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Opinions of Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Columnist: Newton-Offei, Justice Abeeku

The man Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

I was browsing the online edition of ‘The Sun’ of Britain when I came across a story about Andre Romelle Young, the man is at the prime age of 46, and according to the story, he had sold 51% of a business enterprise he set just a little over 3years ago, for a colossal sum of £191m to Asian smart phone giant, HTC.This sum is bigger than the $200m needed by a whole 54-year independent Ghana to purchase planes to re-tool our military.
Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a nation where a particular group of our political block would have seen the success of this gentleman as evil. He would have been described as a youth and therefore fit for nothing good except a deputy ministerial position so that he can go out there and pour verbal venom on political opponents.
My reason for the reference to such an outstandingly enterprising personality, is the fact that he happens to be a citizen of a nation, America, where there is a conscious and institutionalized policy to place premium on individual personal development.
Here is a 46-year old individual selling off half of his business concern for £191m while the whole august house of parliament of a 54-year old independent Ghana, sits and engage in endless wrangling over approval of loans as paltry as $10m.
It is in pursuit of this policy to unearth individual talent of the Ghanaian that the concept of ‘property ownership’ was pioneered by the Kufuor administration, of which Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was an integral part.
This is why, a potentially wealthy nation as Ghana with equally industrious populace, urgently needs the kind of a leader who is prepared to take the risk and launch his people into an new era of socio-economic paradigm. A leader who will lead from the front of the queue, formulate workable policies and ably convince his people to buy into his ideas.
The former British Prime Minister, Anthony Linton Blair, affectionately called Tony Blair, once said that “a true leader is the one who is capable of taking critical and sometimes unpopular decisions, but is able to convince his people, in the long run, to buy into his ideas and willingly follow him/her to actualize it”.
Ruling a third world nation, with all our economic problems, certainly requires a leader with qualities, very much akin to what Tony Blair once spoke about.
And looking at our current Ghanaian political terrain, it is evidently clear, to even political rookies, that when it comes to the issue of boldness in the area of leadership and decisiveness, one name obviously comes to mind. And this name is none other but Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo.
There has been a bit of talk about the decision of the NPP,as a body coporate,to create the space for party members and others from outside the party, to offer prayers both for the party and the nation as a whole as we prepare towards next year’s general elections.
And in the words of Nana Addo, if by the Grace of God, the people of Ghana give him the mandate in 2012, which he sincerely believes they will, it will then be incumbent on him as the president of the nation, not to turn our nation's presidency into a prayer camp, but rather, a place of practical formulation of strategies to solve our myriad of socio-economic calamities.
As a presidential candidate of the NPP in the 2008 general elections, Nana Addo lost the contest to the sitting president, by 40, 000.Percetage-wise; the figure stands at about 0.3% of the total valid votes cast. And to demonstrate the believe the rank and file of the party still have in his capabilities to bring about real improvement in how a nation must be governed, he has once again, been massively endorse to lead them into election 2012.

And to further cement his true humble character, Nana Addo is currently spending time in the countryside and engaging the ordinary citizens whose speed of personal economic tail-spin has been catastrophically phenomenal since the inception of the current administration.

Members of our society, from all identifiable groups including teachers, farmers, fishermen, trotro/taxi drivers, kenkey sellers, truck pushers street hawkers and so on, are telling Nana Addo all kinds of problems they are currently going through and how their purchasing power have drastically degenerated as a result of dramatically drastic fuel price hikes, wicked road tolls, probative food prices and so on.

Making a maiden appearance on the Multi-TV’s current affairs and news analysis program, ‘minority caucus’, Nana Addo said that his current ‘listening tour’ has brought to the fore that “our people are struck by the condition of our roads”, particularly on his visit to the neighborhoods of Dansoman,here in the nation’s capital. He bemoaned “the lack of opportunities forcing young and energetic youth to be doing nothing but play ‘dame and oware”.He also spoke about the “youth unable to continue with their education due to lack of resources of their parents.

