The Presidential Candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has defended his decision to boycott the presidential debate organized by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), and the state broadcaster, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), last Wednesday.
The presidential candidates of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), People’s National Convention (PNC), Convention People’s Party (CPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and an independent candidate, Joseph Osei Yeboah, were present at the debate with the exception of Nana Addo.
Speaking to Citi News’ Umaru Sanda Amadu in an interview at his residence, the three-time NPP Flagbearer explained that, he boycotted the debate because he felt both the NCCE and the state media, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), which aired the programme are biased.
“The state agencies that conducted these debates are not agents that have been particularly fair to some of us in opposition. GBC acts like a propaganda wing of the ruling party, so much also the NCCE. I do not see why in those circumstances I will say I am being given the fair crack of the whip and therefore come before such an audience.”
He believes state institutions including the GBC and the NCCE, should be allowed to operate effectively without government’s interference.
“For me; GBC is a public broadcaster and should conduct itself as such. I do not like the idea of state owned media. What we should have are public media which operate as such, and therefore they operate under a charter which guarantees their independence and allows them to be able to comment objectively on what is going in the society at any given time, and not necessarily act as propaganda vehicles for the party of the day.”
“I will not like to take over and just apply the same principle that now GBC will be churning out pro NPP information to the people, no. I think we should get ourselves into a situation whereby GBC as a public broadcaster will make its own determination on what the public interest requires in terms of information and put it out in that way with objectivity and balance. That will be what I will urge. It is important that we have institutions that will work for the people of Ghana.”
Asked whether he will see the NCCE in the same light as he does presently should he become President, Nana Addo said : “ I will look at them with a different eye.”
Debate was needless
He also indicated that a debate with the other political parties will be needless since the various political parties had already outlined their plans on their respective campaigns.
“What will I be afraid of facing the four? The facts are that, between him and I, does it require our personal interaction? The facts that have been put out there were facts that have been out there on the campaign.”
He further condemned what he believes is President Mahama’s decision to “pick and choose which platform to appear on.”
Proffering solutions to tackle these challenges, Nana Addo suggested the formulation of models that will guide the conduct of these debates in agreed state institutions, just like other parts of the world to promote fairness.