According to Dr. Afari-Djan the two top candidates would participate in a second round of elections within 21 days, adding that the EC had decided on Sunday December 28, 2008 for the second round. Representatives of the two parties have been speaking about their chances in the second round.
Mr. Kwabena Adjapong, a leading member of the NPP said the party was more than prepared for the second round, adding that, they would start rolling out their elaborate campaign plan for the coming two weeks soon. He noted that the results indicated a clear 103,000 lead for Nana Addo, adding that was a clear indication that President Kufuor's people centred policies and Nana Addo free secondary education policy were really flying.
Mr. Mustapha Hamid, spokesperson of the Nana Addo campaign team said he was the obvious choice of the people and that it was just a matter of time that he would be declared the president of Ghana. "It doesn't matter to us if Nana Addo had to be declared president elect at the end of the second round, what matter to us is that on January seven he will be sworn in as president," he said.
Mr. Hamid also noted that the Rawlings factor would work against the NDC in the second round, saying that lots of Ghanaians still dreaded the possibility of "a Rawlings rule" if Prof. Mills became president. Squadron Leader Gled Sowu, a leading member of the NDC brushed off
Mr. Hamid's claim that NDC had no more votes to mop up, saying that the results of the first round was a clear sign the Ghanaians needed change but could not make up their minds in just one round.
"This is history repeating itself - last eight years Ghanaians wanted change and it took them two rounds to make up their minds and the NDC lost - this time the NPP is in power and so they should prepare for defeat in the second round," he said.
Dr. Kwabena Adjei, National Chairman of the NDC also said the NDC might have lost the elections in 2000 because of the baggage of incumbency so the NPP should also prepare to lose elections because of the baggage of incumbency.
He used the opportunity to urge other African countries to learn from Ghana's example, saying that Ghana was able to achieve a successful and peaceful election with limited resources because of the vigilance of its people and the commitment of political parties to democracy.
Dr. Adjei said it was instructive for other African countries to note that it did not pay to wait and start preparing for elections six months to time, else incidence like what occurred in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Nigeria could not be avoided.
"At some point there was a threat to our democracy but the foreign and local observers played a very effective role in curbing those threats," he said.
Mr. Felix Anaman, spokesperson for Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah, the only independent candidate said the candidate was pleased with his 19,342 votes, saying that it was an indication that Ghanaians were bought into the job creation campaign to provide jobs for the people.
Give a Ghanaian a task to perform and watch him/her go. I hardly sing praises of people since we all have the capacity to disappoint, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the tenacity and superb capacity of most of Ghanaians.
I take this chance to congratulate the entire populace in Ghana for a generally orderly polls. I have listened from afar and by the power of technology watched some of the polls on Ghanaian TV stations. I admire the leading role the country has taken in the search for order on the African Continent (in terms of leadership and in many other spheres).
The fact that Ghanaians are naturally peace loving people, coupled with their unbridled "fellow-feeling" cannot be overemphasized. I doff my heart for the gallant men and women,youth and the elderly who did what is right for Ghana in this elections. History will reward your wisdom.
I do not believe that if one system of governance works of a people, it must necessarily work for all persons. My belief is that whatever the system, the people must be the ultimate beneficiaries. I hope the rest of Africa takes a step back and look into how Ghana does it.
Welcome to H-A-R-D W-O-R-K
Now that the dust is about to settle and the real journey kicks in, I urge all to gird their loins for a tough ride. No-one said it was going to be easy! I guess the country was too busy in the run-up to the elections that most may have forgotten about the recession the world is undergoing.
I urge the next president ( who-ever he may be) to hit the ground running. Mr. Kuffour is in an to exit mode currently and the new leader must start naming his cabinet now. A vetting committee must be taking shape as of now and key positions must start seeing possible nominations.
The world has change overnight and Ghana cannot afford to sleep even for half a second. We are already two centuries behind! My reading is that of the many things Ghana need, clinging on to ideologies and systems that political books have churned out for us will certainly kill us. Ghana does not need a small or a big Government, Ghana needs an effective government! A government that creates new jobs and expands the nations capacity to feed herself.
The next president has a huge task ahead and will not have the unprecedented goodwill Mr. Kuffour had in the 2000 elections. Our next leader must show willingness and real meaning to an all inclusive government. Ghana can survive on propaganda but for a few moments; Reality will soon set in .
The discovery of oil in Ghana may be good news but leadership must show accountability to the people. Vital and qualitative infrastructural development of "oil towns" must be a priority for the next regime.
Ghana's educational/health systems have seen enough "romance". Its time for a blue print that tackles the needs of our continents people. Our Agricultural, Energy, Technology and many more must see an innovative restructuring.
Our potential is limitless. Our future is big, our victory is assured all we have to do is rely not on men, but on God. God Bless us all.
