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Opinions of Saturday, 22 December 2007

Columnist: Asante Fordjour

Nana Akufo-Addo

A Plea For Nana Akufo-Addo

[1] The Final Brief
Nananom, Honourable Delegates, Independent Jury of the NPP, Fellow History Enthusiasts and Peers,
In a few days, hours and seconds, we would be confronted with the past and the future- the cherished and sometimes, bitter past, that we are arguably, less capable to restore or repair. Yet, since we hold the keys of the past and present, we can indeed alter or determine the future of our country.
Today, Fordjour stands before your Court pleading on his own volition for Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Nana Addo-Dankwa is seeking not only your crucial endorsement to lead your noble tradition but also, to wrestle with the main opposition presidential candidate- the Determined and Respected Professor Fiifi Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress, who is also battling to show that he is, and can undoubtedly, be a free-agent to rule Ghana after President John Agyekum Kufuor, whose administration of January 7 2001/5, expire on 7 January 2009.
Guided by this, and perhaps, what appears to be over-concentration and uneven distribution of our natural resources, attention has been drawn to ethnicity and religion in selecting the future leader. Some disciples, ignoring that even the John the Baptist- the forerunner, did disclaim himself as the Messiah, had humorously, prophesized that our country is destined for only the Johns? Well, they betray not only the Francises and Ako Adjeis but also, the Grants, the Josephs, the Jakes and not least, the Williams, Abrefas and Dombos. Much as we must be sensitive to their views, it remains puzzled how this principle might meant to the Ghanaian and the future if this rule were to be allowed to flourish at the expense of leadership debate? We can appreciate the state of confusion, anxiety and perhaps the lure that confront the Court.
This appears counter to the “generational theory” established in Koforidua and the “Obiara Fata Principle” developed at Asamankese and recently applied at Kasoa, by President Kufuor.
Yet, had the President who compared the geographical size of the Gold Coast to the United Kingdom and seemed puzzled about how this tiny Island was able to colonize great and powerful states and continues to influence global politics, not conceded at the NPP International Conference in London that it worth sending a “prudent messenger” rather than one with “giant steps?” “Yesomma obanyasafuo na enny3 annamontenten.” he hinted in Twi.
We do not know the faith and the word in which NPP speak, so we can only speculate. Thus, we must bother not ourselves with this argument as precedent would be set to the effect that very soon, the Akwamus and the Akuapems, Adanses/Amansies, the Asante and the Akyems, Konkomba/Nanumbas, Ga/Adangbwes and to mention but few Tsitso/Pekis, will be looking for the wood, rather than the trees on the Savannah or in the forest? Fordjour will be confused.
In our secular country, is the setting up of equal opportunity mechanisms at various ministries and departments, as promoted in the United Kingdom to monitor proportionality and even-distribution of national worth and positions based on merit and convenience, worth not pursuing by political leadership and functionaries? Articulation of ethnicity and religion at the expense of the cardinal leadership benchmark, as history has shown around the world, had been too expensive to nurture. Assuming ethnicity and religion were to be the golden rule, then why not the P(NDC)? With its unshakable base in the North, will it not have compensated the Limanns and Mahamas the at the expense of our learned Professor Mills?
True, in the days when the Disciples of Christ were increasing in number, yes, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. To this end, the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said: “It is not right that we should give preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. And what they said pleased the whole gathering and they chose BUT only (7): Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, Nicholaus- the proselyte of Antioch and most importantly, Stephen- the Orator and a man, who according to Paul’s accounts, was full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. These they set before the Apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them and the word of God, according to Acts of Apostles, continued to increase.
Having said, one may ask, who is then the most suitable spirant for the NPP presidential bid? Although all the 18 or so NPP Hopefuls, as the President had repeatedly said, enyinaa fata, yet, he recently cracked the crucial nut by suggesting a level-headed Principal after his reign?
Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo fits best in this position. He radiates not only honest fears and respect among his peers and foes but also, has for decades, risked and gambled his hard-won reputation and courage at the disposal of Ghana and the NPP. Nana is robust, intelligent, tried-and-tested and good team-player, who adapts at all levels and can indeed stand on his feet and head as and when required. Nana is indeed, the lone face and voice crying on the wilderness with the indigenous capitalism- a rising political concept that looks nowhere than within the boundaries of Ghana and which seems to have hoisted Nana above his challengers?
[2] The Historical Speech
