In Ghana, unlike the USA, we have no such thing as mid-term election(s) which will be used as yardsticks to judge the performance of a government. And so, while the government would keep trumpeting its good deeds, the opposition would also keep highlighting on its lapses.
However, on Thursday January 31, 2019, as the electorate of Ayawaso-West Wuogon go to the polls to elect their new representative in the House of Parliament, we can call it a mid-term election to ascertain the efficiency or otherwise of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration to date.
This unanticipated election was made possible due to the demise of Hon. Emmanuel Kyerematen Agyarko, the former Member of Parliament for that constituency.
The bye-election comes on the backdrop of cries of perceived corruption against the ruling NPP, economic hardship, perceived rising in poverty, and social and administrative failures that can bring down any government anywhere on this blue planet.
Meanwhile, the government has also made wonderful and unprecedented strides, having inherited an ailing economy but been able to execute the Free Senior High School (SHS) initiative; National ID Card system; One District One Factory; resurrect the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS); revolutionising the health delivery system with the introduction of drone technology; revamp crude refining at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR); restructure the banking sector; create six new regions; implement what President Kufuor started by finding lasting peace in Dagbon with the coronation of its Overlord, and establishing the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO), among others.
The Free SHS was first proclaimed in 2008 by then candidate Akufo-Addo, which the then opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) scoffed at. Then in 2012, the NDC accepted that it was necessary, but claimed it can only happen progressively. Even though it was the ruling government, it never implemented the Free SHS progressively enough. So, come 2017, the government of Nana Addo implemented the Free SHS, and with it more students are enrolled and prepared for higher education and better lives. Access to education must not be a privilege but a right, because a country with a high level of illiteracy can hardly survive.
A National ID Card is very essential in the administering the affairs of any country. There is the need to know who the citizens are, and who are not, especially when it comes to the distribution of services and other facilities. But the opposition NDC has been making so much noise against the National ID Card, because the Voter ID is not accepted as one of the prime requirements as proof of citizenship.
Even though it is a secondary requirement, the NDC argues that since it was the Voter ID that brought H.E. Nana Addo to power, he just could not dump it anyhow. The evidence that the Voter ID cannot be fully relied upon as proof of citizenship came from the mouth of the former Electoral Commissioner, Charlotte Osei, who admitted that our national voters register is bloated. Meaning, there are lots of illegal names on it; names that came from Togo and other neighbouring countries.The possibility of absolutely identifying who is a true citizenis, with our current Voter ID, is, therefore, defeated.
With the strong possibility that every district has the natural resources that can be used as raw materials in the production of goods in factories, this government embarked on the One District, One Factory policy, and soon factories are springing up in the rural areas, bringing with them development and employment. Even this laudable policy was challenged by the NDC when it wanted to shift blame for the stillborn Komenda Sugar factory. This factory collapsed at birth almost immediately it was opened by then President Mahama of the NDC government (Source: https://www.myjoyonline.com/business/2018/March-9th/komenda-sugar-factory-remains-shut-two-years-after-inauguration.php).
The under-utilised Tema Oil Refinery, during the eight years of the NDC, is now in full operation after it was revamped by this government. Even though the TOR, at full capacity, cannot meet the national requirement, what it can produce could help regulate the price of refined oil. The NDC made sure its cronies brought in refined oil and dictated the price as it suited them. That is why, to this day, even though the government has removed some commissions from the petroleum price build up, the importers are still determining the price of petrol, diesel, kerosene, etc., and maintaining the price high enough for huge profit earnings.
The corrupt banking system of yesteryears, when depositors’ funds could be misused against all legal banking procedures, has now been restructured. With a very sound banking sector, the economic sector stands a lot to gain, and Ghana and Ghanaians will be the winners.
Another major feat achieved by President Nana Akufo-Addo, in implementing a party manifesto and respecting the desire of the people, is the creation of six new regions. The NDC, which also had it in its manifesto to create new regions, seemed to back out, especially when it was obvious that the creation of Oti was going to pose problems in its electoral fortunes. It walked out of parliament when the referendum was going to be passed into law. The NDC came back again to promote the creation of the new regions, and took a sudden turnaround when one of its gurus voiced supported for the challenge of the conduct of elections in Oti.
In a bid to resolve growing graduate unemployment, the NPP administration set up the Nation Builders Corp (NABCO) to absorb youth without work. At its initial intake, NABCO took on over 100,000 unemployed graduates. The NDC, meanwhile, bastardised this and made their youth stay clear of it. A young lady, who kept pestering me for job, shockingly turned down my suggestion that she could apply to NABCO, and when she said: “I won’t join this Nana Bawumia Company,” I then knew where she was coming from.
Thursday January 31, 2019 will be the day that the performance of the NPP should inform the minds of the electorate of Ayawaso-West Wuogon. And everything should be clear now, as a resounding victory awaits the NPP candidate, Lydia Alhassan, because, so far, and against all odds, the NPP government has achieved a lot.
This calls for unity among party members, and all must rally behind Lydia and get majority of the electorates to vote for her. She is the one to start making victory a mere formality in 2020.
Hon. Daniel Dugan