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Opinions of Monday, 14 September 2020

Columnist: Maybelle Boma

African of the week: Ghana’s charismatic President Nana Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Speaking at the JFK Forum of the Harvard Kennedy School In March 2019 where he delivered the keynote address for that year’s Africa Development Conference, President Nana Akufo-Addo President of the Republic of Ghana had this to say “Africa has to have a strategy to reap the demographic dividends that a youthful population offers”

This statement is indeed one of the hallmarks, of the optimistic nature of the President Akufo-Addo.

That of a Pan African who strongly believes that Africa must depend on its own resources, human and natural.

When the 57th Summit of the Economic Community of West African States elected the Ghanaian President to be Chairperson of the Organization, they elected a seasoned diplomat, a man of law and experienced politician. For four years (2003-2007) he was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana.

Two years before that, he was the Attorney General. And Minister of Justice of the Republic of Ghana. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, he became in no time the most revered and respected Minister in the West African Region.

He became the interface between Francophone and Anglophone countries aided by his mastery of the language of Voltaire which he speaks with a perfect French accent which he most likely acquired from his years working with the renown French Law Firm Coudert et Frères.

Yes, indeed Nana Akufo Addo was a legal practitioner at the Ghana Bar and duly recognized for his passion for the defense of Human Rights and Liberties.

He engaged in legal battles such as the right to demonstrate as well as for equal access to the public media.

He did indeed form the Civil Rights Organization called the Ghana’s Committee on Human and Peoples Rights which mirrored the vision and mission of the African Union Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Ado was elected President of Ghana and was sworn in January 2017 after two earlier unsuccessful bids, in 2008 and 2012.

Many consider him today has the savior of Ghana’s democracy because of the way he conceded defeat after the Supreme Court decision.

The results were so close that it was very easy for Nana Akufo Ado to weaponize powerful and frustrated supporters especially in the 2008 elections in which he was a member of the political party which the party of the incumbent President.

Akufo-Ado conceded in both cases and reigned in his supporters.

In the first election against Ata Mills the difference was very slim and indeed in the first round of voting Akufo-Ado tallied 49.13 ahead of Atta Mills but less than the 50% required by the Constitution.

The 2012 elections against incumbent President John Mahama, were equally shrouded on the controversy.

The matter was finally settled at the Supreme Court on the basis of a slim and controversial 5-4 decision in favor of the incumbent.

In the interest of stability and the rule of law Nana Akufo-Ado conceded and called upon his supporters to remain calm.

Less than one year into his Presidency he launched the much acclaimed free High School policy; and in the second year 2018, the 7-Year Program for Economic and Social Development Policies based on five pillars of growth and development: revitalizing the economy; transform agriculture and industry; revamping economic and social infrastructure; strengthening social protection and inclusion; and reforming delivery system of public service institutions. Ghana, Rwanda and Ethiopia now stand out as the forebearers of the economic growth of the continent.

As the racist tensions grow in the US the government of President Akufo-Addo launched a program to encourage African Americans to “come home”.

500 hectares of land have been earmarked to welcome those who take up the offer to came and settle in Ghana.

In late 2017 Nana Akufo-Addo during a press conference in the presence of a stunned French President Emmanuel Macron, made a statement that is now classified as one of the most courageous messages in recent times of an African leader. President Akufo Addo said:

“We can no longer continue to make policy in our region, in our continent on the basis of whatever support that the western world, or France, or the European Union can give us. It has not worked; it has never worked, and it will not work.” A stunned and confused Macron could only respond by acclaiming President Addo as a model President for Africa.

So, my pick for this week’s profile, is Ghana’s charismatic President Nana Akufo-Ado. A true Pan Africanist, and a leader who has placed the plight of the youth at the center of his pre-occupations about his country. President Addo is married to the lovely Rebecca Akufo-Ado with whom he has five daughters.

A sought-after speaker for events in Universities and Conferences all over the world, there is no doubt to me that for our continent President Nana Akufo Addo with his 2020 vision stands out like the Man with the plan.

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