There was pandemonium during the broadcasting of the Joy News flagship programme dubbed, “The Ballot Box,” in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis last Friday evening when supporters of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) nearly traded blows, bringing an abrupt end to the well-attended programme.
That was during an open forum as alleged supporters of the NPP who thronged the programme in their numbers, insisted that they would not allow NDC activists to dominate in the asking of questions because none of the NDC’s parliamentary candidates showed up for the programme.
The programme, which tackles key issues relevant to Ghanaians as the general election inches closer, has been replicated in the ten regions of Ghana.
The Western Region edition of the programme centred on the oil sector and how it could be managed efficiently to develop the region.
The NPP was represented by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Takoradi, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah and the parliamentary candidates for Sekondi and Wassa East, Andrew Mercer and Wilson Arthur respectively as panelists.
The candidates of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) were also present. Conspicuously missing were the candidates of the NDC.
Unknown to the organizers of the programme, more NDC activists were those given the microphone to ask questions and after realizing that, supporters of the NPP stood up and protested.
Even the explanation by the moderator of the programme, Evans Mensah, that the programme was non-partisan and so all should sit down to allow it to run, could not save the situation and so he had no other alternative than to end the event.
Earlier, Mr Darko Mensah noted that the NDC government had done nothing to improve the lives of residents in the Western Region, in spite of the discovery of crude oil there.
He promised that the next NPP government to be headed by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would relocate the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) from Tema in the Greater Accra Region to the Western Region.
The MP pointed out that the relocation would form part of a complete decentralization of the oil sector to boost employment in the region.
Mr Darko Mensah described the performance of John Mahama and his NDC government as “spectacular failure,” adding that there was lack of transparency in the use of the revenue generated from the region’s resources.
Kwabena Okyere Darko explained that with the Coastal Development Authority promised by the NPP flag bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, the next NPP government would implement policies that would benefit the over two million Ghanaians living along the coast.
“The NPP will use the oil as growth pole to change the Western Region. When the GNPC, which is the regulatory body for all oil production activities, is relocated to the Western Region other related businesses will follow suit and move to the region and that will boost employment in the area,” he assured.
The parliamentary candidate for Sekondi, Andrew Mercer asserted that the under-development of the region had left the youth disillusioned with most of them moving to Libya and other countries in search of ‘greener pastures.’