Exactly a year ago today, Ghanaians gave the nod to the then Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to steer the affairs of the country.
But the road to the Presidential suite has not been an easy one.
Here are some incidents that highlighted the journey to the Flagstaff House;
Change of Voting Day
Prior to the December 7 elections, the Electoral Commission proposed the Presidential and Parliamentary elections to be held on November 7 as part of proposals for electoral reforms.
This according to the commission was to make room for the Commission to be able to organise a run-off in case no candidate was able to secure the 50-plus-one vote required for a first round victory and also to make room for preparation for a handover on January 7.
The date was however rejected by Parliament after it failed to garner the 184 votes needed to effect the historic change. Minority in Parliament were of the view that the EC would not be ready to carry out the elections at the proposed date since there were unresolved issues regarding the voter’s register.
Disqualified Political parties versus EC Chair
Disgruntled party presidential candidates took the EC Chair Charlotte Osei to the Supreme Court after her outfit ruled them out from contesting in the December 2016 elections following anomalies found in their submitted documents.
The Supreme Court ordered the EC to allow some 12 disqualified candidates to correct errors on their nomination forms, errors that formed the basis for their disqualification. The judgement froze five other suits in which presidential candidates are challenging the disqualification. The candidates were disqualified after the EC said it found anomalies on the presidential nomination forms.
The EC finally pruned the number of presidential candidates to 7.
The Presidential candidates of the PPP, National Democratic Party (NDP) and People’s National Convention (PNC) were given the go to contest the election, setting the tone for a smooth election after a hectic period for the EC, which was mired in controversies and lawsuits.
Build up to the elections, each of the competing political parties tried to project their outfit as the better option to be voted into power. The incumbent government at the time, the NDC touted their achievements particularly the building of several lavish infrastructure which they matched up to that of developed countries.
The NPP also presented several promises including the delivery of a free Senior High School Education policy and the building of one factory in each of the 216 districts in the country.
The Progressive People’s Party, led by Papa Kwesi Nduom also promised to drastically reduce the rate of unemployment by increasing and providing jobs for the youth.
Each of the competing sides were looking for something which would give the edge over the others and as such it came as no surprise when a leaked photograph of the NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo drinking locally manufactured fruit juice Kalyppo was intercepted and used to mock him.
At a period when Nana Akufo-Addo’s health was being speculated as not optimal, some members of the NDC took to social media to mock him on his choice of juice. Some even teased the ‘grown’ man of abusing a drink meant for children.
But the move seemed to have backfired as supporters and sympathisers of the NPP broke the internet with ‘the kalyppo challenge’, where people got creative with the use of the kalyppo fruit drink. The fruit juice suddenly became the most patronized on the market with several distributor getting out of stock.
There were some mishaps during the campaigns of some of the Presidential aspirants. NPP’s flagbearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo got pelted with a stone at the Klortey Korle constituency when he went there to introduce the party’s candidate Philip Addison.
The NDC’s Vice Presidential candidate Kwesi Amissah-Arthur got hooted and chased out of the Akuapem North constituency with a change slogan when his entourage went there to campaign.
Special aide to the NPP’s Vice Presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia; Kwabena Boadu passed away in his hotel room during the party’s final rally in the Northern regional capital, Tamale with reports indicating that he was electrocuted by a faulty wire.
President John Mahama and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia got into a war of words after the latter described the tenure of the incumbent President as one riddled with incompetency.
President John Mahama jabbed the NPP Vice Presidential aspirant, charging him to desist from his criticisms since he had not held the position of a President or Vice for that matter.
Members of the Culture and Creative Arts Industry fraternity were mainly divided into two groups with some of them endorsing the incumbent President John Mahama and others, NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo.
Industry players such as Mzbel, Mr. Beautiful, John Dumelo, Bukom Banku among others declared their stance for John Mahama while Cwesi Oteng, Socrates Sarfo, Agya Koo and others drifted towards the camp of Nana Akufo-Addo.
As the voting exercise was underway there were several reports of attempted snatching of ballot boxes in some districts and constituencies with some individuals getting arrested.
By the close of the election day, some constituencies already knew the fate of their aspirants as some of the results started trickling in. Results from the Presidential elections were still inconclusive after 24 hours as the exercise got stalled in about four some constituencies.
Some leading members of the New Patriotic Party with assistance from some IT experts calculated the figures of the election results and called for a press conference declaring their candidate Nana Akufo-Addo as winner of the Presidential polls.
Disgusted by the move of the NPP, the incumbent party(NDC) in a quick response also held a press conference reassuring their enthusiasts that their outfit were “in a comfortable lead”.
After 48-hours however the figures became more defined as the results were glaring for many to see. Probably sensing defeat, most of the opposing party heads called NPP’s Presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo to concede defeat with some even urging their followers to support him.
By evening, the incumbent President John Dramani Mahama finally threw in the towel and gave his biggest rival a congratulatory call to concede defeat.
Smiling from ear to ear, the NPP headquarters as well as the streets of the NPP strongholds were thrown into various forms of celebrations even before the Electoral Commission Chairperson Charlotte Osei declared the results.
Mrs. Charlotte Osei eventually declared the winner of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections few hours after the concession speech of President John Mahama.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential candidate, President John Mahama was trounced by the NPP presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo in a fiercely contested election. Nana Akufo-Addo, a three-time lucky aspirant, polled 5,716,026 to beat the incumbent President, who got 4,713, 277 votes. The percentage being 53.35 percent to 44.40 percent.