General News of Monday, 10 September 2012
The flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that political leadership anywhere in the world has no place for ‘small minds’.
He said that politicians without broad imaginative minds to look for solutions to big problems through strategic and imaginative approaches had no business appealing to the conscience of the electorate to vote them to power.
Speaking at a symposium at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of Baffour Osei Akoto, former linguist of the Asantehene and founder of the National Liberation Movement (NLM), Nana Akufo-Addo said the current Ghanaian leadership was still fumbling and tumbling because they lacked the confidence to confront huge national challenges.
The symposium was on the theme, “Baffour Osei Akoto – his life and service to the nation.”
Baffour Akoto who died at the ripe age of 98 in 2002 was noted for the pivotal role he played in national politics in the critical period leading to independence.
In the 1950s he emerged as one of the political stalwarts at the forefront of opposition to Dr Kwame Nkrumah and his Convention People’s Party, as well as the struggle against the British for independence.
He suffered seven years of imprisonment under the Preventive Detention Act.
His biography reads in part, “It was the genuine conviction of the leadership of the NLM, Baffour chief amongst them that, equity and progress would prevail only if an independent Gold Coast was achieved under a federal system of government that would enable the four existing colonial provinces – The Colony, Asante, Northern Territories and Trans-Volta Togoland – to develop their own paths.”
Describing Baffour Akoto as one of the great pioneers of the United Party (UP) tradition, Nana Akufo-Addo said, he made a lot of sacrifices and that "even under the juggernaut of Dr Nkrumah he and others were not perturbed to seek the truth."
He said political opponents misunderstood Baffour’s advocacy for federalism when he was championing a system of government where power would not be concentrated in Accra.
“Today, he has been vindicated because the decentralisation Ghana is pursuing is what he espoused.” Nana Akufo-Addo stressed.
The time, he pointed out, had come for the current generation of Ghanaians to contribute their quota to the advancement of national development.
That is why he and the NPP are determined to broaden the frontiers of education when voted into power as a positive way of fighting poverty.
Emeritus Professor of Law and former Justice of the Supreme Court, Prof. Justice A.K.P. Kludze, stressed the need for the NPP and other people seeking the truth to counter the misinformation about the opposition to Dr Nkrumah’s CPP.
He indicated that current developments in the country were synonymous with what prevailed in the CPP era when the security was unleashed on opponents of the regime.
Prof. Kludze criticised the haste in creating 45 constituencies for Election 2012 and warned that, “If we don’t take care another party that comes into government will create 90 seats.”
In his presentation, the Otumfuo Mawerehene, Baffuor Osei Hyeaman Brantuo VI, condemned the ethnicity that had permeated Ghanaian politics and said that would not carry the nation anywhere.
He expressed regret that In spite of the trail Baffour Akoto blazed he had not received the needed recognition by his political tradition and to a larger extent the country and suggested that the Danquah-Busia-Dombo political tradition should be expanded to include the name of Baffour Akoto.
For his part, Prof Mike Ocquaye, MP for Dome Kwabenya, said in a speech read on his behalf that anytime the 1992 constitution was evoked “we must remember Baffour Akoto because he was one of the early Ghanaians who fiercely resisted one party rule.”
“Today a lot of the aspirations of the NLM have become the torch lights of our political parties,” he added.
Prof. Ocquaye, who is also the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, called for the strengthening of the district assemblies to enable them play major roles in the development of their areas.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, MP for Kwadaso and son of the late Baffour Akoto, described his late father as a fearless nationalist who must not be forgotten by his nation.
Mr Akenten Appiah-Menkah, a founding member of the NPP, chaired the function.
Other speakers included Prof Yaw Twumasi and Dr Kwame Donkor Fordwor.