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Opinions of Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Columnist: Aidoo, Ato

Ghana’s New Presidency Through The G8 At Sea Island

By Ato Aidoo

At the 30th G8 Summit held at Sea Island in the United States from June 8-10, 2004, one of the concluding highlights showcased Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, then Ghana’s foreign minister, as a best example of leadership in Africa. In him, the thrust behind a G8 endorsement of African leadership was redefined, prescribing an example of how developed countries can trust and deal with people who show genuine concern to enormous economic and social challenges that confront the world.

As usual, some Ghanaians rubbished the endorsement due to partisanship, describing it as another western propaganda. Some critics even said it was another amplification of the qualities of a politician by politicians who meet yearly to wine and dine at beautiful locations around the world. They belittled the observation.

But many pundits saw the endorsement as an elevation of the African personality, the recognition that after all Africa was still endowed with great men and women who are intelligent, and genuinely positioned to shape its future.

When Nana Akufo Addo was selected by African leaders present at the G8 to explain Africa’s viewpoint on international development, among other matters, he disabused the minds of many “doubting Thomases” about some of the wrong perceptions associated with the continent.

Nana’s qualities and eloquence showed, and his message was well received not only by Africans, but by many Americans, and a record world audience through the Atlanta-based Cable News Network (CNN).

Questions directed toward Black Africans as a result of Nana’s interview were, indeed, interesting. In short, he gave a good account of himself, of Africa’s nagging problems, and what governments can also do to improve their economies. Nana Akufo-Addo explained President Bush’s global efforts to meet 21st Century challenges through a $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, of which South Africa and Uganda were the focus countries, and the Millennium Challenge Account, for which Senegal and Ghana had qualified, promoting private sector-led growth, and poverty alleviation.

As Ghanaians go to the polls on December 7th, it is only appropriate to remind people of the choices before them, as against unnecessary public argument that have clouded reasoning, the challenges facing our homeland, and how the world has evolved to do business with competent and progressive leaders, especially in Africa.

For a leader to meet domestic needs and solve problems, global partnership is indispensable. This certainly explains why any individual that has won international admiration must not be ignored through botched political tactics and lies from any opposition party.

In a 21st century world that we live in, no country operates in isolation. In fact, leadership shapes the fortunes of any country.

It is also true, that throughout history countries have extended help to each other, but we should be reminded that this is facilitated by quality leadership and sound developmental agenda. I have no doubt that Ghana’s Nana Akufo Addo genuinely represents hope for the future.

With humility unimaginable in the homeland, while extending due respect to all the presidential candidates in Ghana, the open secret is that Nana Akufo-Addo stands tall in the minds of world leaders, especially those from the G8 who share common beliefs, and agree on issues with a collective voice.

And at this crucial time when we want to shape a strong political and developmental agenda, Ghana, indeed, needs a leader who is known and accepted by the world, the reminder being that the leader of the main opposition party does not represent positive change as being presented to the electorate. He is, indeed, an “old wine in a new bottle”, but wrongly labeled.

John Evans Atta Mills cannot be equated to America’s president-elect- Barack Obama, who won the US presidential race on a well-crafted message flavored to win international recognition - “Change, We Can”.

A “change” of government in Ghana can reverse gains made so far to empower the citizenry for greater things ahead, the quest for opportunities, economic satiety, freedom of association, and free speech can be suppressed. Ghanaians should not too soon forget the divisiveness and bitterness that characterized the National Democratic Congress in the past, its populist posture, and how it is now desperate for power, an albatross that hinges on vindictiveness and fury, as against the giant strides made in a free society, united by a common purpose that cannot be dislodged by a party which is on a soul searching mission.

The verdict is loud and clear, that the NPP represents the future, while some of the parties; especially the NDC, continues to beat war drums in its frustrating attempt to win an election. This would not work. Ghanaians have become discerning enough as other citizens of the world, that world leaders now want to deal with people who show exemplary qualities, a clear sense of mission that fits into a global agenda, and Nana Akufo-Addo, is a fitting metaphor of this global notion.

Ghana’s political and economic destiny is in the hands of its citizens, but global perceptions about the country and who leads it cannot be easily dismissed due to partisanship and pettiness, as the world shifts to the center unhindered by countries who want to remain losers in the global village, of which shared responsibilities and quality leadership have become an acceptable model, not only in international relations and development, but now constitutes a universal remedy for domestic problems.

Ghana’s new presidency endorsed at Sea Island by the G8 was not a mere coincidence, but it can only be sealed by Ghanaians as the world watches the emergence of a new partner in Africa who can help prioritize scientific challenges, international economic collaboration, security, and coordination of product development efforts.

It would be no fluke, but a serious partnership that would help align and channel existing resources to the needs of the people.

Nana Akufo Addo has the qualities to transform Ghana through this course of development, and of freedom, which are not only reinforced by the trust bestowed upon him at Sea Island, but by our people’s yearning for justice, jobs, knowledge, and decent life.

I am averse to the distractions as to which party’s presidential candidate can die today or tomorrow, sick or healthy, handsome or ugly, due to the fact that the bigger issues’ facing a country and its people goes beyond these non-issues, for the best option is defined through reasoning - that leadership is the representation of a capacity to make things happen that would otherwise not happen.

This is why I endorse Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo in his humble pursuit to become the next president of Ghana

Author, formerly of the features desk, Daily Graphic, Accra, Ghana. Source: Aidoo, Ato