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Opinions of Thursday, 14 November 2013

Columnist: Amankwah–Sarfo, Fred Kwaku

Akufo-Addo: A man of peace & vision

The real character of a man is best exhibited in times of adversity and as
Abraham Lincoln posits it, *“nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you
want to test a man's character, give him power”.* At a time when the peace
of Ghana rested on the word of one man, the real character of Akufo Addo
excellently manifested itself.



The character of Nana Akufo Addo has been evidently established over the
past four decades as peaceful and visionary. At every stage in his life,
this humble man continues to show these true and honest character traits.
He wants an opportunity to serve his country and do what other visionary
leaders have done for theirs.



A character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what
we think of it; the tree is the real thing. Reputation is what others may
think of you but your character is what you actually are. Your opponents
may succeed in defining what they want to be your reputation but if you are
a man of character who can endure and persevere time will vindicate you.
And, that, Ghanaians, is what we are seeing with Akufo-Addo.



A tree has many parts, roots, trunk, leaves and seasonal flowers and
fruits. A person’s character also has many parts and society benefits from
these when we are able to appreciate a servant-leader's true character.



Although some critics have run over themselves denigrating this gem of a
man, his inner constitution, sincere demeanor and expressions bear
umpteenth testimony to his character as a man of peace and vision.



The significance of his acceptance speech on the verdict of the Supreme
Court on the election petition has resonated excellently with all people in
Ghana and across the globe. During the 2012 elections the tension in Ghana
was at a spilling point, fear and anxiety consumed many a Ghanaian and the
country seemed to be on the verge of anarchy. The experiences of many
African countries where election disagreements had resulted in conflicts
with many lives lost and properties destroyed were so fresh in the minds of
Ghanaians and our development partners.



But for those of us who knew Akufo Addo were convinced that with him as
leader of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and its presidential candidate, no
violent activity was going to befall the nation even in the face of the
most extreme provocation from other actors.



Akufo Addo’s love for peace, party and country is bigger than his personal
desire to lead the country. His entire political career attests to this.
Between 1972 and 1979, his struggle against the then Supreme Military Junta
of General Kutu Acheampong & General Frederick Akuffo did not see him take
up arms or support any conspiracy of violent overthrow of the illegal
military regimes. He resorted to use only nonviolent methods, including the
courage of his conviction and his belief in the rule of law, to push for a
regime change.



Nana Addo and other members of his group, joined forces in using nonviolent
methods to achieve a return to democratic rule. When the SMC 1 decided to
use the Union Government Concept to perpetuate its rule on Ghanaians, Akufo
Addo and his colleagues used nonviolent methods in disagreeing with the
military junta and campaigned for a no vote.



Patience is a virtue Akufo Addo has consistently portrayed and as Mahatma
Gandhi put it *“If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of
time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm”*



In the aftermath of the overthrow of Dr. Hilla Limamn, Akufo Addo
maintained his peaceful nature and used nonviolent struggle to help to
return Ghana to constitutional democracy. He believes that the free will of
the people to choose their leaders could be guaranteed only in democracy.
As a human right advocator, his resolve for the rule of law and not the
rule of man has never been in question. When some leading figures in Ghana
remained acquiescent to the military regime which over threw the Dr. Hilla
Limamn’s Administrations, the likes of Akufo Addo remained resolute in
their fight to return Ghana to democratic constitutional rule.



The over throw of governments through coups and counter coups especially
within the West Africa Sub region was insidious to peace and development,
luckily for us in Ghana, Akufo Addo and his colleagues used very refined
and peaceful protests to ensure that Ghana did not go along the path of our
neighbors.



Although a leading figure in the formation of the New Patriotic Party, at
no point in time has he assumed himself to be the only person with the
right to lead the party. At all times and in all intends and purposes Akufo
Addo has always offered himself to be decided on the party delegates. I am
very confident that he would once again response to the call of many within
and without the NPP fold to offer himself for the flagbearership position
of the party for the 2016 presidential elections.



An extremely popular politician, however a combination of less vigilance of
some polling station executives and close election margins have led to him
losing two presidential polls. But as peaceful and visionary leader
quitting politics for being denied twice is not for the man of his stature.
2016 must be bus year and Ghana's opportunity to experience what thus gem
of a peaceful and visionary man Ghana would have as president.

Admittedly though, some utterance of this man of peace and vision has been
misinterpreted and exploited against him. What come to mind are "all die be
die’ and “yen akan fo” statements. Akufo Addo has never been one to turn
away from a good competition but would never use tools of violence. His
conduct and that of NPP in election and the election petition have removed
all doubt about him and crystallized is character as a peaceful and
visionary man.



There is no human born of a woman who is perfect. Akufo Addo does not claim
to be a perfect person and it would therefore be very important that these
statements and others made by some leading members of the New Patriotic
Party which have the propensity of being misinterpreted are withdrawn and
apologies offered the people of this country immediately. This would offer
Ghanaians the truly peaceful, humble and visionary character of Akufo Addo.
Let us take this opportunity to allow Ghanaians to see the value of the
tree (Character) instead of allowing others to show electorates just a
shadow of the tree (perception of his reputation).



Effective communication requires that statements are made to the
understanding of the recipient in the manner that was intended. Making
statements that have the propensity to be misconstrued and misinterpreted
must be avoided in the future.



Akufo Addo, is a man with clarity of thoughts, articulate and extremely
confident. Those of us very close to him see the humility, respect and
extreme circumspection that Akufo Addo brings to the table all the time. He
listens. He will be the last to speak and he takes good and sincere advice.
He is not vindictive. He has shown that time and again. He is an honest man.



It is these traits that I consider very vital in bringing to the public.
The people of Ghana must know the real character traits of Akufo Addo to
help in making the best political decision come 2016.



Many leaders in Ghana and elsewhere have had several attempts to lead their
people and failed. It is with consistency and persistency at the polls that
shows the real strength of great leader. Our very own late President John
Evans Attah Mills was only third time lucky at his last attempt. President
Mills was not overly ambitious, but had the premonition to lead the
country. Akufo-Addo with such vision and conviction to transform Ghana has
an ambition that we must all help materialize.



Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, who worked
tirelessly for the abolishment of slavery and strengthening the national
government as well as modernizing the economy failed in many attempts to
lead the people of the United States of American in its early nation
building stages. When he finally became President, he promoted the rapid
modernization of the economy through banks, canals, railroads and tariffs
to encourage the building of factories.

An exceptionally astute politician, Lincoln has been consistently ranked
both by scholars and the public as one of the greatest U.S. presidents, it
was his sheer show of consistency and magnanimity and self-belief akin to
the dexterity of Akufo Addo that he eventually became the 16th President of
the union. If he had given up due to earlier failures, the American dream
may have had a different story today.



Stein Gertrude stated that “silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone”.
The people of Ghana continue to show gratitude to Akufo Addo albeit in
silence. The time has come for us to portray our gratitude to him in public
by voting massively for him at the polls in 2016. That vote must go beyond
rigging margins. It must be massive.



Let us give the man of peace and vision a chance to help Ghana achieve its
rightful position in the League of Nations while fast tracking our
development for the benefit of all irrespective on political affiliation.



By:

Kwaku Amankwah–Sarfo

Tel: 0244 255 525 / 0544 331 324

Email: Fredy.amankwah@gmail.com