The founder and leader of the All People’s Congress (APC), Dr. Hassan Ayariga, has decided on a former presidential candidate as his running mate for the 2020 polls.
He disclosed this to journalists moments after he had registered for the Ghana voter identity card at a registration centre yards away from his Bawku residence on Saturday.
“We should be having our national delegates’ congress on the 17th of this month. But, as you are aware, we wrote to the Electoral Commission, giving them dates to our national delegates’ congress where we possibly would announce the running mate. And they are telling us, because of the new voter registration exercise they are conducting, they won’t have much time.
“They said we should give them time so that, after the exercise, they can have enough attention and enough men to [provide] for the APC’s regional and national delegates’ congress. After we select the flagbearer, surprises will follow. I believe it will be a former presidential candidate. It’s a big story. I believe a former presidential candidate will be my running mate,” Dr. Ayariga stated.
When the press pressed him further to mention the former presidential candidate being referred to, he answered with a firm smile: “Oh, when I say it will be a former presidential candidate, I have made it out to you. You have to now comb and look for who is that former presidential candidate who is now going to partner Hassan Ayariga for 2020. That means I leave it with you.”
The London-trained accountant and his wife, Anita Ayariga, obtained their voter identity cards together at the same registration centre—the Tinsungo Polling Station B— accompanied by the APC’s Upper East Regional Chairman, Alhaji Awudu Sirnusi, and other party executives from the regional and the constituency levels.
Hassan Ayariga’s performance record as presidential candidate
Dr. Ayariga became the presidential candidate of the People’s National Convention (PNC) for the 2012 general elections after securing 483 votes to beat Dr Edward Mahama, who polled 426 votes, at the party’s presidential primary held at Sunyani in February, 2012.
He would leave the PNC four years later to form the APC after losing to Dr Mahama at a primary he said was flawed with cheating and irregularities. Whilst he stood on the PNC presidential ticket in 2012, he managed to poll 24,617 votes, representing 0.22% of the 10,995,262 total valid votes cast nationwide.
He decided again to run for president in 2016, this time on the APC ticket, but the EC disqualified 13 presidential candidates, including Dr. Ayariga, owing to some issues with the nomination papers they submitted to the commission. He fought back without success, saying his nomination documents were faultless, as the commission sustained the disqualification into the polls.
However, the performance of the post-Ayariga PNC at the 2016 polls did not improve with Dr Mahama’s return-run for the presidency. The medical doctor reaped 22,298 votes, representing 0.21% of the 10,713,734 total valid votes cast— a downswing from the gains made by Dr. Ayariga in 2012.
In 2012, Dr. Ayariga obtained 1,274 votes (0.12%) of the 1,069,759 total valid votes cast in the Western Region. In the Central Region, he secured 1,072 votes (0.11%) of the 944,686 total valid votes. He captured 1,071 votes (0.05%) of 2,152,255 total valid votes in the Greater Accra Region. He got 1,353 votes (0.16%) of the 859, 618 total valid votes in the Volta Region. In the Eastern Region, he polled 1,016 votes (0.09%) of the 1,138,703 total valid votes cast.
He gained 1,169 votes (0.12%) of the 992,899 total valid votes cast in the Brong Ahafo Region. In the Ashanti Region, he acquired 1,355 votes (0.06%) of the 2,160,920 total valid votes cast. He took home 3,357 votes (0.34%) of the 979,978 total valid votes cast in the Northern Region. In the Upper West Region, where a total of 284,007 valid votes were cast, he grabbed 4,933 votes (1.74%). And in his hometown Upper East Region, he got 8,017 votes, representing 1.94% of the 412,437 total valid votes cast.
EC registering minors, foreigners; EC’s exercise is for fun— Dr. Ayariga
Whilst speaking to the press on Saturday, Dr. Ayariga found fault with the EC in respect of the ongoing new voter registration exercise.
“One of the challenges I have a particular interest in is minors being given the opportunity to register, using vouching. With the vouching process, anybody can come and say, ‘I am a Ghanaian, I am 18 and above’. And because there are no legal documents backing vouching and just two eligible voters, there is no guarantee of credibility. And the mere fact that the EC claims that the current voter register is not credible is an illusion because the one we are now producing is going to be worse than the one we have already.
“Anybody can vouch for a minor and you cannot challenge because they would tell you that he has no birth cert. Even though it’s new, compiling a new voter register does not mean it’s going to be [more] credible than the one we have. I think it has lost its credibility with using the vouching. Many minors have registered. Many foreigners have registered,” remarked the APC leader.
Speaking further, he commented: “So, what is the essence of the exercise when it has lost the same credibility Ghanaians are looking for and for the reason the EC is conducting a new voter registration? What is the essence? For me, this is an exercise for fun, an exercise of ignorance, an exercise of failure, an exercise that will not actually help the purpose. For me, I’m only following the due process to become a voter. But within me, in my heart, this (exercise) is not credible. If I had the power, I would have asked for a biometric identification. That is what I would have asked for as a President.”
By Edward Adeti, Upper East Region, Daily Mail GH