Opinions Fri, 3 Apr 2009

Is Nana Akuffo-Addo Fit To Be President? Rejoinder

I have read with surprise and sadness a feature that appeared on the ever popular Ghanaweb on the 31st March 2009 under the caption "Is Akufo Addo fit to be President"? It is my style not to respond to features on Ghanaweb since many people have their reservations to some features I also write to the same site, but the many allegations and fallacies concocted by S. L. Oklu should not pass without any reaction especially since they were targeted at no mean a person than Nana Akuffo-Addo. The invectives and innuendos of Oklu hurled at Nana Akufo-Addo in a reckless abandon, without decorum and deference to the 2008 flag bearer of a great party like NPP demands a reaction.

Oklu said in paragragh two; "Now, to my question: Is Nana Akuffo Addo Fit to be President? In my opinion he is not qualified to assume the highest office of the land. The reason being that he lacks the qualities of a good leader". What is Oklu talking about. Does he know what constitute leadership?Leadership is about people- how to lead people to achieve desired outcomes. It is about carrying people along; It is about vision; A leader organises, motivates and leads people to achieve beneficial results. A leader must have charisma-essential to motivate and inspire people to support his course.Which of these does Nana Akufo-Addo lack. He was born a leader and this is manifested in his many leadership roles even before becoming flag bearer of NPP. He is one of the few lawyers with economist brains and as such has a good appreciation of the needs of our dear Nation.Whether Oklu like it yes or not, Nana Akufo-Addo has a Presidential mien and solid track record of credentials and achievements that can be equalled if not surpassing all the leadership of his party including the President John Evans Atta Mills.

Oklu do not want to know the performance of then Vice-President Atta Mills as Chairman of the Economic Management Team of the first NDC government between 1997 to 2007. Even now how good is President Atta Mills performing ever since Ghanaians mistakenly gave him their mandate to steer the affairs of this country. I would for now not bother myself with with all facts I have on the performance of this government but will do so at a later time.

I also find it difficult to understand the basis of Oklu's assertion that "Nana Akuffo Addo was one individual among the lot that was given the best opportunity to prove, assert and to distinguish himself but failed woefully. First, he was appointed the Attorney General and Minister for Justice. What happened? With arrogance and nasty pride, he was just in a rush to jail Tsatsu Tsikata but only to realize he was dealing with the wrong man". What an ignoramus?

I know many people have passed similar comments in the past, but I believe it was out of ignorance or sheer mischief. How can this little mishap over the Tsatsu Tsikata case when Nana Akufo-Addo was the Minister of Justice and Attorney General be a yardstick to judge his performance. It is true a straight comparison between Ministers and Ministries was used by my own party members who were interested in becoming Presidential Candidate to make their case. In fact some easily pin-pointed tangible developmental projects from their ministries to buttress their achievements. That was unfair because some ministries deal more with co-ordination issues rather than landmarks of achievements.

What about the Repeal of the Criminal Libel Law and the setting up of the the National Reconciliation Commission. The Reforms of the Legal System at the Ministry of Justice, prominent amongst them being the establishment of the New Commercial Court and the Business Law Division of the Justice Ministry.

Oklu wrote "Nana Akuffo Addo was removed from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of foreign Affairs. At the Foreign Affairs, what can he be remembered for? The only thing that comes to mind is the withdrawal of courtesies due ex-President Rawlings for the mere reason that he (Rawlings) was criticizing the then government".

This is an unfortunate statement. Anyway I will not begrudge him for talking about courtesies to former President Rawlings because that issue is inconsequential to me. However I think Oklu should be educated on what Nana Akufo-Addo can be remembered for at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.During his tenure as Foreign Affairs Minister, Ghana became a Member of the UN Security Council through his instrumentality. Oklu must be told Kufour became ECOWAS and then AU Chairman under Akufo Addo.

May be Oklu is also unaware that Nana Akufo Addo worked so hard to strengthen the economic Relations between Ghana and the rest of the World. He won new friends for Ghana resulting in the country gaining access to financial facilities such as Debt Relief and Increase in Aid.The projection and enhancement of the image of Ghana as stable functioning democracy governed by the rule of law and as an attraction investment destination with a market driven economy of sound fundamentals and a firm determination to achieve a middle income status, a situation the NDC government is benefiting from now would be attributed to the good works of Nana Akufo Addo.

