Kufuor beats JJ, Nkrumah…in radio poll for best past president
By: Issah Alhassan, Kumasi
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has beaten competition from six of his colleague ex-presidents in a vox pop conducted by a Kumasi-based radio station Angel 96.1FM to determine which of the country’s former presidents was effective during his regime.
Ex-President Kufuor came ahead of six of his colleagues, including Jerry John Rawlings, the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and late Dr. Hilla Limann, in a survey to seek people’s views on which former leader of had Ghana performed creditably, and wished was still in charge of the affairs of this country.
The radio station interviewed about 50 people from three regions – Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Central – to find out the views of people on which former president they had missed and would have wished was still president of this country.
15 people were interviewed in each of the three regional capitals, namely Kumasi, Sunyani and Cape Coast, whilst five were interviewed in the Obuasi Municipality.
Of the total number of the people interviewed, ex-president Kufuor secured about 60%, followed by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, with Mr. Rawlings and Dr. Hilla Limann following in that order.
About 27 interviewees, in total, said they missed ex-President Kufuor and would have wished he was still the president of this country, whilst 12 said they preferred the late Dr. Nkrumah, with seven going for Rawlings, and one going for the late Dr. Limann.
The late Dr. Busia and General Kutu Acheampong secured one each, with one saying he had not missed any of the former presidents, because none of them made any significant change in his life.
Former late leaders like Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, Dr. Kofi. Abrefa Busia, and Afrifa however failed to make the list in the contest which was spearheaded by the host of the Angel FM Morning show, Mr. Kwame Adinkrah.
Some of the major reasons the interviewees assigned for their love for the immediate former president, Mr. Kufuor, was his ability to take bold decisions, especially, when he declared Ghana a Heavily Indebted Poor Country(HIPC), and for his novelty health policy, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
They cited former President Kufuor’s intervention programmes such as the School Feeding Programme, Capitation Grant, Metro Mass Transport System and the likes, as some of the policies and programmes which continue to remain monumental and indelible in their minds.
Admirers of Mr. Kufuor also mentioned his demeanour, which they argued brought respect and integrity to the office of the Presidency, and his ability to swallow criticisms, particularly, from his then predecessor, Mr. Jerry John Rawlings.
One of the interviewees, for instance, recounted how Mr. Kufuor was able to handle the widely publicised attack from a popular National democratic congress (NDC) serial caller, Dr. Asemfoforo, during one of the People’s Assembly durbars.
Fans of the late Dr. Nkrumah said they remembered him for his selfless contribution towards the independence of Ghana, and for the major infrastructural development in the country.
They mentioned the establishments of universities, the Akosombo Dam and other major projects, which, they said, were unprecedented in the history of the country.
Admirers of ex-President Rawlings, however, praised him for his discipline, and the fact that he never tolerated any form of unruly behaviour in his government.
They said Mr. Rawlings was able to stamp his authority at a time Ghana had been plunged into a state of societal chaos and disorderliness.
One of the interviewees was quoted as saying, “If Rawlings was to be in power, none of this Woyome stuff would have happened.”
The one who went for the late Gen. Acheampong said he remembered “the Fa wo to begye Golf” saga and the “Operation Feed Yourself” during his reign, whilst Dr. Busia was considered for his role in democracy.
Ironically, the interviewee who went for Dr. Hilla Limann said he remembered him for a special cutlass he brought to the country during his time, and his alleged penchant for chewing kola nuts at the Castle.
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