Across the country and, particularly, in the national capital, giant billboards of persons seeking to lead the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) into the 2024 general elections are being spread everyhwere.
While few flagbearer hopefuls of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), such as Kojo Bonsu, have added to the space in billboard presence here and there, the sizes of the NPP billboards, at a time the party has not even given the green light for campaigning, appear mind-boggling.
It is surprising that we have not come to appreciate that, by now, politicians would have grasped how excessive, expensive publicity may be counterproductive, particularly when there is a feeling down in constituencies that these are critical times, and should call for moderation and sacrifice in how candidates and political parties conduct themselves.
From the Akufo-Addo star-studded big billboards campaign in 2008 to John Mahama’s Osuofia’s campaign in 2016, the records suggest that when publicity becomes too pervasive, the end results have been disappointing.
Particularly in an era of ‘haircuts’, the least any serious governing party would want to entangle itself with is having to defend opulence and excessive expenditure in an internal contest.
Preventing a disaster
That is why the Daily Statesman would like to urge the Stephen Ntim-led leadership of the NPP to move to nip this situation in the bud before the situation festers, with dire consequences for the governing party.
We may recall that ahead of the party’s last national delegates’ congress, the Freddy Blay leadership stood its ground in preventing aspiring national officers from flooding the country with paraphernalia of individual candidates. This was a wise decision in the face of the biting COVID-19 pandemic
Thankfully, there is no record suggesting that, that bold decision negatively affected the chances of any particular candidate.
Similarly, with regard to the John Evans Atta Mills’ door-to-door campaign in 2008 and the Akufo-Addo one, which was modestly executed in 2020, the results have so far proven to be more effective, particularly in Ghana, and other parts of Africa, including Nigeria.
It is obvious that only well-thought-out campaign strategies and effective implementation of plans and programmes are what win elections, and not the annoying and excessive publicity that often only infuriates the starving electorate.
Test of leadership
This is, therefore, a test for the national leadership of the NPP to stamp its authority. With the already blatant disregard for its regulations issued to manage the impending presidential primaries, many are questioning whether it has what it takes to control a political party that is seeking to ‘break the 8’ for the first time in the Fourth Republic.
The Daily Statesman believes how the NPP leadership manages this internal contest is important in ensuring that the ghost of the last primaries does not come to haunt the December 2024 general elections’ campaign, as political watchers carefully monitor the situation.
It is therefore the belief of the Daily Statesman that whether or not this leadership of the NPP will be able to prosecute a well-coordinated, planned and orderly campaign in 2024 is dependent on how it manages its first upcoming tests, which are the presidential and parliamentary primaries.
Without sounding repetitive, it is emerging, so far, that inability on the part of party leadership to come out with clear timelines for the party’s primaries and failure to get flagbearer aspirants to obey the regulations issued, are communicating to political watchers that the NPP national leadership may not have adequately taken control of the party.
Thus, leadership must strive to control this eyesore of mushrooming of billboards in the face of economic hardship, so that they come out as leaders who are truly committed to prosecuting a winning campaign in 2024.