He therefore re-enforced his plan of laying premium on education since the “Asian tigers that were at the same level with us, are now ahead of us by 50% in the area of income per capita because they made the conscious effort to invest in quality education”. And in this respect, he praised president Kufuor for the concept of “model schools”.

On the transparency of the 2012 general elections, Nana Addo said it is incumbent on us, as a people, to strive for a clean electoral process by introducing verification gadgets at the polling stations since disputes over elections, particularly in Africa, have often resulted in violence with its attendant loss of lives and total destruction of otherwise thriving nations.

He cited the example of Cote d’Ivoire where even-though “they had biometric registration, failure of verification a process at the polling station resulted in electoral dispute” and he wondered why “those who won election here in Ghana with a vote difference of just 40, 000, were ironically supporting former president Gbagbo, who had lost an election with a colossal difference of 400, 000, to perpetuate himself in power”. He however expressed his happiness that “the matter has finally been resolved”.

We are currently happy, as a people, to be celebrating and patting ourselves on the back to the effect that we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the repeal of the criminal libel law, which without a doubt, was an obnoxious law, an affront to free speech and a grievous threat to our democratic governance.

This feat was really actualized under the tenure of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as the Attorney General, when under the administration preceding that of which Nana Addo was an integral part; an Attorney General had actually gone public with a vow that “the criminal libel law will be repealed over my dead body”

On the issue of alleged figure of 44 of our compatriots being killed in Gambia, some elements in our society were shouting from the roof-tops that Captain Yahaya Jammeh was not cooperating at the time, so the best option was to engage in all-out-war with that country. These people even advocated for cutting diplomatic relation with Gambia.
But the diplomatic option by the Kufuor administration under the able stewardship of Nana Addo, finally proved to be the better option when the current president, whose followers virtually crucified Nana Addo, the foreign minister at the time, for not doing well enough to seek justice for the “44 murdered Ghanainas”.This vindication happened when the president was actually captured spotting a gigantic smile, and in a hearty handshake with Yahaya Jammeh on the front page of 3rd June 2009 edition of Daily Graphic under the caption “Murder of 44 Ghanaians in The Gambia,6 bodies to be exhumed and perpetrators to be prosecuted”.
This diplomatic route chosen under Nana Addo’s able stewardship, further turned out to be the wisest option,when,in the end, only 5-bodies,out of that much trumpeted figure of 44, were returned together with a paltry sum of $50,000 ‘blood money’. And as we speak, identities of the culprits which some elements within our society claimed to know and that if voted into power, would be swift in arresting and prosecuting, still remain a mystery.
Nana Addo also gave an insight into the forthcoming liberty lectures to be delivered by him on Thursday, 18th August, 2011 at the Alisa Hotel. He said the lecture, with the theme “a society of opportunities” is going to centre on the genesis of our nation’s quest for freedom and independence, when on the 4th of August, 1897, eminent statesmen as “Mensah-Sarbah and Casley-Hayford met at Saltpond to form the Aborigines’ Right Protection Society”.

As one of the core spirits and movers behind the Danquah/Busia Club and first National Organizer of the NPP, his political credentials are impeccable. He has always been in the engine room, working with other progressives to oppose oppressive regimes and shape the future of Ghana’s constitutional democracy.

Born 29th March 1944, in Swalaba and basic schooled at Kinbu in Accra, the witty socially engaged Nana has never been afraid to demonstrate his humanity. This has sometimes opened him up to all sorts of political mischief from his opponents. But his personal record of achievement as a legal practitioner with over 40 years exposure, fluency in French, and association with branded local businesses demonstrate his sangfroid in the face of Ghana’s challenging politico-business environment.
Nana Addo is a practicing Christian of the Presbyterian denomination. He is of the conviction that there is a marked difference between being a Christian, and simply hopping from one church to another in search of solution to a personal problem. This practice is what is referred to as 'faith shopping’. And this is what is currently being misrepresented, rather unfortunately, as a mark of religiosity.
Nana Addo is married to Rebecca Akufo-Addo (née Griffiths-Randolph) with a devoted Christian family of five daughters and two grandchildren.

Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei