If elections were held yesterday at the Methodist Church Thanksgiving Service at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the 2012 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), would have won by a landslide against President John Evans Atta Mills.
The situation was akin to a popularity contest, as the two political heavyweights stormed the thanksgiving service, with NPP’s Nana Addo stealing the show. Hordes of worshippers gave him thumbs-up, to the embarrassment of organizers.
The explosive but spontaneous show of affection that the thousands of churchgoers at the gathering showed the NPP flagbearer in the presence of the President of the Republic and his biggest rival for the 2012 election, was so overwhelming that the organisers of the programme, including Rev Lionel Osborn, President of the British Methodist Conference, Lay President Mrs Araba Ata Sam and Rt Rev Dr Kwaku Asamoah-Okyere were visibly embarrassed.
The people were polite to President Mills but could not hide their great joy at seeing his former hall mate at the University of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, at the event.
Nana Akufo-Addo is an Anglican and worships at Ridge Church, Accra, an interdenominational church, while President Atta Mills was born a Methodist, but now worships at Synagogue Church of All Nations, owned by Prophet T.B. Joshua of Nigeria and sometimes at Pure Fire, another Nigerian church at Kisseman, Achimota.
This is the second time the two political figures were meeting at a church service this year, having met at the national thanksgiving service at the Independence Square in March.
The two political giants were among the dignitaries invited, with President Mills as the special guest of honour, at the programme to celebrate 50 years of Autonomy of the Methodist Church in Ghana.
But function ended up like a political rally (without political speeches), with Nana Akufo-Addo being mobbed by thousands of congregants, with men and women, both young and old, screaming, dancing and running after the NPP flagbearer.
It all started when the Most Rev Prof Emmanuel K. Asante, Presiding Bishop of Methodist Church, Ghana, announced the names of the dignitaries present, including the two men.
The President, who stood up to acknowledge the gathering, received just a polite applause.
But at the mention of Nana Akufo-Addo, the solemnity of the occasion gave way to uncontrollable jubilation.
The screams, waving of handkerchiefs, claps, and chants of “Nana oh Nana!” went on and on, to the surprise and embarrassment of the President and others like Rev Dr Fred Deegbe.
Nana Akufo-Addo continued waving back until it got to a point when he politely stopped waving and took his seat, sending a subtle but clear message to the excited congregation that the programme must be allowed to continue.
In fact, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) later approached Nana Akufo-Addo requesting an interview with him because of the affection the people had shown him.
But the biggest cheers came when it was announced that Nana Akufo-Addo was leaving.
The whole place just exploded. By that time, the President had left, waving from his open-top vehicle to polite responses. Nana Akufo-Addo had earlier left his seat to shake hands with the President.
He left later, after granting GBC the interview.
When the NPP flagbearer’s departure was announced, it simply brought the roof down. The whole place was filled with screams of “Nana oh Nana!” The people broke into wild jubilation, dancing and shouting for Nana Akufo-Addo, with hundreds of people following him to his vehicle.
One of the leading priests was heard saying to Yaw Osafo Maafo, a leading member of both the Methodist Church and the NPP, “If we were working for the government, all of us would have been probably sacked after this programme.”
Kojo Bonsu of the Sports Council could be seen shaking his head in disbelief.
E. T. Mensah, an old friend of Nana Akufo-Addo’s, wore a mischievous grin.Nana Akufo-Addo was accompanied by his wife, Becky. The NPP presidential candidate has since left the country for South Africa to deliver a lecture at the University of Pretoria.
Source: A Daily Guide Report
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