By Ken Sackey
Accra, Dec. 03, GNA-“Men make history and not the other way round. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still.Progress occurs when courageous and skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better”-Harry S. Truman (The 33rd United States President)
Leadership is all about unlocking people’s potentials to make society a better place to live in. That is exactly what Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the then Flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) set out to do when he campaigned during the 2016 electioneering.
He hinged his campaign message on change to create jobs, industrialize the economy, roll out free secondary education and modernise agriculture.
Over the past three years and 11 months, President Akufo-Addo has stayed true to his electoral promises by creating more than two million jobs in both the formal and informal sectors.
The ever-popular Free Senior High School Policy became a reality and was rolled out on September 12, 2017 on the campus of the West African Senior High School, Adenta, and in the process had benefited 1.2 million students over the period.
The Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative has made Ghana a net exporter of food stuffs to the West African subregion, exporting 19 different food items to her neighbouring countries including Northern Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo and Niger.More than one million farmers received subsidised hybrid seeds and seedlings, fertilizers and other farm inputs to increase yields.
The government’s industrialisation agenda under the One-District, One-Factory has witnessed 76 factories operational with 107 of them at various stages of completion.
Four hundred and thirty-four One-Village,One-Dam projects are ongoing, with 375 completed thus, allowing farmers to get all-year-round water for irrigation, especially in the northern parts of the country.
The Akufo-Addo-led government’s social interventions and life-impacting policies are evidently clear and have saved many lives and livelihoods. Policies such as the re-introduction of the teacher/nursing trainees’ allowance, youth in entrepreneurship, Nation Building Corps (NaBCo) and Zongo Development Fund had made tremendous impacts on the youth.
The ruling NPP government abolished 15 ‘nuisance taxes’ that lifted a huge burden on importers.
It introduced Zipline Medical Drone Delivery service thus, enabling health facilities in hard-to-reach areas to receive medicines and blood products within minutes, helping to save precious lives.
Three hundred and seven(307) ambulances had been secured to boost the fleet of the Ghana National Ambulance Service to improve emergency healthcare.
Ghana is fast becoming one of the digitised economies in Africa by introducing a triangular mobile money interoperability therefore allowing seamless transfer of money from one’s bank account to mobile money wallets or e-switch and vice versa..
On March 25,2020, Ghana became the first country in Africa to introduce Universal QR Code and third in the world after Singapore and India, which enabled merchants/vendors to receive payment instantly from customers.
Also, over seven million households had received their digital addressing plates which facilitate easy location of homes to enhance the delivery of essential services.
Under Akufo-Addo’s tenure, six new regions have been created to decentralize the development process.
The year 2020 being declared the “Year of Roads” by the government, over 1,300 roads have either been upgraded, maintained or asphalted whilst six interchanges are under construction.
Ghana has successfully exited the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme thus, enabling government to employ 350,000 people into the public sector alone.
In view of these tremendous successes chalked just within the first term in office, President Akufo-Addo entreats Ghanaians to grant him a second term to build on the significant social and economic progress witnessed in the country.
He said a vote for him and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 7, 2020 elections would have been the most important step to stay the comprehensive economic reforms that his administration had taken to promote fiscal growth, development and prosperity of the nation and its people.
Campaigning across the country, the President pointed out that the Ghanaian people have over the past three years and eleven months witnessed the far-reaching impact of the policies and programmes carried out by his government, and that by that stellar performance; the electorate should extend his mandate, so that he could “do more” in the next four years.
He has stressed that coordinated programme of economic and social development policies implemented by his government, including the flagship Free Senior High School programme, the One District, One Factory initiative, Planting for Food and Jobs, and the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO), as well as other developmental schemes, are further proof that the NPP has a clear understanding of how to put the country on the path of progress and prosperity.
“The New Patriotic Party has got the blueprint for the development of Ghana and it is going to be concretized in Akufo-Addo’s second time as President.
“If you believe that the policies of my government have had a positive impact on your lives, and you have not regretted voting for me, I will urge you to continue to have faith in me. In the December elections, let it be four more years for Nana to do more for you.
“If my first four years is satisfactory, then you can imagine how my next term will be. I want you to assess my first term. I have not deceived you, I have been truthful with Ghanaians, and I have done my best. I plead with you to extend my mandate, so I can continue to do more for you,” he said to supporters and sympathizers of the party as he crisscrossed the nation in a final push to canvas votes ahead of the election.
Riding on the message of leadership of service and making good on promises, protecting Ghana’s progress, and transforming the country’s fortunes through education, technology and industrialization to secure prosperity for all, the President says his record in office would enable Ghanaians judge who has met their aspirations.
Winning plaudits from experts, supporters and even some critics who have described his record in office as both “sturdy” and “unmatched”, he (President Akufo-Addo) has stressed continuously that his vision to develop “an optimistic, self-confident and prosperous nation, through the creative exploitation of our human and natural resources, and operating within a democratic, open and fair society, in which mutual trust and economic opportunities exist for all” was sacrosanct.
His agenda for a Ghana “beyond aid”, a national plan to transform the country into an aid-free nation where every Ghanaian has access to education, training and productive employment, and access to life’s necessities including good health care, water, sanitation and decent housing in line with the Sustainable Development goals (SDG’s), has also resonated internationally, with development partners applauding the vision, which would enhance trade and place Ghana as a worthwhile member of the community of nations.
