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“Akufo-Addo is Number One” 1/26/2007
Foreign Minister Nana Akufo-Addo is one of the dozen or so NPP presidential aspirants seeking to lead the party in the 2008 elections. He is one of the few who have made a formal announcement, with a team working overtly for his nomination by the NPP as presidential candidate. Among the host of the NPP presidential candidates, the erudite Foreign Minister and Member of Parliament for Abuakwa has been held up by his supporters as the “Number One” among the aspirants.

He lost narrowly to then candidate Kufuor in the 1998 National Delegates Congress which gave Kufuor the nod and he went on to win Election 2000 and got a second term in 2004. In other words, he came close to leading the party then. Since the congress of 1998, the dynamics have changed but some people still believe that it is the Man from Abuakwa who can get the NPP a historic third term. He is not without his critics though. So what is he really made of?

On Wednesday, ADM had an exclusive interview with Mr. Abdul Hamid Mustapha, the spokes person for the “Friends of Nana Addo” or FONA, the voluntary organization that was set up to champion the interest of the presidential aspirant. Commenting on one of the oft repeated accusations against the aspirant, Hamid told ADM: “If someone who has to abandon his lucrative job to fight for injustices meted out to innocent people can be called arrogant and self-centered then God help Ghana politics”.

He noted that the life of Nana Akufo-Addo – his political career, his profile and everything – did not portray him as someone who is self-centered and arrogant. According to Mustapha, Nana Akufo-Addo has served the NPP and country with distinction. “Nana has held two of the most important positions – Attorney General and Foreign Minister – in the world since the NPP came to Ghana”, he said.

Among the host of NPP’s presidential aspirants, he emphasized to ADM, it is only Nana Akufo-Addo “who has the leadership qualities to win that big electoral challenge next year… He is the only complete candidate. You don’t have to like him. You just have to accept that he is the only one who can deliver”.

Hamid Mustapha lauded the internal democracy in the NPP, which he said had culminated in so many people willing to lead the party. He said the presidential aspirant takes every decision with him and the FONA group. He denied speculation that Nana’s “camp” is talking to other aspirants notably Mr. Hackman Owusu Agyeman and Mr. Kwabena Agyapong to abandon their aspirations and pitch camp with them. He nevertheless did not rule out possibilities of such a thing happening as the race gets hotter. He confidently opined that should the number of aspirants be eventually pruned down to one, that one person who would be left would be Nana Akufo-Addo and no other person.

Expressing the loyalty of a true convert, he disagreed with people who insist that people like Nana Akufo-Addo who some say was born with a silver spoon in their mouths can not lead the country.

He explained: “We all know the circumstances in Jerry Rawlings birth, at least his fatherhood is some how in doubt. Some people say he is from Scotland; that his mother, Madam Agbotui is a poor fish monger and raised Jerry in very poor circumstances. When he grew up, what did he not do to this country? For twenty years he brutalized people, killed them, maimed them and held this country hostage for twenty years. President Kufour is a fine gentleman, he was born in Apagyafie to a rich mother, rich father, rich family; went to the best schools in the country, went to Oxford, raised in privileged home circumstances; in my view he is the best President this country has ever produced, an extreme gentleman so what is the argument”.

The spokesperson of the FONAA said Nana Akufo-Addo’s “camp” is not taking a swipe or underrating any of the candidates, but “as the Senior Minister said Check woho”. Considered as one of the most loyal and hard working Ministers, Nana Addo’s synergy of conservatism, liberalism and his short flirtation with socialism is obvious in his long-enduring popular appeal. The substance of this popular appeal is aptly encapsulated in his vision of “Indigenous Capitalism” as the way forward for Ghana’s future.

In his last interview with the ADM during the launch of his campaign, Nana Akufo-Addo called for Ghanaians to adopt a “Can do. Will do” attitude towards economic growth. ADM asked: But with all these, what if Nana Akufo-Addo fails to get the NPP’s nomination? Mustapha Hamid answered: “The NPP delegates have always shown, since 1992, that they are capable of electing for us the man of the moment, the man who fits into the time. They did that by electing Adu-Boahen and Kufuor. We know they won’t let us down”.

But however, Mustapha said, though Nana Akufo-Addo is the “number one choice”, they would respect any decision made by the delegates.
source: ADM

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