GHANA’S EL CLASSICO

GHANA’S EL CLASSICO
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Competition is good as it brings out the best in us. Since the two sides started clashing, there have been no easy matches. If my memory serves me right all the six matches save the first one, had been rather tight and too close to call.

Don’t get it twisted. I’m not harping about Ghana’s version of El Classico that has been going on between Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko but between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

1992 witnessed the first Classico that was played out by Flt.  Lt.  J. J. Rawlings a former military man who stood on the ticket of the NDC and continuity and Prof.  Adu Boahen an academician and historian for the NPP who clamoured for change. It was a grueling contest that ended with the mauling of the elephant and had her adherents shouting “stolen verdict”.

Pic: Adu Boahen NPP Presidential candidate in 1992

Pic: Adu Boahen NPP Presidential candidate in 1992

The NPP felt so crushed that they didn’t only write a book “Stolen Verdict”, but boycotted the parliamentary elections. Parliamentarians for that term, as a result came solely from the NDC.

The tone for subsequent classicos was thus set. All ruling governments ever since have campaigned on the altar of continuity while the opposition had come under the banner of change. No opposition side had been ingenious or desirous to change the catch phrase.

In 1996, the NPP decked the academician for a lawyer in the person of J. A.  Kuffour.  He did his best but was no match for JJ. The NDC therefore retained the Presidency and majority of seats in parliament.

In 2000, Jerry Rawlings who had been an albatross around the neck of the NPP was ineligible to contest having served the mandatory two terms. The NPP saw their opportunity and rallied around Kuffour once again while there was a serious infighting as to who took over from JJ.

Jerry Rawlings had wielded absolute power for a long time in the NDC and his passage posed a lot of problems for the party. Even after the struggle for the presidential candidate had ended with John Evans Atta Mills getting the nod, there was mudslinging for the running mate.

The party was not at peace. Most of gurus who were in the party before the new flagbearer was brought, felt peeved. Some Stalwarts that had nurtured presidential ambitions like Goosie Tandoh Obed Asamoah left the party and founded the National Reform Party (NRP) and the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) respectively thereby weakening the base of the umbrella.

For the first time in the classico, the elections went to a run-off with the opposition raving that it was going to be rigged. However, at the end of the day, the NPP prevailed with J. A. Kuffour becoming the second president of the 4th Republic.

The 4th classico witnessed another clash between president Kuffour and Atta Mills. The rumblings in the NDC continued. Little wonder that the NPP run roughshod over the NDC and there was no need for any extra time.

Pic: Former president, JEA Mills

Atta Mills, NDC’s second Presidential candidate

Having served twice, Kuffour was barred from contesting again and rat race ensued in the party as to who would succeed him. Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo defeated the numerous pretenders to become the party’s presidential candidate.

In the NDC all those who thought they had seen the back of Atta Mills after two setbacks, couldn’t have been more wrong. The man came back reinvigorated to defeat Kwesi Botchway to become the presidential candidate for the third time.

The stage was set for one of the most engrossing classicos ever! A contest between a candidate that had lost narrowly on two occasions against a brash and sometimes over confident opposition, promised to be dicey and cagey.

Cagey it turned out to be! The match went to extra time and to penalty kicks. Nana who had led all through didn’t have the killer instinct to finish off his opponent. In one of the cruellest elections, we had a candidate lead in the main elections but lose narrowly in the run-off. Atta Mills thus became the 3rd president in the 4th Republic leaving Nana to curse his stars and the elephant he was rumoured to have brought into the country from India.

The heat generated in the run-off set the tone for the sixth classico which was supposed to be between the same candidates. This was however, not to be as death laid its icy hands on the Asomdwehene a few months to the crucial elections. John Dramani Mahama was thus thrust into the spotlight to face a tired Nana.

Pic: Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, NPP flag bearer

Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, NPP flag bearer

You know in football, you try to outfox your opponent by preempting their tactics and strategies. Supposing you prepare your team to meet a team that employs 4-4-2 and the team comes out with a 4-5-1, formation, you must have an antidote readily or you are done for.

The NPP were ready for the change in presidential candidate for the NDC. They were still scratching their heads for answers when the EC called the elections in favour of the NDC. Not knowing what hit them, they took the case to the Supreme Court clinging to pink sheets. The rest they say is history.

2016 beckons.  Mahama v Nana Part 2. Who wins? The campaign have been vigorous and everybody is talking tough. The competition has certainly brought the best out of the two men so we can forgive their hiccups. How can I forget that there’s a new referee in the person of Charlotte Osei!

I have followed the campaign trail of the two parties. Have read what I can of the manifestos. Have listened to the promises. Have seen what I want to see.  Have gauged the reactions and feelings of people and I believe the Winner is going to be still!

 



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6 comments

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  1. Charty
    Charty 29 November, 2016, 18:35

    Nice piece. At the end someone will become the winner. I pray nobody goes to court this time because Ghanaians are tied of court cases. I believe in this new referee, she is will put things where she is suppose to put it.

    Reply this comment
  2. Kweku Ananse
    Kweku Ananse 1 December, 2016, 17:35

    The referee has been calm and firm. I won’t want her to at the end take a dubious penalty in favor of anyone as the other who disgraced us at the fifa match.

    We have one Ghana and after we leave the stadium shouting, we are all expected to go home and sip on our sobolo.
    God bless Ghana.

    Reply this comment
  3. benedzro
    benedzro 1 December, 2016, 23:33

    Nice piece chairman. It’s been a reminder of our history,

    Reply this comment

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