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Diasporia News of Thursday, 28 February 2008

Source: Statesman

Akufo-Addo in Abidjan

I'm not in politics for personal gain, Akufo-Addo says

The Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo has said that he is not in politics for personal gain, nor is he running for president to amass wealth.

Nana Akufo-Addo said this when he interacted with a cross section of the Ghanaian community in Abidjan on Tuesday. He was in the Ivorian capital as part of his visits to countries in Africa to re-appraise himself of events on the continent and to build friendships that will be beneficial to his presidency in 2009.

"My forebears have already made a name for the family. We've also done well for ourselves materially. It is not for these that I seek public office,” he said. “We have a genuine commitment towards the welfare of the Ghanaian people”.

Akufo-Addo briefed the Ghanaian community on events in Ghana and urged them to show an interest in developments back home. He praised them for being good ambassadors of Ghana and urged them to continue to be good guests of the Ivorian people. “Whatever affects the Ivorian people affects us as well and therefore you should not do anything that will destroy Cote d'Ivoire,” he said.

Some of them wanted to know if they could participate in this year’s election.

To this Akufo-Addo responded in the negative saying the Electoral Commission had said it was not possible for Ghanaians abroad to vote in this year’s election. "However, once the law has been passed, it means in the near future it will be possible for you to vote," he said. He however urged those who will be able to go to Ghana to register to do so when the register opens again in May.

The head of the Ghanaian community in Cote d’Ivoire, Nana Ofori-Appiah thanked Nana Akufo-Addo for his time with them. He said even as Foreign Minister, Nana Addo had always made it a point to meet with them anytime he came to Cote d’Ivoire. He said he was therefore sure that Akufo-Addo was somebody who was interested in their welfare. He said it was the wish of majority of the Ghanaian community that Akufo-Addo becomes the next President of Ghana.

Earlier on Monday, Akufo-Addo had met with the Ivorian Prime Minister, Guillaume Soro in his office. Akufo-Addo expressed joy at the fact that the Ivorian peace process was holding. "I am happy that the peace is holding. Indeed peace is vital for the re-awakening of Cote d’Ivoire’ he said. "A vibrant and forward moving Cote d’Ivoire together with Ghana can serve as the catalyst for the overall development of the region".

Guillaume Soro said he was overjoyed when he heard the news that Akufo-Addo had won the nomination of his party to be its presidential candidate. "You are very well known to all the major political actors in Cote d’Ivoire and therefore it will be easier for you to continue to serve as an honest broker should you become the President of Ghana," he said. "Indeed Cote d’Ivoire owes a lot of its peace today to your diplomatic manoeuvres when you were foreign minister. We are very grateful indeed".

The prime minister briefed Akufo-Addo on preparations being made to hold elections in Cote d’Ivoire, which will be the last phase of the peace process. He said voter registration will be held between June and July and the election itself will be held in October.

Akufo-Addo then travelled to Daoukro, about three hours drive from Abidjan, where he met with former president Konan Bedie. Konan Bedie also expressed his happiness at seeing Akufo-Addo. "It’s good to see you again, this time as leader of your party. Hopefully, the next time I see you, you will be leader of your country," he said. "We are determined to emulate the example of Ghana and tread the path of peace and development".

Later in the day, Akufo-Addo met with Allasane Ouattara, leader of the Rally of Republicans and former Prime Minister. Akufo-Addo called for co-operation between politicians in the region as a way of harmonising our efforts towards a better development of the region. Allasane Ouattara said he was grateful for Akufo-Addo’s visit and hoped that we in the region will continue to be our neighbour’s keeper. He also wished Akufo-Addo well in his bid to leader Ghana.

The NPP presidential candidate later met with Affi Nguessan, chairman of the Ivorian Popular Front, which is the party of President Laurent Gbagbo. Affi Nguessan said there is a lot that his party can learn from the NPP and called for a closer collaboration between the two parties. He praised Ghana’s democracy and said Ghana’s Institute of Economic Affairs had held some training workshops for his party.

Akufo-Addo assured his host that Ghana was determined to organise peaceful elections in December and hoped that the Ivorian election in October will also be peaceful. The presidential candidate and his team have since returned home.

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