaningful progress in nation-building then Ghanaians have to be healthy.

According to him, the last NPP government, led by President Kufuor, introduced the NHIS to remove the constant fear of falling ill under the inhumane Cash & Carry system. However, he noted that it has been painful to watch the NDC government, over the last 7 years, do its best to collapse the NHIS.

The Mahama government, Akufo-Addo stated, has created so much instability in the system, so much so that Ghanaians no longer have confidence in the scheme.

“I am coming to revive the National Health Insurance Scheme, which ensured that the poor in society gained access to healthcare without the financial burden which used to be associated with healthcare delivery (under the cash and carry regime),” he said.

Job Creation

In addition to creating the necessary conditions needed for Ghanaian businesses to flourish, Nana Akufo-Addo told residents of Fanteakwa that his government, God-willing, will help establish a factory in the district.

With the mainstay of the people being cassava farming, he assured that his government, in collaboration with the private sector, will help set up a cassava processing facility which will help create jobs for the youth, as well as increase agricultural productivity of farmers, whilst, at the same time, guaranteeing a ready market for farmers.

Nana Akufo-Addo also indicated that his government will, in accordance with law, regularize and streamline the operations of ‘galamsey’ mining in Fanteakwa and across the country, and transform it into small-scale mining, so the youth can find work to do.

Free SHS policy

Victory for him in this year’s elections, the NPP flagbearer noted, will mean an opportunity for him to truly implement the Free Senior High School policy – a policy he espoused in the run-up to the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Nana Akufo-Addo assured that “I am coming to truly implement the Free SHS policy”, adding that “I will not give a promise to Ghanaians for which I know I cannot keep. Whatever I have said I will do, I will surely do it so Ghana can move forward.”

$1 million a year constituency fund

The NPP flagbearer also reiterated his commitment of setting up an Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP), which will ensure that all 275 constituencies, including Fanteakwa South, get the cedi equivalent of $1 million to tackle issues of development.

“Ghana’s capital expenditure budget is $1.6 billion this year. When we win, God-willing, we are going to redirect that budget, take out $275 million every year, and ensure that every constituency receives the equivalent of $1 million to deal with matters bordering on infrastructural development and sanitation, amongst others, in the constituency.”

Nana Akufo-Addo, in concluding, urged the people of Ghana not to despair and lose hope in the midst of the hardships and sufferings that have plagued the country over the last 8 years of President Mahama.

“I am appealing to Ghanaians to look up to and ride on the back of the ‘Elephant’, so we can bring progress and prosperity to the people. We have the men and women, and policy initiatives to give this country a first class government,” he added.