Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has won the 2016 presidential election to become president-elect of the Republic of Ghana.
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The former foreign minister secured a stunning victory over his National Democratic Congress (NDC) rival and incumbent president, John Mahama, in an election that involved 15 million voters.
In a press conference held at about 8:47 pm on Friday, the Electoral Commission chairperson, Madam Charlotte Osei, declared Akufo-Addo the president-elect of Ghana.
“On the basis of the foregoing figures and by the power vested in my as the Electoral Commissioner of and the Returning Officer of the presidential election, it is my duty and privilege to declare Nana Akufo-Addo as the president-elect of Ghana,” she said.
The declaration followed a tense forty-eight hours in which the NPP and the NDC organised press conferences and counter-press conferences characterised by incendiary remarks that threatened to undermine the peace of the nation.
Akufo-Addo, who was contesting his third straight presidential election, secured 5,716,026 votes, representing 53.85 percent, to beat Mahama, who managed 4,713,277 votes, which represented 44.40 per cent.
The Progressive People’s (PPP) Candidate, Papa Kwesi Nduom, had 105,682 votes ( 1%). The Conventions Peoples Congress (CPP) candidate, Ivor Greenstreet, got 25,395 (0.24%). Nana Konadu Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP) had 16,878 (0.16%). Independent Candidate Jacob Osei Yeboah also secured 15,879 votes.
Losing the 2008 and 2012 elections compelled Akufo-Addo to make painful concession calls to Prof. Evans John Atta Mills and Mr John Mahama respectively.
In 2008, the race was so close that he weighed the option of challenging the result in court but eventually ruled out the move. In 2012, he petitioned the Supreme Court and lost. In both instances, however, he conceded defeat to his triumphant rivals.
But this time around, and in what exemplifies his fortitude and irrepressible spirit, Akufo-Addo received a concession call from Mahama – the same man he had conceded to in 2012.
The desperately-awaited call came through at about 7:45 PM Friday evening, with Mahama congratulating Akufo-Addo and pledging to work with him in the national interest.
Hundreds of thousands of NPP supporters immediately took to the streets in wild jubilation as soon as news of the call broke.
There was deafening blaring of cars horns and vuvuzelas on the streets of Accra, Kumasi and other major cities, as the change millions of Ghanaians had sought desperately for eight years finally came home.
It marked a remarkable turn of fate for Akufo-Addo who had been viciously demonised and threatened with political retirement by surrogates of Mahama during the course of what was a brutal two-year campaign.
The other candidates in the elections had earlier called to congratulate the 72-year-old on his victory. (He has, in turn, pledged to work with them to make Ghana a better place.)
His decisive victory represents a spectacular repudiation of the so-called transformational policies of Mahama in the last four years.
The NPP leader, who ran on a mantra of change, has pledged to tackle corruption and undertake a massive industrial transformation of the country.
He has specifically pledged to build a factory in every constituency in Ghana as well as a dam in every Ghanaian village to boost agriculture.
He has also vowed to tackle unemployment and improve the general well-being of every Ghanaian.
Akufo-Addo will now be sworn in as the fifth president of the Fourth Republic on January 7, 2017.
He will have the opportunity to form a government and try to deliver the change he promised the Ghanaian people.