Oklu naively went on, "It is about time we told those who want rule us that arrogance and pettiness cannot be tolerated. In other words, characters and traits that are inimical to democracy will not be allowed".

Is this a fairer assessment of a man who was given this arrogance tag by Oklu's party, the NDC? If Oklu had the chance of meeting Nana Addo one- on- one, he would revise his notes on this 'arrogance perception'. In fact Nana Addo is one of the simplest contemporary politician one could come across despite his previleged upbringing. Even Kofi Coomson who once said he would not be able to sleep if Nana Addo becomes President rejected the 'arrogance tag' on him during the interview he passed that unfortunate comment. It is my considered opinion that many people substitute "self confidence" for "arrogance". Nana Akufo Addo is able to mix maximally with different kinds of people-youth, women, the old, previleged and under-previleged. In fact my first direct contact with Nana Akufo Addo was at the Sunyani Congress of NPP in 1998 when as a very young politician, was one of those who strongly supported him to become the party's flag bearer.

At a meeting with delegates he clearly outlined his vision and also interacted with all those at meeting without an iota of arrogance. Ever since I have always kicked against this unfounded perception.

I was a member of his Communication Committee for the 2007 Presidential Primaries from March 2007 to July 2007 and used to admire the way he conducted himself at our meetings. He allowed each an every one of us to make our points without imposing his ideas on us. He is a good listener and would never reject the contribution of any of us but will always say 'lets modify your point to such and such way'. Oklu was at his hypocritical best when he said, "Those who are of the view that ex-President Kufour did not not offer much help to Nana Akufo Addo to win the Presidential seat have got it all wrong. I do not know if they expected the ex-President to hold his hand and put him on the seat". What a childish statement?No one expected Kufour to hold Akufo Addo's hands like a baby and put him on the seat. In any case I wonder why an NDC man should meddle in the affairs of NPP by playing one leader against the other forgetting that the leaders of his party NDC are at the moment clutching at each others throats to show who is who in their government. Oklu should address the tantrums of NDC's "Co-President Jerry John Rawlings". Those who want to remove the mots in the eyes of others must first remove the logs in their own eyes.I should have ignored Oklu on this issue but since he once again exhibited crass ignorance on why some NPP members are genuinely peeved with Kufour over our defeat, I am tempted to tell him this;At a time Kufour was needed by the party to campaign from Region to Region, Constituency to Constituency and hamlet to hamlet, he chose to gambol round the world receiving accolades and awards including one at Liberia. He also failed to either campaign with the flag bearer or alone but went round commissioning 'Old Projects'.This is another scenario;Issah Ketekewu, a crony of Kufour and then Deputy Minister of Northern Region was ill and bed-ridden for three years- 2006 to 2008, and could therefore not perform his functions properly. There were calls for his replacement since the Northern Region is so huge that several Ministers have bemoaned the enormity of the daunting political and administrative challenges this amorphous and unwieldy region that is aboout ten times the size of Greater Accra region poses but Kufour was unperturbed till Ketekewu died in June 2008 thereby setting the stage for another person to take over.Names like Issahaku Kotomah, a University of Middlesex- London trained brilliant youngman, James Kipo Sunyezi, an intelligent young man and former DCE for Sawla-Tuna-Kalba as well as Haruna Bismark Dari, a former DCE for East Gonja came up for consideration but Kufour was adamant and this position became unbelievably vacant for seven good months. The resultant effect was that NPP lost all six Gonja seats because the NDC campaigned that Kufour hates Gonjas. Who is to be blamed for this negligence? I could go on and on but will stop because I am in a hurry to send this reaction.

Finally let me sound a note of caution to Oklu that he should never ever write such amateurish arguements as to the fitness of Nana Akufo Addo in becoming President of Ghana or else I meet his writings with the necessary reactions.

By Mahama Haruna

email-maharun1@yahoo.comTel.- 0243-313-113

Written and submitted- 31st March, 2009.

The writer was a General Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). He was also the NPP Secretary for Bole-Bamboi Constituency of Northern Region.
Columnist: Haruna, Mahama