Ghana’s opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo has been declared the winner of the countrys presidential election over incumbent President John Mahama by the Electoral Commission late Friday night.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate was declared the winner of the hotly contested election after winning 53.85% of the total votes cast in 275 constituencies, a considerable margin to Mahama’s tally of 44.40%.
In a press release, Ghana’s Electoral Commission chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osse, declared the former Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs as the new leader of the West African nation.
Earlier on Friday, as news of the election results started to filter through the airwaves, the 72-year-old human rights lawyer had tweeted that the incumbent president had called to concede defeat and congratulate him on the victory.
Tweeting with his official account @NAkufoAddo, he tweeted "A few minutes ago, I received a call from President congratulating me on winning the 2016 Presidential Election. "
He later took to Twitter again after the official announcement by the Electoral Commission tweeting, "I make this solemn pledge to the good people of Ghana; I will not let you down. #"
"Together, we will change Ghana and use all the blessings the Almighty has bestowed on us to bring prosperity to our people. #", he added.
In his concession speech to his supporters, President Mahama said, "As president I have done my bit. I have made a contribution to the political, social and economic development of our country.
I would have cherished an opportunity to do even more but I respect the will of the Ghanaian people,"
This year's result makes it the third time since 2000 that an incumbent president has been voted out of office in Ghana.
It is a momentous victory for the Accra-born Akufo-Addo who was running for the country’s top job for the third time after losing the 2008 election toNational Democratic Congress (NDC) candidates John Atta Mills in 2008 and John Mahama in 2012.
The president-elect largely devoted his law practice to fight for human rights, championing causes of justice, rule of law and true democracy.
As Attorney General, he oversaw the repeal of Ghana’s Criminal Libel Law that had been used to criminalise free speech in the country and suppress the media.
When he lost the 2008 election to Atta Mills, it was in a cruel fashion as he won the first round of voting with a 49.13% of the votes that wasn’t quite enough to make him president as at least 50% was required.
Atta Mills later defeated him in the run-off election, winning a close 50.23% of the total votes.
The 2012 election was more ill-tempered as Akufo-Addo contested Mahama’s victory but lost at the Supreme Court, after an eight months battle, in yet another close 5/4 decision.
Mahama’s loss can be attributed to the voting population’s anger at the country’s worsening economic situation under the incumbent president, an issue Akufo-Addo effectively targeted as a talking point during the campaign.
The president elect plans to improve the country’s economy, at its worst growth rate in over two decades, by engaging in projects that creates lots of jobs for Ghanians.
The most ambitious of these projects, which critics have touted as unrealistic, is his campaign promise to build a factory in every one of Ghana’s over 200 districts
He will be sworn in as President on 7 January 2017.