Why I like the new President of Ghana – by Francis Quamina Farrier
Photo: Recently elected President Nana Akufo-Addo of the Republic of Ghana
The Republic of Ghana in West Africa, has a new president. He is, His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). I am not someone who tends to lean in the direction of politicians, but I have to admit that I like this gentleman, even though I’ve never met him. I may have seen him when I was at the Independence Park in Accra, Ghana, on March 6, 2012, while attending the 55th Independence Anniversary Celebration of that West African country.
I was an accredited Foreign Journalist at that celebration, held at Independence Park in Accra, the capital, and was in one of the two areas reserved for the journalists. As such, I had a close view of the VIP section of the vast park. As the hour grew closer to the commencement of the celebrations, there were many VIPs arrivals. I can’t at this time, say whether Nana Akufo-Addo got under my radar; I was in possession of two video cameras and a still camera, and was aware that I was being admiringly observed by some of the security posted near-by.
Now, 2012 was an election year in Ghana, and there were many large billboards promoting the various political parties and their presidential candidates. The only category of promotion on billboards which were not of the then up-coming Presidential Election, and which really caught my attention during my seventeen days in Ghana in March 2012, were those promoting institutions of learning – especially higher learning. It is obvious that Ghana places a very high premium on education. Educated in Ghana and England, Nana Akufo-Addo, has previously served his country as Attorney General and also Minister of Foreign Affairs.
At the December 2012 Presidential Elections in Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo lost by a very narrow margin – just about 1.3 percent of the votes cast. He challenged the results, claiming that he was cheated, pointing out that potential voters in one of his strongholds, were registered too late, and so they were effectively disenfranchised. Nana Akufo-Addo immediately instructed his party members and supporters not to engage in any public protests or any violence. His instructions were obeyed.
The defeated presidential hopeful, took the matter to the Ghanaian High Court. He lost in his bid to have the election result overturned. When he emerged from the courthouse at the end of the case and spoke with the media, he said, “I do not agree with the decision of the court, but I will abide with it.” For me, that was a great political, patriotic and humanitarian act – A bright star over the Republic of Ghana. He then repeated his instructions to his party members and supporters, not to engage in any protests or any violence. Again his instructions were faithfully obeyed.
Imagine what would have been the case, with Ghana voters split approximately down the middle and engaged in violent, and even deadly conflict. That may very well have escalated into a civil war, with hundreds and possible thousands of causalities. The statesmanlike acts of Nana Akufo-Addo made him a hero of mine, although his act did not attract the attention of the international media in any big way. So often the heroic deeds of African leaders, hardly ever attract the International media. However, imagine how many of them would have rushed down to Ghana, to report the horrors of a civil war, had that happened! For me, and I have been saying it many, many times over the past four years, that Nana Akufo-Addo should have been nominated for the Noble Peace Prize.
Nonetheless, even though he was not nominated and not a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, or the Oliver Tambo Peace Award, his accepting the decision of the Ghana High Court, instructing his party members and supporters not to engage in any negative activities, and keeping the Ghana objective of being “The most Peaceful country in Africa” alive, Nana Akufo-Addo has not only become a hero of mine, but also a hero of the People of Ghana, and no doubt, many non-Ghanaians as well. Many Ghanaians now hail him as their hero. Although not the Nobel Peace Prize, he has been awarded the prize of the presidency of the Republic of Ghana. Best wishes to His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo. May his first term be one in which Ghana sees greater progress and remains the most peaceful country in Africa.