If the nation wasn’t so tired of the politics, the 21 days leading up to the presidential run-off would have been the most exciting part of the campaign season. The propaganda has been acrimoniously intense and the politicians have been at their silliest. The accusations and counter-accusations have been petty and baseless – at best! None of it got to me. But it all points to a very high level of desperation in both camps.
Nana Addo’s camp feels that he came within a hair’s breadth of winning the presidency and that the second round should only confirm that he won what the communication director for his campaign, Arthur Kennedy, describes as the “popular vote” in the first round.
Prof. Mills and the NDC, on the other hand, have been feeling that the former vice president has never come this close to getting the job he has been seeking for almost a decade – he only lost the first round by the whisker. The Mills camps has been so buoyed by their gains from the first round, particularly the narrow ‘majority’ they secured in the parliamentary poll that they seem to be thinking it’s now or never.
If Prof. Mills doesn’t win, he could as well kiss his political career goodbye and head back to the classroom. He has been through it before but the pain of a third defeat will be worse than the combined agony of his two previous losses.
For Nana Addo, a defeat might seriously hamper his chances of ever leading the NPP into the next presidential poll. For a man who carries himself as if he was born to be president, that could deal his pampered ego a lethal blow!
So, on both sides, the stakes are very high indeed. And the dirty politicking over the past three weeks must have made this abundantly clear to all Ghanaians.
But today, we decide and by Tuesday afternoon either Prof. Mills or Nana Addo will be suffering a severe bout of depression and grieving the loss of a diadem which seemed to be so close in hand. There will be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. I hope they have prepared for this eventuality. If they haven’t, I’d suggest the following.
First, both men should write two speeches: one for victory and the other for concession. Much time should be spent on the latter. Nduom did a very good job on his concession speech in the first round and I think he should help both Nana and Fiifi write theirs.
Secondly, both Nana and Mills should get a standby ‘shrink’ – someone who can help them vent and support their ascent from the deep, dark hole of the vanquished. They can’t pretend to be ‘men’ and try to do it all by themselves. The man who loses this election will most definitely need a professional shoulder to cry on. Perhaps, we should create a VVIP ward at the Ankaful Psychiatric hospital for the loser.
Finally, I’d suggest that both Nana and Fiifi book a vacation to an exotic island – just in case. After trekking up and down our dirty, smelly country for so many months, both candidates deserve a break. The winner has the next four years to relax and chill out but the loser should go and take it easy in a place like the Bahamas for about four months. But this should only be after the shrink has certified him as “properly screwed”. I hope they haven’t exhausted their campaign budgets. Whatever is left should be able to pay for a relaxing, vacation in the Bahamas or the Dominican Republic.
From all indications, this race is going to be very close. An analyst whose prediction of the first round was almost spot on suggests that the victor and the vanquished might be separated by just about 50,000 votes. That’s very close. If it turns out to be this close, it will make the agony of defeat even more difficult to deal with. But that all the more reason why the candidates should brace themselves very well for defeat, realising that despite all they have said on campaign platforms, both of them have not been “ordained” by God to rule; only one of them is destined to be our leader – for the moment. At the end of the day, we will choose our leader and we expect the rejected candidate to graciously accept defeat and deal with it (with his shrink, of course).
Sadly, both parties have tried to prepare the grounds for a rejection of the results. The NDC did it before the first round but the shock of the opposition party’s upsurge forced the NPP to also rev up its propaganda machinery, spewing forth some very spurious allegations. It’s all going to end today and we need Nana and Fiifi to realise, like the true sportsmen they both claim to be, that as in every game the decision of the referee (or judge) is final. We have had enough of the politics. We just want to get on with the nation building – and our lives!