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Apraku Sets New Criteria 1/16/2007
Barely a week after J.H. Mensah, the ex-senior Minister’s criteria for the selection of the presidential candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the 2008 polls, which was met with swift reactions from some aspirants, one of the aspirants, has given a different dimension to the criteria.

According to Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, former Minister of Regional Integration and NEPAD, in as much as he accepts the proposals, anybody who aspires to lead the nation must have gone through the mills to know much about governance. He explained that going through the mill means that a candidate must have gone through the ranks of Assemblyman, Member of Parliament (MP) and Minister so as to be acquainted with the processes of governance in this country.

“There is no institution anywhere that has been established to teach people how to become president of a nation except that you have to serve as a politician at various levels and this is where issues of being Assemblyman, MP and Minister come in. Thank God, I have gained experience in all and therefore know how to manage the nation,” he said.

Dr. Apraku, who served as the Chairman of the Council of Ministers for 2 years, contended that he did not believe in beauty or handsomeness as a criterion for selecting the best person to govern the nation. He however intimated that it was important that a candidate had personality, charisma, strong leadership skills, competence and experience, “all of which I have.” The aspirant, who is also the sitting Member of Parliament for Offinso-North in the Ashanti Region, said, “I believe I have the qualities.

It is now left for the people to determine,” he told this paper after cataloguing roles he played as a loyal member of the party he is aspiring to lead, since the days of Danquah and Busia, including the drafting of the party’s constitution.

Not perturbed about the tough propositions of Mr. J. H. Mensah, the 52-year old Dr. Apraku, who was a thorn in the flesh of the NDC during the tenure of the NDC government, when he served as the Minority Spokesperson on Finance, indicated his preparedness to attract the floating votes for the NPP.

“I have excellent relationship with the NDC Members of Parliament. I am seen by many Ghanaians as a nationalist, very principled and very objective,” he noted.

Speaking to this paper in the presence of his wife, Mrs. Hellen Apraku, the optimistic aspirant said; “I have combined my theoretical experience as a professor with practical or field experience in economic policy making. As the leader of an economic team in Parliament, we provide clear and credible alternatives for Ghanaians to see the difference between the NDC and the NPP.

“I have been involved in all the activities that brought the party into being, through my financial resources, intellectual resources and physical capacities to the service of the party. I have always been in the thick and thin of the party.” He mentioned also how party members were involved in the NEPAD programme and sensitization programmes on the Eco, which he supervised until he was taken off.

On the president’s generational statement, Dr. Apraku, had this to say, “I don’t think that President Kufuor planned to omit anybody. I don’t take it seriously that my name was omitted. His statement had nothing to do with his successor and I don’t think that he would select the presidential candidate for this party. He is a seasoned politician and I don’t think he would try to impose any candidate on us,” he said.

The aspirant, who indicated that he was seen as the successor to JAK, said during his tenure as a minister, he was able to help in implementing the NEPAD school-feeding programme, African Peer Review Mechanism and also helped to position Ghana to become a very active participant in the global market through AGOA. He regretted the distressed position of the Ghana Investment Fund, which he said came into being through a parliamentary Act in 2003 at the time he was a Minister.

When pressed whether he was likely to drop out of the race because of the perception that he did not perform creditably as a Minister, his response was; “It is for the president to say but as far as I am concerned, I have never been a failure in my life.” Chronicle

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