Thousands of residents in Nima poured out onto the streets on Tuesday, October 11 to welcome the 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to the Ayawaso East constituency as he resumed his tour of the Greater Accra Region.
Ordinarily a journey of some 5 minutes from Maamobi to Nima, it took the NPP delegation about 3 hours to make this same journey as human and vehicular traffic, described as unprecedented in the political history of Nima, ensured that the NPP flagbearer was given a tumultuous, rousing welcome.
Amidst chants of “Nana oo Nana”, “Mahama, Time Aso”, to wit “Mahama, your time is up”, and “change is coming”, market women abandoned their wares, business owners came out of their shops, whilst commercial drivers parked their vehicles, all eager to catch a glimpse of the NPP flagbearer
As the chants echoed across Nima, thousands of onlookers rushed towards the principal streets, to hail the arrival of the NPP presidential candidate and his team.
In an interaction with Muslim clerics at the Alesuna Mosque, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that when the time is due for elections, there are some who, for political gain, will infiltrate Zongo communities and seek to foist division, on religious lines, amongst the people.
“They will say Akufo-Addo hates Muslims, does not like people resident in Zongo communities, so as to put fear in you. There is not an iota of truth in any of this. Of all the presidential candidates contesting this year’s elections, I’m the only one who has selected a Muslim to be my running mate,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.
The NPP flagbearer explained that his choice of Dr. Bawumia, since 2008, was because “with Christianity and Islam being the two dominant religions in Ghana, unity amongst these two religions will help spur on the country’s development. The Muslim I chose is not just a Muslim, but a very brilliant Muslim, who can help develop the nation with his in-depth knowledge.”
Nana Akufo-Addo further added that “the talk of the NPP coming into office to drive away residents living Zongos are pure lies. During President Kufuor’s 8 years in office, nothing of this sort ever happened. For a time, I was Attorney General and nothing like that happened. Why would such a thing then happen when I become President?”
He urged the Muslim Clerics, together with the youth of Nima, to ignore such baseless propaganda, and rather demand from the various political parties and their candidates their respective policies and programmes for Zongo communities.
Nana Akufo-Addo noted that for the 8 years that the Mahama government has been in office, there has not been a single policy instituted and implemented for the welfare of Zongo communities.
“Right from independence till date, there has never been the mention of Zongo in any part of budget statements laid before parliament. Never! The first budget of an Akufo-Addo government, God-willing, will see the Zongo Development Fund as a line item in the budget.
“We will assemble Zongo community leaders across the country to help us determine what this fund should be used to do, so we can improve the livelihoods of Zongo residents, and, also, bring development to Zongo communities,” he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo recounted how, during the tenure of President Kufuor, allowances for Islamic scholars and tutors were paid.
These allowances, sadly, under the Mahama government have been cancelled, he said.
“When I win this year’s election, I am going to restore the Islamic tutors’ allowance,” he said, eliciting a roar of approval from the clerics gathered.
With 55 days to the holding of the December elections, the NPP flagbearer urged the gathering not to pay heed to the skeptics who always say policies espoused by the him are not feasible.
“They said the NHIS was not doable. But President Kufuor proved the skeptics wrong and implemented the NHIS. The same way President Kufuor was able to institute the NHIS, I am going to use the same route to implement the Zongo Development Fund, and also restore allowances to Islamic tutors,” he assured.
Nana Akufo-Addo, in concluding, appealed for the unalloyed support of the clerics and residents of Nima Zongo for him in this year’s elections, and also for the NPP’s parliamentary candidate for Ayawaso East, Peter Mireku; and Amidu Mohammed Zakari, the NPP’s parliamentary candidate for Ayawaso North.