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General News
One Day To Real Deal : Nana, Alan In Two-Man Race 8/6/2010
One day to Saturday’s historic congress of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to elect a flag bearer for the 2012 presidential election, the five presidential aspirants in the race have rounded up their campaigns in styles which have helped to disentangle the front-runners from the rest of the pack.

After taking his case to the media in Accra earlier in the week, Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen rolled up his sleeves at Weija and Dadekotopon to spend the last day of a gruelling campaign doing what his strategists described as “mopping up what remained of an already favourable terrain”.

Waving enthusiastically and with his six-foot-one frame towering over the sea of heads beneath, Alan chose those densely populated constituencies to put his youthful armour to test.

In another “corner” of the “ring”, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the veteran of three flag-bearer races in the NPP, was engaged in a strategic meeting in Accra with campaign advisers and some party delegates “discussing matters of substance”, according to a spokesperson.

He withdrew from the populist engagements and engaged thinkers and planners and “the real people who will decide, come Saturday”.

The two front-runners had toured all the 230 constituencies where some 116,000 NPP delegates will cast their votes on Saturday in a novelty to elect the party’s flag bearer for the 2012 presidential election.

And with the media trailing each step of the Nana-Alan journey, the otherwise impressive challenge posed by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Mr Isaac Osei and Mr John Kwabena Kodua has gone largely unnoticed.

As they clench up for Saturday’s contest, therefore, both Nana and Alan, as well as the thousands of delegates and millions of keen observers, know who the real opponents are in a race which pro-Alan power players still claim had been inconclusive the last time it was staged at Legon.

From the Legon Congress of 2007, Nana Akufo-Addo emerged with 1,096 votes ahead of Alan with 738 votes and a formidable array of 15 other party heavyweights in an order that ought to reflect the real strength of each contestant within the party.

In spite of Nana Akufo-Addo’s convincing win, Alan was close enough to warrant a run-off per the rules of the election. But, with grace, Alan yielded victory to his “elder brother to save the party the stress and the resources” and (most important) to bid his time for the future.

For that display of “benevolence”, there are those who see Alan not as a defeated candidate in the 2007 flag-bearer race but as a hero and point to Saturday as the “future” he looked forward to at the last congress.

In spite of that hang over, the conduct of the campaign this far has unveiled an interesting contrast of characters and styles.

A militant of the intellectual brand, Nana Addo chose to stay on course by focusing on his solid party credentials and political achievements at the front-line of the Ghanaian struggle.

From a 33-year-old General Secretary of the People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice through a fearless mobiliser of the bloody “Kume Preko” demonstrations, he has matured into a 66-year-old master of national politics and agitation who can even afford to tease himself as “short and not-so-handsome” in the heat of the struggle.

For his vast experience on the terrain, it is not accidental that Nana Addo has succeeded in focusing on the substance, even when the temptation was high to be drawn into superficials and perceptions.

But that is where the contest begins, especially in the novelty of an electoral arrangement where the format has been expanded to embrace 116,000 delegates from a larger society where form is important and perception could be everything.

In that setting, there could be some who will argue that to attract mass votes, pop-star attributes, such as a pretty face, a charming aura and the ability to deliver populist slogans about change could not be discounted.

So in their mop-up exercises, Alan appeared to have put the latter to test, choosing Weija, the most populous constituency in the country, while Nana Addo dealt with the mind game.

Whatever the outcome on Saturday, one of the two front-runners will be the winner, and only in the event of a 2007-style outcome will the votes of the other three — Prof Frimpong-Boateng, Mr Osei and Mr Kodua — become relevant.

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