Sounding like the Biblical Stephen, who reminded the Hebrews not only of their current glories but also, the historical call of their forefathers and misfortunes at Egypt and on the wilderness, Nana Addo set out his brief on why he would like to lead the NPP and where successful, lead Ghana, with a snap reference to the philosophy and programmes of the NPP- a property-owning democracy that he says was founded by Great Dr Joseph Boakye Dankwa? In the eyes of JB, a property-owning democracy for a free, independent Ghana, could never mean luxury for an elite at the expense of the poor, writes of Nana Addo-Dankwa, who argues that after thirty years in frontline politics, the more he travels around the country canvassing for votes, the more he sees the urgency in waging and winning the war against poverty. We are quizzed to learn that the Doyen of Ghanaian politicians dreamt of a private ownership spread to benefit the majority of citizens, but not just a rich and privileged few in our society?
To achieve social justice for every Ghanaian, whether rural or urban dweller, Nana submits that the only logical step to the next level is to intensify our efforts in pursuing a development agenda that is broad-based, all-inclusive and sustainable? Fairness, he argues, is essential or we cannot play ball at all and that we have a right and duty to engage in and profit from the country’s economic growth. “What we need is a political economy that serves our people, by building a strong bridge from the times when big government did everything, to a future when people are entrusted with self-governance.  We need to follow the wisdom of our forefathers; we need to mould our economic system to our particular instincts for individual freedom and social justice. Hence, Danquah’s insistence that the purpose of governmental action should enhance the life, liberty and property of each and every citizen”, he reminded his audience.
Nana acknowledges the hard work, creativity and a sense of entrepreneurship of the Ghanaian. So, he may be right in thinking that we deserve from our Government, the very best of public services, including an effective, humane healthcare system, access to a secure and reliable justice system and quality education in Ghana that rivals any in the world? “But we cannot get anywhere without sufficient financial resources.  And to grow these financial resources, we need to look more and more to ourselves within Ghana and among Ghanaians in the Diaspora than we have in the past- a policy of Ghanaian Economic Empowerment.” 
Of course, the immediate-past Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD, is not preaching that Ghana should slam its doors to the process of globalisation but rather, expects it to evoke the rules and regulations in such a way as to enhance our capability and capacity. “We should be bold and devise and push an agenda that gets people out of the cycle of subsistence wages and informal, ad hoc economic activities, into the formal sector,” he submits. .To do so, it is suggested that we should indeed, not be shy of introducing policies that look, first and foremost, after our own people at every level of our economy. Nana believes in global competence- both in commerce and industry and pragmatic agenda that picks, stimulates and increases the number of Ghanaian winners in all sectors of endeavours. “I believe in hard work and leading by example, cohesive richness and the manifest destiny of this great nation’s diversity. I believe in the can-do spirit of our people and equal opportunity and in a fair deal for everyone. I believe in God and the Ghanaian- we are a peace-loving people, who are among the best people on this planet.  I believe in caring for the vulnerable, in a society that respects everyone. I believe in the Constitution- the rule of law and justice for all, regardless of status and the indigenous democratic heritage of Ghana,” says Kwakwaduam
[3] The Political Hurdles
For Nana Akufo-Addo there are five qualities which delegates should focus on when they choose a Presidential Candidate  (i) Record of Active Work for the Party (ii) Ability to Unite the Party (iii) Capacity to Win the Presidential Election (iv) Leadership Qualities (v) Vision.
We might have also overhead them say this: “The next NPP leader after Kufuor must be a God-fearing, humble and to a larger extent, a tall beautiful woman- or a traits of a youthful handsome man- a “Gentle Giant?” No. Thanks in part to the “Obiara Fata” theory that had now undermined this NPP leadership principle. Nana Addo calls for a political leader capable of articulating a vision that transcends party lines. He is competent, courageous, and confident and has the restraint, judgment, balance and purposefulness to be an executive leader. Nana concedes that personal attributes and noble intentions can never, on their own, be adequate in our current dispensation. It requires more than old age, party loyalty, charisma, eloquence, acclaimed youthfulness, good looks or campaign cash to win elections to lead a country? 
“For my part as a leader, I shall lead by continuing to be a good listener. I promise to listen to voices great and small, near or far, and friend or rival. But, after all is said, I can assure you that I shall act decisively and with firmness. The next leader has no choice but to continue to usher Ghana forward as a nation where rights and responsibilities are instinctively respected; a Ghana where rules and regulations are humanely but strictly enforced…,” says Nana Addo.
Having considered all inferences in the NPP presidential arm-twisting, it appears that Nana’s confrontational if not robust approaches in the past that attracted bombs and artillery shells on his roofs, here, while NPP was in opposition; appear to have lost its usefulness. Nana must not be punished for this. The National Reconciliation Commission has observed in its Final Report that any resistance against oppressive and dictatorial rule, worth championing. Anything contrary to this might send a wrong signal to present and future generations, who might risk their head and asset in defence of the nation and certainly, our sacred Constitution.
It is abundantly clear- at home and abroad that Nana Addo is a well-known, committed party activist and loyalist who can more easily command the respect and admiration of the Party’s foot soldiers, who are working in their various huts to get the Party and its candidate elected. “My record as an activist of the Danquah-Busia tradition since the mid-1970s and my work for the Party, beginning as its first National Organiser in 1992 to date, speaks volumes of my commitment, contribution and devotion to the cause of the Party, through thick and thin.”
But will his critics buy this? Having lost the grand debate- that the Ghanaian is no longer prepared to misconstrue self-confidence to mean arrogance, not forgetting the Tsatsu Case- a trial which had ever since, struggled under the wigs and robes of two or so Attorney Generals, competence appears not to be the desired argument against Nana Akufo-Addo. Today, their cherished trade is the alleged gruesome killings of the 40 Ghanaians by the Gambians. But in their fear or hurry, are they not confusing their audience on diplomacy and military hierarchy?
[4] The Gambian Killings
We proceed in passing that Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo was at the time of the alleged killings, neither the Defence Minister nor the Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces but rather, the Foreign Minister? Yes, Article 51 of the UN Charter talks of self-defence where a nation state comes directly or indirectly under foreign attack? We shall come to this later but it most be told that this is not a “Blanc Cheque” for use of force. More so, do Foreign Ministers declare or proclaim an end to wars in their international relations but “Presidents”?
Even where there is an overwhelming and sporadic attack on the state, leaving no room for diplomatic negotiations, Article 2(4) of the Charter appeals to all UN Member States to refrain from their international pursuits any activities that might compromise international (regional) peace and security? The authority to this principle could be found in Nicaragua v U.S. Case (ICJ) (Para Military Activities). This could be sourced from the Google. From this premise, has Nana Addo not demonstrated his sensitivity and remarkable political judgement? “Running a whole country is not the same as running a ministry of state… It requires that elusive thing called true leadership. The next President of the Republic must have an impressive record of political leadership, both domestic and global. In all humility, I can say that my entire career in politics has been about leadership… I believe in rewarding those who play by the rules, and giving credit to high achievers. I believe in freedom, and a sense of national responsibility,” says the man who seeks the support of the NPP delegates and where successful, will venture to transform the ideas and hopes of every man and woman of Ghana into our new reality, a reality where we stand erect as a nation together, on our own two feet.
The aspirant thus subscribes to a self-reliant, independent, free, prosperous Ghana- which will be able to make her own unique contribution to the growth and development of Africa and the world. Nana believes in, a vibrant and unfettered media as it is the only way to hold Government and society to the highest standards of honesty, self discipline and delivery. “Our job as politicians is to ensure that the state provides the people with a quality environment of law and order, physical infrastructure, social services, sensitivity and quick responsiveness to needs, and a regulatory environment that allows free and fair competition,” it is submitted Nana Addo believes that if Government focuses on what it is elected to do- providing leadership and good public services- the Ghanaian will be free to go about his or her lawful business. This included indeed, the protection of its citizens and assets. But how capable are we at home in seeking jurisdiction over criminals let alone unknown personalities abroad? It upon these weak arguments that Nana stresses on every confidence, integrity and wisdom of the NPP delegates to vote him ‘one touch’ to win the presidential election in December 2008.  “If the NPP is to promote national reconciliation, it has to promote reconciliation within itself. We must guide against factionalism. If I am given the nod as the Party’s flag bearer, all party members will be treated alike, whether or not they voted for me,” says the immediate-past Foreign Minister. Honourable Delegates and Independent Jury, reasoning that no ideology can survive forever, you may be indeed considering ruling on not only the past but also the future?
[5] The Plea
Because we are weak in predicting what the Congress will or might not do, it is our plea that it ignores the baseless accusations against Nana Akufo-Addo, a name that if storms have anything to do with rainfall, represents triumph. Indeed, obiaa or say, woomo nyinaa fata, yet, in reaching its decision, we pray to the Delegates to consider why Nana has come under intense political and personality attack and scrutiny. We doubt not your Independence and Integrity.

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