Source: The Republic - The groundwork appears to have been set for a repeat of the Presidential contest in 2012 when President John Dramani Mahama used three months of campaign to defeat Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the opposition leader who had used over two years conducting a “door to door” presidential campaign.
On Monday, the two front liners in the 2016 Presidential race were simultaneously granted exclusive interviews by two different radio stations; President Mahama on Unique FM while Akufo-Addo opted for CITI FM.

Even though the interview was not exactly a campaign opportunity, political analysts have rated it as a reflection of what to expect when the two launch into full campaign mode. While Akufo-Addo’s interview focused on things he plans to do, if he wins the elections and the leadership crisis in his party that has been envisaged by political analysts as his Waterloo heading for the 2016 general elections, President Mahama had a clear-cut focus where he outlined the achievements of his government so far, and the reasons why Ghanaians would possibly retain the government.

President Mahama touted the tons of achievements of his administration and his determination to maintain the reasonable pace of development being experienced by the economy through massive infrastructural projects in the education, health, transportation, e.t.c, as initiated by the administration of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) since it took over the reins of power in 2009.

One major focus of his presentation during the Monday exclusive radio interview was his determination to seriously facilitate technical and vocational education in the country, adding that Ghana is currently suffering a massive employment shortfall in such areas because attention has always been turned on the humanities that contribute less to development and economic growth.

“ …there is a demand for skilled operators of all kinds of earth moving equipment like the excavators, bulldozers, etc. … there is a shortage of crane operators or the people who have expertise in such areas. And [when] it comes to the oil and gas sector there is also a demand for welders, plumbers, steel benders, electricians, etc but we don’t have enough people to fill those markets,” the president said.

President Mahama disclosed that his administration is in consultation with the Ministry of education and they are currently working on skilled training programmes that will help bridge the gap, stating that Government’s policy of converting polytechnics into technical universities will also take-off in September 2016.

This policy is part of his administration's strategies to help reposition Polytechnics as strategic institution for the training of highly-skilled human resource to drive the nation’s socio-economic development.

According to the President, through this policy, students in Technical Universities will be trained to acquire high-level technical skills to drive the country’s economic and national development agenda.

Adding that the proposed technical universities would contribute to raising the quality and competitiveness of the Ghanaian workforce by providing opportunities for company employees to upgrade their skills and acquire new skills.

The president touched on support offered to some Ghanaian youth and other institutions to support the youth support policy. He went on to touch on his flagship policy of constructing 200 secondary schools. So far, the 23 schools under World Bank funding is underway, with another batch of 50 about to be completed.

While President Mahama’s interview was sailing progressively through enumerating achievements of his administration, Akufo-Addo’s interview was taking serious digressions that related to threats to his dreams of winning the 2016 elections, particularly on the confusion engulfing the leadership of the party, such that, no straightforward plan has since been devised for his campaign.

The twice-defeated flagbearer of the NPP tried to deflate fears of a possible third defeat at the polls by bravely saying the leadership crisis in his party would in no way affect his presidential ambitions even though he is reportedly at loggerheads with the National Chairman of the Party, Paul Afoko and General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong.

His loyalists have accused the two of deliberately working against Akufo Addo winning the next Presidential elections.

“Any honest person will admit that there are challenges at the national executive level of the party,” Akufo-Addo admitted.
 


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