By Isaac TETTEH
Most of the nations in Africa have flunked this test. Analysts and investors now have their eyes trained on Ghana, one of the continent's rare exceptions, whose 23 million people are expected to join the ranks of the world's stable democracies when they go to the polls Sunday to elect their next president.
Unlike its neighbors whose rulers came to power in coups and never ceded control, Ghana suffered back-to-back coups in the 1970s and 1980s but then took a turn. After ruling for 11 years, ex-strongman Jerry Rawlings organized elections. He won two terms, then surprised the world by ceding power when his party's candidate lost to rival John Kufuor in the 2000 vote.
It's now President John Kufuor's turn to do so after two terms in office and analysts expect he will abide by term limits and step aside without a fuss, marking the second successful handover, a milestone not just for the country but also for Africa as whole.
Sunday's election pits the ruling New Patriotic Party's Nana Akufo-Addo against seven opposition candidates. Akufo-Addo's main challenge comes from John Atta Mills, the candidate of Rawling's National Democratic Congress.
"Moving around the continent, you can come up with — maybe — a handful of nations that have pulled this off," says Africa expert Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. "That's why this election is so significant."
The nations that have met the litmus test are few and include Benin, which in 1991 was the first African nation to transfer power from a dictatorship to a democracy. Recent setbacks include Mauritania, which held its first democratic elections in over 20 years last year, only for those gains to to be reversed in a coup 1 1/2 years later.
Catastrophic failures include Kenya and Zimbabwe, both of whose leaders refused to relinquish control after recent elections, causing their countries to descend into spasms of violence.
In this humid, traffic-choked capital, voters are keenly aware of the responsibility they bear. "We have an image to protect," says Sylvia Annoh, spokeswoman for the country's electoral commission. "We are an example for Africa," she says, adding that not only was Ghana the first African country to declare independence in 1957, it is now poised to become a model for the region.
Voters are also acutely aware of the stakes. With an annual growth rate topping 6 percent, the country is one of the continent's few economic success stories. Over the past four years, foreign investment has grown over twenty-fold from around $100 million in 2004 to $2.6 billion this year, according to Rosa Whitaker, a former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa who now advises the government.
"When people ask me why I am so confident this election will go smoothly, I say because people have something to lose," she says.
Even more so following the discovery last year of offshore oil reserves. The revenue from the discovery is expected to pump an extra $2 to $3 billion a year into the state purse, roughly a fifth of the country's annual budget — a huge windfall for the winner of Sunday's election.
With a record of stunning growth, it's no wonder that the New Patriotic Party is campaigning on the government's record. Akufo-Addo, a former minister in Kufuor's administration, has planted billboards throughout the capital bearing the slogan, "We are moving forward."
Yet many say there's little to show for all the statistics indicating success.
"If you think Ghana is doing so well, then hand me your British or American passport and I'll hand you mine," quips Kwesi Aning, an expert on politics who heads a department at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.
Despite economic growth, the average Ghanaian earns just $3.80 a day and dies before their 60th birthday. Much of the country has no reliable electricity. The lack of latrines means that even in the seafacing capital, the poor are forced to relieve themselves on the white sand beach.
"When you have the nicest house in a poor neighborhood, is that really something to be proud of?" asks 55-year-old Paa Kwesi Nduom, the candidate for the Convention People's Party.
The standard of living gap has fueled the country's opposition, who argue that wealth has failed to trickle down. They accuse Kufuor's administration of corruption, pointing out that it was during his tenure that Ghana, like much of West Africa, became a key transit point for Europe-bound cocaine smuggled from Colombia.
"Are you aware that they now call us the 'Cocaine Coast' instead of the 'Gold Coast?'" says NDC deputy secretary general Elvis Ankrah.
Although Rawlings led three coups before winning his first election in 1992, he is seen as having taken the moral high ground by having handed over power. He remains deeply popular and has helped rally thousands of supporters behind Atta Mills, who has put up posters of himself standing next to a photoshop cutout of Barack Obama in an effort to emphasize that he stands for change.
The ruling party, which continues to get top marks from the international community, may well lose to the NDC on Sunday, or else in the runoff to be held if no candidate secures over 50 percent of the vote.
What this shows is that Ghana is yearning for more than just a technical definition of democracy, says Aning. To be sure, the country is expected to have its second successful handover of power — but is that really enough?
Everyone knows, he says, that in the country's impoverished interior, voters flock to political rallies in the hopes of getting a free T-shirt emblazoned with the candidate's face. It's not out of love for the candidate, says Aning, but because that T-shirt could well be the only piece of new clothing he or she will get this year.
"If people are so poor that a T-shirt, a bit of food and some music is enough to sway them to vote for one candidate, then can you really talk of democracy?" asks Aning.
"We can start talking about democracy when people have a good house, a good job and can relax and discuss the issues over a good malt whiskey — but we're at least a half century away from that."