“It is not right for a country like Ghana, 60 years after independence, to still have its health and education budgets being financed on the basis of the generosity and charity of the European taxpayer. By now we should be able to finance our basic needs ourselves… Why are we where we are? We need to have a mindset that says, ‘Others have done it. We can do it.’”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo formally filed his nomination at the Electoral Commission (EC) on October 6, 2020 to seek another four-year mandate in the December 7, 2020 presidential elections as the candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The President, who turned 76 in March, was acclaimed the NPP’s flagbearer last June when he emerged the only personality to file for the slot when the party closed its nominations for aspirants.
Born on March 29, 1944 in Ga Mashie in Accra to a Ghanaian politician, lawyer and independence fighter Edward Akufo-Addo and his wife Adeline, President Akufo-Addo started his basic education at the Government Boys School, Adabraka and at the Rowe Road School at Kinbu, both in Accra.
He continued to the United Kingdom for his secondary education, where he studied for his Ordinary Level and Advanced level examinations at the Lancing College in Sussex from 1957 to 1961.
Mr Akufo-Addo returned to Ghana in 1962 where he took a teaching appointment at the Accra Academy Secondary School, before going to the University of Ghana in 1964 to read economics. He graduated in 1967 with Bachelor’s Degree in Economic.
After his stint at the University of Ghana, Mr Akufo-Addo returned to the United Kingdom to study law and was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in 1971 and to the Ghana Bar in 1975. He worked in France with a US law firm, Coudert Brothers and with the U.V Campbell Chambers in Accra until he founded his own law firm, Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co. in 1979.
Mr Akufo-Addo whose roots in political activism follows a family tradition of prominence in politics and civil service- His father served as the ceremonial president of Ghana from 1970 to 1972, his great-uncle J.B. Danquah was a nationalist and his uncle William Ofori Atta was one of the founding fathers of Ghana- started active politics in the 1970’s when he served as general secretary of the People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ) that opposed the plans of the military government in place at the time.
Known for spearheading the fight for human rights, the rule of law, justice, the independence of the Judiciary and media freedoms, and democracy, he joined the NPP in 1992, serving as the member of parliament for the Abuakwa South Constituency in the Eastern region for three consecutive terms from 1996 to 2007.
Mr Akufo-Addo was in 2001 appointed Attorney-General and Minister of Justice under President John Agyekum Kufuor, where he spearheaded the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law which criminalized free speech, and also initiated other reforms in the legal processes of the country including the automation of the courts.
In 2003, he was reassigned to the foreign ministry as Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs where he was instrumental in brokering peace in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Guinea Bissau, as the Chairman of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council.
Under his stewardship, Ghana was elected a pioneer of the 15-member African Union Peace and Security Council in 2004. That mandate was renewed in 2006 at the AU’s Summit in Khartoum, Sudan. He chaired the AU’s Ministerial Committee that fashioned the Ezulwini Consensus, which defined the Union’s common position on United Nation Reforms, and negotiated the hosting of the AU’s Summit in Accra in 2007.
Also, during his time as foreign minister, Ghana was elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from 2006 to 2007, during which period Nana Akufo-Addo chaired the meeting of the Security Council which took the decision that halted Israel’s massive incursions into Lebanon.
He was instrumental in getting Ghana elected as a member of the UN’s Human Rights Council and its Peacebuilding Commission.
Nana Akufo-Addo resigned his position in 2007 to contest the NPP’s presidential primaries with 16 other candidates for the 2008 presidential election, a contest he won.
In the December 7, 2008, he won the first round of the country’s presidential election, with 49 percent of the votes cast, but eventually lost the second round of voting to his challenger Professor Evans Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who beat him narrowly in the polls.
He again secured the mandate of the NPP to lead the party into the 2012 Presidential elections in which he challenged Mr John Mahama of the NDC and six other contestants. He also lost that contest narrowly to the NDC’s candidate, but contested the results of the polls at the Supreme Court which upheld Mr Mahama’s victory after a prolonged legal battle. He accepted the verdict and urged his supporters to respect the Courts’ decision.
In 2016, Mr Akufo-Addo again got the nod of the NPP to contest the presidential elections as the party’s flagbearer, facing six other candidates including the incumbent John Mahama. He won the December 7 contest with the largest margin of victory for a presidential candidate since 1996.
He was sworn in as president of the Republic of Ghana on January 7, 2017 at a well attended ceremony at the Black Star Square where he pledged to deepen the country’s democracy and move it to a higher level of development.
President Akufo-Addo’s tenure in government has been characterized by a massive industrialization drive, and forging bilateral relations with countries across the world based on trade and investment.
His government has built a foreign policy that shifts from grants to partnerships and self-reliance to move the country to a state beyond Aid.
He has in the period in government instituted several policies and programmes geared towards making Ghana’s economy resilient, and creating the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and for foreign direct investments.
Flagship programmes such as the One District, One Factory, the One Village, One Dam, Youth in Agriculture, and Entrepreneurship, have given the country the needed impetus for harnessing local resources and talents for accelerated development
President Akufo-Addo also rolled out a programme to provide free senior secondary education and Technical and Vocational education as a major policy decision to propel the country’s development,
The President in April 2017 was appointed as the Co-Chair of the UN Secretary-Generals Sustainable Development Goals Advocate; he was also named the AU’s Gender champion on July 3, 2017.
He was also elected by the 57th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as the new Chairman of the Authority in Niamey, Niger in September.
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