Buhari, Akufo-Addo: Two of A Kind?

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Nana Addo Akufo-Addo

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Nana Akufo-Addo, currently president-elect of Ghana, have at least three things in common. Buhari was 72 years old when he was elected president of Nigeria in April last year, Akufo-Addo has been elected president at the same age of 72. Unlike Buhari, who won the presidential election on a fourth attempt, Nana Akufo-Addo, won his on a third attempt. Incidentally, both of them defeated incumbent presidents to achieve the feat. While Buhari defeated the then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan who was 58 years old, Akufo-Addo has defeated the sitting 58-year-old incumbent President John Mahama of to get to office.

Just as Jonathan conceded defeat in 2015, Mahama conceded defeat on Friday, December 9, evening and telephoned congratulations to Akufo-Addo.

Mahama acted just before the electoral commission officially announced Akufo-Addo as the winner of the election, with 53.85 percent of the vote, compared with 44.4 percent for Mahama.

But his election, Akufo-Addo, who contested the election on platform of the opposition New Patriotic Party, NPP, has succeeded in wrestling power from Mahama of the National Democratic Congress, NDC, who was seeking a second term as in office as president.

Akufo-Addo used Ghana’s current economic woes as a main theme of his campaign, accusing Mahama and the ruling NDC of incompetence.

The new president has served as both foreign minister and attorney general in a previous NPP government, but twice narrowly lost earlier battles for the presidency.

Mahama’s term was overshadowed by the plunge in global oil prices, which reduced government revenues and contributed to soaring inflation. The government accepted a $918 million bailout from the International Monetary Fund. Ghana is a major exporter of oil, gold and cocoa.

The West African country is considered one of the most stable democracies in Africa, having witnessed several peaceful transfers of power since 1992.

Akufo-Addo, addressing his jubilant supporters in Accra, capital city, said: “I will not let you down. I will do all in my power to live up to your hopes and expectations,” adding: “I will do my best to serve your interests and put our country back on the path of progress and prosperity.” He also assured members of the opposition that he would not marginalise anyone. “The president of Ghana is president for every single Ghanaian,” he said.

By the defeat, Mahama has become the first incumbent to lose an election since Ghana returned to multi-party democracy in 1992. He has been nicknamed “Mr Dumsor,” a local word that refers to the power cuts that have blighted the country during his term, but during the campaign he had tried to convince Ghanaians that he had delivered on his promise of creating more jobs.

Akufo-Addo has promised free high-school education and more factories, but his critics have questioned the viability of his ambitions.

Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see how the Ghanaian president would deliver on his promises without making the citizenry experience what the government of Buhari is currently taking Nigeria through.

— Dec 12, 2016 @ 16:58 GMT

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