The uncertainty surrounding the filing fees as a result of a suit filed by the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) to place an injunction on the two-day event added to the anxiety.
As of Wednesday night many people, including the parties, were on tenterhooks as to whether the Electoral Commission (EC) would be able to perform the function of receiving nomination forms from presidential aspirants.
And, as is the norm, party supporters always accompany their leaders to the premises of the EC as a sign of support and strength for the elections.
The EC had fixed September 29 and 30 for the filing of the nominations and GHc50,000 for presidential and GHc10,000 for parliamentary aspirants, respectively.
This year, because of the security arrangements made by the EC, the fanfare associated with the filing of nomination forms was missing, but the numbers were there to show support to their leaders.
The EC had communicated to all the parties that its offices would open at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. for the purpose of filing of nominations.
At the end of the day yesterday, nine presidential aspirants had submitted their nomination forms to the EC to contest the December 7 polls.
However, the issue of filing fees that had become a contentious matter was shelved by the EC, as it asked all the presidential aspirants to keep their filing fees until the determination of the case filed by the PPP.
At the headquarters of the EC in Accra, the Chairperson of the EC and her two deputies were on hand to receive the nomination forms.
The presidential aspirants who were on hand to file their nominations were Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Akwasi ‘Odike’ Addai of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Nana Agyenim Boateng, aka ‘Gyataba’, of the United Freedom Party (UFP) and Mr Hassan Ayariga of the All People’s Congress (APC).
The rest were President Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Kofi Apaloo of the Independent People’s Party (IPP), Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Madam Akua Donkor of the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) and Mr Kwabena Adjei of the Reform Patriotic Democrats (RPD).
Apart from President Mahama and Mr Ayariga whose nominations were filed on their behalf, the rest filed their nominations themselves.
Akufo-Addo files first
Nana Akufo-Addo, who was the first to file, stuck to his time and appeared at the EC headquarters at 9 a.m.
Party supporters massed outside the EC offices to give him moral support.
Despite the ban on fanfare and campaigning by the EC on its premises, supporters of the two main political parties defied the order.
They mounted public address systems on vehicles and blared party songs and slogans, amid singing and dancing.
Policemen deployed on the EC premises had a hectic time trying to prevent the supporters from entering the premises.
Nana Akufo-Addo was assisted by the acting National Chairman of the NPP, Mr Freddie Blay, and the acting General Secretary, Mr John Boadu.
In a brief speech after stepping out of the offices of the EC, Nana Akufo-Addo said being the first to file showed that the NPP would emerge victorious in the elections.
He said the party was ready to execute an issues-based campaign towards the December polls, saying that from all indications change was going to take place.
The NPP had wanted to pay the filing fees of its presidential aspirant and all the 275 parliamentary aspirants of the party, but the EC chair asked the parties to hold on until the legal case filed by the PPP against the filing fees had been settled by the court.
The second flag bearer to file was the UPP’s Mr Addai.
He said he had complied with all the regulations of the EC, which included the filing of his tax obligations, his assets declaration certificate and two signatories from each of the 275 constituencies.
After him came Nana Agyenim Boateng.
Speaking to the press, Nana Boateng said the EC ought to enforce the Political Parties Law which required all the parties to have offices in two-thirds of the constituencies, since most of the parties did not qualify to contest the elections.
The next in line was the APC’s Mr Ayariga, whose nomination was filed on his behalf by his running mate, Mr Emmanuel Carl Bartels.
Mr Apaloo, the flag bearer of the IPP, then went in to file his nomination.
Amissah-Arthur files for Mahama
Mr Amissah-Arthur was the sixth to file on behalf of President Mahama.
A smiling Mr Amissah-Arthur, accompanied by high-ranking NDC executives, including the General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah; his deputy, Koku Anyidoho, and the Greater Accra Regional Chairman, Mr Ade Coker, took their seats at the Conference Hall of the EC at 1.50 p.m. for the process to begin.
As the Chairperson of the EC received the nomination papers from the Vice-President, she said: "We have received the but we have not accepted them."
She explained that the nomination papers must go through vetting before the final decision would be taken on their acceptance or otherwise.
The filing process itself was brief — about five minutes — yet it carried a lot of significance.
Hordes of NDC supporters had thronged the EC headquarters, expecting President Mahama to personally do the filing.
Their wishes were not met, but the Vice-President, in a speech loaded with optimism, assured the supporters that President Mahama’s filing signified the beginning of a robust and issues-based campaign by the NDC.
He urged the supporters to visit every nook and cranny of the country to canvass for votes to return the President and his team to government to continue with the changing lives and transformation agenda.
Nana Konadu files
The eighth to file was Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, who told journalists that she was ready to win the elections and end the dominance of the NDC and the NPP in Ghana’s recent political history.
She said the NDC government’s claim that it had laid a foundation for the take-off of the economy was not true and indicated that the NDP was the best alternative to be in government to address the challenges facing the country.
Source: Daily Graphic
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