The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has noted that the economic situation in the country continues to worsen under the government of President Mahama, to the extent that the cost of electricity per month for ordinary Ghanaians is now more expensive than the rent charged per month.

So bad is the situation that, according to the NPP flagbearer, Ghanaians are now undergoing a self-imposed load shedding programme as a result of the unbearable utility tariffs imposed on the Mahama government, caused by 8 years of economic mismanagement.

“Can you believe that today in Ghana, for the ordinary Ghanaian, the cost of electricity is more than the cost of their rent? So forget even ‘dumsor’, it is now ‘yɛnsor’, because you can’t afford to pay. That is where we are,” he lamented.

Inaugurating the South African branch of the NPP on Saturday, May 7, 2016, at Illovo in Johannesburg, Nana Akufo-Addo stated that Ghana has been on the decline ever since the NPP administration headed by President Kufuor left office in January 2009, evident in the country’s growth rates then and now.

According to Nana Akufo-Addo, at the end of President Kufuor’s tenure, Ghana was growing at a rate of 8.4%, without the benefit of oil. However, with oil revenues coming on stream, the Mahama government is growing Ghana at a rate of 3.9%.

“These are the stark facts, they are not inventions of Akufo-Addo or NPP. They are the official statistics of our country. If you want any indication of how bad the decline has been, these two statistics will tell you all you need to know,” he said.

Continuing, he added that “businesses are collapsing, unemployment is at the highest ever in our history, the NHIS has collapsed, and educational sector having great difficulties. Especially for those of us in political office or any prominent office, you have to run away from your house. The number of people who come to your house asking for school fees is mind-boggling, because it is no longer possible for ordinary people to bear the educational costs of their children. You just feel like crying that our country has gotten to this situation. That is how bad things have become.”

With government functionaries, apologists and propagandists quick to point to the so-called ‘global economic crunch’ and falling commodity prices as the reasons for the decline in growth of the economy and rising hardships, Nana Akufo-Addo was quick to point to the “boom” occurring in neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire – a country identical to Ghana in terms of geography, and though smaller in land size and population compared to Ghana.

Though Cote d’Ivoire in 2010 experienced civil war as a result of a disputed election, which led to the deaths of 3,000 people and displaced over 100,000 citizens, most of whom came to Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo explained that “[President Alassane] Ouattara’s leadership has been such that Cote d’Ivoire has been growing at 8% to 9% over the last five years. Whilst we have been going like this (declining), they are going like that (experiencing a boom).”

The NPP flagbearer was unequivocal about the fact that “it can’t continue like this for us in Ghana, because we have the resources, both the human and material resources, to do so much better for our country than what is going on now. And I, for one, and the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians are saying enough is enough. It is time for a change in Ghana.”

Age not a factor
With NDC communicators, for the lack of a convincing message, playing the age card in their hope to secure victory in the 2016 elections, Nana Akufo-Addo shot down these claims, stating that competence and the proven ability to deliver must be the watchwords for the Ghanaian electorate.

“Alassane Ouattara, who I am talking you about, in Cote d’Ivoire is two years older than me. Muhammadu Buhari is three years older than me, and you see what he is doing in Nigeria. The so-called young man that we have is plunging our country into a ditch. Let’s elect the so-called old man to come and take our country out of the ditch,” he said, much to the approval of the hundreds of NPP supporters gathered at the Wanderer’s Club, the venue for the inauguration, which was under the theme “To rid Ghana of incompetence and corruption”.

Describing 2016 as a critical year for Ghanaians, the NPP flagbearer urged all party members to put their shoulders to the wheel and help push the elephant into the Jubilee House.

“That is the task ahead of us. We cannot allow it to be said by our children and grandchildren that at the time when it was necessary to rescue our country, our generation failed the task. We can’t do that. Let this be the generation that saved Ghana, so that, one day, when the history books are being written they will say ‘it was in our grandparents’ time, when Akufo-Addo was president, that we changed the fortunes of our country’”, he said.

Present at the event were NPP MP for Oforikrom, Hon. Elizabeth Agyemang; NPP Director of International Relations, Charles Owiredu; NPP South Africa branch Chairman, Kwaku Odame; NPP South Africa branch vice Chairman, Professor Amoateng; founding member of the NPP South Africa branch, Mr. Enoch Peprah; Political Assistant to Nana Akufo-Addo, Francis Asenso Boakye; and Press Secretary to Nana Akufo-Addo, Eugene Arhin, and hundreds of Ghanaians, amongst others.