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Opinions of Thursday, 1 May 2014

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

A Piece of Advice for Nana Akufo-Addo

Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs teaches us that every individual must think of actualizing his/her potential. In view of this, it'll be wrong for me to begrudge Nana Addo for pursuing his ambition of becoming president. However, Nana Addo's aspiration to lead this country as a president is having a dire consequences on the New Patriotic Party (NPP), a party he sacrificed his resources and life to build. It is a fact that the history of NPP cannot be written without recognizing the contribution of Nana Addo's just as the history of the UP Tradition and Ghana would be incomplete without his great grand father, Dr. Danquah, father, Mr. Edward Akufo-Addo, and direct uncle Mr. William Ofori-Atta. This rich political history about Nana Addo's family clearly demonstrates that he is indeed, an asset to Ghana and the NPP.

Nana, many Ghanaians, especially the poor, would always remember you for your lead role in kicking against the imposition of high rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Ghanaians in 1995. Similarly, your role as a Parliamentarian, Minister of Justice & Attorney-General, and Foreign Affairs can never be overlooked by any political writer. Your key role in re-shaping and re-branding the NPP has been recognised by every single member of the party. It is against this background that the NPP delegates have equally rewarded you on two occasions by voting massively for you as the NPP flagbearer.

Nana, since 2007, you've been making several political tours Ghana as the NPP's leader. These tours included 'Listening', 'Restoring Hope', and 'Thank You' tours, thus strengthening your marketability in the country. You've presented one of the best, if not the best Campaign Message - free SHS to the Ghanaian electorate on two electoral occasions. Again, apart from selecting one of the finest economists in Africa as your running-mate, you also energized all party members to protect the ballot boxes with your famous; "All die be die" statement. The NPP provided its Polling Agents with mobile phones to text the electoral results to the party headquarters soon after the declaration at the Polling Station by Presiding Officers. Besides, unlike Election 2000, where the NPP had no economic record to campaign on, the Kufuor's legacy of achievement - NHIS, free maternal care etc was a major political tool for you to win power in 2008. You changed your campaign managers twice, and made sure the NPP National Executives reflected on regional and gender balance to diffuse the 'Akan tag'. There was unity of purpose within the NPP as no new political party emerged from the party. The poor performance of Mills/Mahama NDC administration, the issue of 'Woyomism', and the untimely death of a sitting president six (6) months into Election 2012 were all in your favour. His Excellency, J.A. Kufuor and other NPP stalwarts campaigned for you throughout Election 2012. Finally, you gave the battle to The Lord Almighty. In spite of the above opportunities at your disposal, you still could not secure the needed victories on two occasions for the NPP and Ghanaians who need our party in power. In other words, the Ghanaian electorates have sent a clear message that Nana Akufo-Addo is not their preferred president.

Nana, you have attained 70 years this year and by 2016, you'll be 72 years. You cannot therefore tell me that age does not matter in politics, because you'll be campaigning across the length and breadth of this country. May be you might not be aware, but social scientists and behaviourists have proven beyond doubt that at age 72, the resilience of cell formation and replacement, and the energetic approach to all competitive things have already started to recede. There is also no guarantee that Election 2016 will be a done deal for you. Prez Mahama, who used barely three months to campaign in the last elections managed to beat you by not less than 300,000 votes. This same Mahama, who initially opposed your free SHS policy has indicated his willingness to give the Ghanaian child progressive free SHS. If he succeeds in doing that before Election 2016, what message would you sell again?

Strangely and regrettably, your votes keep dwindling as the gap between you and your opponent has widened from 40,000 votes to over 300,000 votes. The four (4) Akan Regions that previously voted for the NPP have reduced to only two (2) - Ashanti and Eastern. Of late, the NDC has gradually been making inroads in these two regions, which happen to be NPP strongholds. As a potential president, you have not been able to win your home region convincingly, something unusual to your predecessors.

Nana, are you aware that the actions and inactions of some of your close associates have caused more harm than good to you? As a human, you'd admit that you've made mistakes in your political career, but how many of the 'sycophants' have been able to point a single one out to you? The likes of Sir John, and Gabby have been pushing you to contest again because they believe Election 2016 is your last chance. You have been swollen-headed by the provocative mantra; "No Nana, No Vote". Your close associates have the wrong belief that Prof. Mills won the presidency on his third attempt so you too can do it, forgetting that; "Obirekuo kraa nko, 3na Odabo nso de3 nko". If you doubt this axiom, just examine the controversy surrounding Mills's death. Nana, do you envisage a similar thing to befall on you? If No, why compare yourself to Mills in the first place? Please, get a copy of Daddy Lumba's song entitled; "Y3newo resere kwa", to wit; we are only having a laugh with you.

