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Opinions of Friday, 4 October 2013

Columnist: Asante, David

Akufo-Addo is a true statesman

As a former student leader at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and
Technology, I was extremely delighted by the news that the National Union
of Ghana Students has decided to award the highest award of students to
none other than the 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party.

From international world organisations like the United Nations, the
European Union; to the clergy, political parties across the country, Nana
Akufo-Addo’s singular and swift action in not seeking a review of the
judgement and preserving the peace of the nation has been acknowledged by
all and sundry.

Even his political opponents who described him in all manner of ways have
today eaten humble pie and are now calling him a “True Statesman”. Thus the
decision to award Nana Akufo-Addo, the highest award of students of Ghana
in the 47-year history of NUGS is welcoming and in the right direction.

The statement by the NUGS, indeed, did indicate that the petition filed by
Nana Akufo-Addo & Co. exposed enormously the inequities in the electoral
process which might have affected the individual and collective will of the
Ghanaian people at the polls.

However, the so-called majority of the Supreme Court Justices, in their own
wisdom, decided that the 2012 Election was sacrosanct and saw nothing wrong
with it, despite the evidence adduced in court and seen by the majority of
Ghanaians who watched the hearings live on TV.

But like the true statesman that he has always been, Nana Akufo-Addo bowed
out graciously and decided not to seek a review. I, however, believe that
the accolade of him being a “True Statesman” has been too long in coming.

At age 33, Nana Akufo-Addo became the General Secretary of the broad-based
People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ), which was composed of
political stalwarts such as Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa, William Ofori-Atta,
Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, Adu Boahen, Sam Okudzeto, Obed Asamoah, Godfrey
Agama, K.S.P. Jantuah, Jones Ofori-Atta, Johnny Hanson and Nii Amaah
Amartefio (Mr. No). This group led the "NO" campaign in the UNIGOV
referendum of 1978, ultimately bringing about the downfall of the
Acheampong military government on 5th July, 1978, and the restoration of
multi-party democratic rule to the country in 1979. Nana had to go briefly
into exile after the referendum, when his life was in danger. But, from
Europe, he could be heard constantly on BBC World Service, fighting against
the military rulers back in Ghana and calling for a return to democracy.

In 1995, Nana led the famous “Kume Preko” demonstrations of the Alliance
For Change (AFC), a broad-based political pressure group, which mobilised
more than a million people onto the streets of Ghana to protest the harsh
political and economic conditions of the Rawlings era. It is well
established that those demonstrations helped create the environment for the
victory of the NPP in the 2000 elections.

His selflessness in always looking out for the best interests of Ghanaians
for well over 35 years is unmatched in this country and I certainly believe
that “there is more for him to contribute to the Ghanaian people and the
coming years offer enough avenue for him to contribute his quota in the
development and governance of Ghana.’’

I urge all well-meaning Ghanaians to join the National Union of Ghana
Students on the October 11 at Erata Hotel in Accra to confer on Nana
Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the highest award of the students of Ghana in its
47-year history.

*David Asante*
*Aspiring NPP Youth Organiser*