Ghanaian Chronicle

ALL EYES ON NANA & JOHN As Tamale gears up for big debate

Date published: October 30, 2012

From: Edmond Gyebi, Tamale


The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Presidential Debate will today, October 30, 2012, immensely charge up the political atmosphere in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, as presidential candidates, national executives of political parties and members of the Diplomatic Corps continue to arrive in the city, ahead of the debate.

The presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was the first to arrive on Saturday, 27, 2012 at 2:00 p.m., with his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, and other top officials of the party.

He was met on arrival at Datoyili (about 15 kilometres away from Tamale) by a large number of enthusiastic crowds, clad in NPP colours, amidst gymnastic motorbike display and brass band music.

Nana Akufo-Addo’s presence brought human and vehicular movement, as well as business activities within the central business district of Tamale, to a complete halt. Taxi drivers and other motorists were compelled to ply different routes to advance their businesses.

Just as the NPP was attracting attention from members of the public who had trooped to the streets to catch glimpses of Nana Addo and Dr. Bawumia, another thick crowd, clad in National Democratic Congress (NDC) colours and riding motorbikes, also emerged from the other side of the road to also announce their presence.

Commendably, the processions by the two parties, even though worsened the traffic situation in the Metropolis, ended peacefully without any form of insults or attacks.

The Chronicle learnt that the presidential candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Dr. Abu Sakara Foster, and party Chairman Samia Yaba Nkrumah and other officials of the Cockerel party have also arrived in Tamale, holding consultative meetings with constituency executives.

The President, John Dramani Mahama, and the other candidates, as at the time of filing this report, were yet to arrive in Tamale. But, that notwithstanding, NDC supporters continued throughout the weekend and yesterday to rock the Metropolis with non-stop jubilation, in anticipation of the arrival of the President.

Checks on hotels within the metropolis revealed that every single hotel was fully booked, as a result of the debate, and some car rentals have had their fair share of the business boom.

Selling of political parties’ paraphernalia has also become the order of the day, as young boys and girls carry them along the streets and traffic joints.

The President of the Concerned Citizens Association of Tamale (CCAT), Alhassan Basharu Daballi, in an interview with The Chronicle, prayed that the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) would receive attention from the sitting President, John Dramani Mahama, and the other presidential candidates who would mount the podium this evening.

He said that the SADA was dear to the people of the three Northern regions, and expected that any of the five presidential candidates who would emerge as president should insist on its advancement for the comprehensive development of the north.

Some traders inside the Tamale Central Market, who spoke to this paper, were almost with one voice. They hoped the next administration would advance credit facilities to boost their businesses.

A cloth dealer in the market, Hajia Ayisha Yakubu, said that most of the banks had been very much unfriendly to traders, and called for the government’s intervention to enable them lobby the banks.

The Chronicle can confirm that all is set for the crucial IEA Presidential Debate, as officials have already completed stage designs and decorations at the Radach Memorial Hotel main auditorium in Tamale.

The sitting President, John Dramani Mahama, per the sitting arrangement by the IEA, will sit on the first seat, followed by Dr. Abu Sakara and Hassan Ayariga, and Nana Akufo-Addo in that order.

If the debate would be half as animated as the preparations for the event, then the live audience and armchair followers on radio and television would have a treat this evening.

To most residents, though, it was all about the NPP candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and sitting President John Dramani Mahama. Editor Ebo Quansah will be at the Radach Memorial Hotel to bring you a blow by blow account of the innovative debate.

Mr. Quansah will also sample the political atmosphere in the Northern Regional capital for readers, before and after the debate. Look out for exclusive reports only in The Chronicle near you.

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