Many Ghanaians on Wednesday condemned Nana Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), for missing the presidential debate organised by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) at the State House in Accra on Wednesday.
Commenting on social media both during and after the debate, they expressed the view that as leader of the opposition, it was in Akufo-Addo’s best interest to have attended the debate and made his case directly to the Ghanaian people as to why he should be elected.
They pointed to President John Mahama, who despite being the sitting president and faced with the prospect of caustic criticism from his political opponents, still attended the debate.
Mahama himself made the point in his introductory remark at the debate that it was shocking that Akufo-Addo was absent.
Mahama, who was the first sitting president to attend a presidential debate in 2012, said Akufo-Addo's absence was surprising because it was normally opposition candidates who were eager to participate in presidential debates.
NPP supporters have, however, pushed back at the criticism, saying that debates do not really make a difference in a presidential race.
They pointed to Hillary Clinton, who they say won the three US presidential debates but lost the presidential election to Donald Trump.