Nana, you proved the skeptics wrong about the negative perception of your arrogance and violent posture when you accepted the Supreme Court verdict. Admittedly, you became an instant hero with that particular pronouncement. This is giving you a positive signal that you could secure "sympathy votes" in Election 2016. But Nana, this cannot be true because 'sympathy votes' are not manufactured and emotions has no place in Ghanaian politics. If that were to be the case, then you and your family would have given your votes to the NDC in 2012 because the party lost its presidential candidate. Nana, you have now become a statesman and it is better to retire from active politics in such a glorious state. You're a legend, and have tried your mighty best, but it didn't work out because you competed with 'cheats', 'thugs', and 'liars'. I therefore urge you to throw in the towel, for Ghana needs you as a guide, and trusted hand to teach the aspiring young folk. I envisage that your third term failure at the presidency will not only override your hard-won reputation, but also affect the NPP in her future political activities. This is because, it would be a politically advantageous for the NPP to lose Election 2016 under a new Candidate than under a 72 year-old Nana Akufo-Addo.

Nana, I'd like you to take a cue from the NPP National Executive Elections held recently in Tamale. After your sojourn in the UK, you told the whole world that you wanted to remain neutral in our internal elections, especially at the Regional and National levels. This led to your continuous postponements of your return to Ghana. Although, some of us know it doesn't take one's presence or absence in the country to show one 's neutrality, we still gave you the benefit of the doubt. However, you were told by your advisors to come down quickly when defeat was staring in the faces of your 'anointed' ones like Mr. Fred Oware, Sir John, and Tina Mensah. Not only did you come down, but also you did announce your intention to contest again, knowing that the NPP had a few weeks to go into a crucial National Delegates' Conference. You cannot also decouple yourself from the list of candidates sent to the delegates in Tamale which everybody knew it came from your camp. How could somebody therefore defend your neutrality in the face of the above realities? In one breadth, you prolong your stay in London to show your neutrality, and in another breadth, you're waving to the crowd in Tamale, the contest ground to show your presence and popularity.

At this juncture, permit me to borrow Sir John's take on delegates. He says; the strangest things a man must fear in life are ghosts and delegates. Please, do not assume that the current NPP Electoral College is all yours. Remember, it has been said over and over again that there is no permanent friend or enemy in politics, and that it is only a fool who doesn't change his mind. I was all for you in both 2008 and 2012, but this time around, I've seen the light, and I'm sure majority of our delegates would desert you sooner than later as they did to Jake and Sir John.

Before I end, I'd plead with you to sacrifice your political ambition for the next generation of NPP as you did for all Ghanaians after the Supreme Court verdict. You rightly said; "For the sake of peace, you accept the verdict but you disagree with the decision of the Judges." By this pronouncement, Ghanaians are enjoying peace today. Why can't you do same to save the NPP from further division and disintegration? Nana, please cast your mind back to what your direct uncle, the late Mr. William Ofori-Atta (Paa Willie) did to the PFP's leader, Mr. Victor Owusu in 1979. Paa Willie was 69 years at that time, and you are 70 years today. This incident is too bitter to be repeated by no other person than a nephew of the late Paa Willie, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. I subscribe to the wise saying; "Good name is better than riches". Please, do not tarnish the reputation you've taken years to build. In the Ghanaian football scene, Richard Olele Kinston as we all know has been the best pair of hands over the years for the senior national team, the Black Stars. He's had two World Cup experiences. We're going for another World Cup in Brazil in June. Would you advise Coach Katakyie Dr. Kwasi Appiah to use Olele ahead of Adam Kwarasey, Fatau or Stephen Adams just because Olele is experienced and popular? Nana, your guess is as good as mine! Always remember that majority of Ghanaians (the masses or ordinary people) vote on three key things: party affiliation, tribe, and more importantly on personality (likeability). Unfortunately, you have not scored higher marks on at least, two of the above-named key voting factors. Please, do not be a stumbling block, and give way to others who meet the above criteria, for life is not all about presidency.

Thank you!

God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!


Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri
(Free SHS Ambassador)
Official blog: www.katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk