FROM OUR ARCHIVES
This is the second time that Grasag has recently offered me [Nana Akufo-Addo] a platform to share some thoughts about the future of our nation with the youth of our country.
The first was in Kumase at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. The second is here [University of Cape Coast, 4TH MAY 2006]… “Next year will witness the golden jubilee anniversary of Ghana’s independence [6TH MARCH 2007], fifty years since great Nkrumah proclaimed at the Old Polo Ground in Accra our freedom from British colonial rule.
It is a good moment for all of us to pause to see what we have done with our freedom, and perhaps, more significantly, to peer into the future to see where we want to be in the 2 decades ahead”, says the constitutional campaigner, who sounded very proud of being in J.A. Kufuor’s administration, which he says is performing so creditably to the satisfaction of the overwhelming majority of the Ghanaians?
The tireless human rights advocate who spoke on “Redefining Patriotism” was quick to establish that this was his personal contribution to this process of reflection and that deficiencies of his presentation must be laid right at his doorsteps rather than that of the NPP. As history enthusiast, this is also Fordjour’s private bid on Ghana’s hunt for a true tried-and-tested Principal after Kufuor.
Arguably, Nana Akufo-Addo, who had always been on his feet and head, had demonstrated both at home and broad as an active team-player in President Kufuor’s administration which appears to be sailing through difficult storms.
Nana pledged on his defeat at the NPP delegates’ congress in Sunyani that he will remain faithful and steadfast in sharing NPP’s glories and dooms. No wonder, the radiator of national responsibility and the patriot without frenzied outbursts of emotion but tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime, is the catchword of the endured indigenous values seeking modernity and adaptation in this culturally-divided Ghana.
So, if the eminent ruling NPP delegates were not to be lured into trial-and-error choice, then the name- Nana Addo must be the sounding cymbal but, how persuasive are we?
III. THE ROLL CALL
Since the beginning of the second term of the NPP, most political enthusiasts and historians, are witnessing an unwholesome squabble over who is politically-fit to inherit the ‘legacy’ of President Kufuor.
Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who had contested earlier on for this position made an instant early-bird-catches-the-web raid at University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, with indigenous capitalism, while allies of Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, had been cautiously suggesting Kwame as the true successor.
Customarily, there is highly regarded case to be made for the ex-Defence Capo- Nana’s greatest challenger. Yet, some pundits think that strategically, this could be suicidal and false because of Nana’s unique political exposure for a struggling business in a desperate search for a new chief executive to lock horns with a sole trading firm with some 44 per cent of a total market shares. And more so, this is not a classic Akan customary rule, but rather a political kin pitched on democratic tradition/order?
Arguably, this could be exact, otherwise, the offspring of Dankwas-Busias; Lampteys-Adjeis, including Akuffo-Addos and not least, the Grants- financier of the United Gold Coast Convention, would have been the sole mainstream NPP politicians with a legitimate claim to the throne after Kufuor.
The departures on the eve of turbulent political experiences of United Party junior-leaders such as ex-minority leader Baah, Munufies and Asamoahs were rather more unfortunate because they were on their way up the political ladder than perhaps Adu-Boahene and the then J. A. Kufuor.
Besides, honest and reputable politicians and patriots such as R. R. Amponsah, not least the Sawyerrs, Mahamas and Asamoahs, the death of Paa Willie and Boahene, who broke away to form the United National Convention with General Afrifa, Baah and Munifie’s humble know-how as politicians, inspired shining commendations
When Paa Willie and R. R. broke tracks with Victor Owusu over the question of who is to lead the Popular Front Party, they said farewell to a future at the highest level in leadership. Kufuor and Adu-Boahene, however distinguished, were low profile UP traditionalists.
Today Kufuor is 69, President of our country- an enviable height that makes him perhaps the most influential and privileged UP politician capable of shaping events and history of this ideological belief.
With Adu Boahene, now dead, members and sympathisers of this political family cannot even begin to claim consent over who they think might be strong enough to fulfill the goals that their founding-fathers set for themselves unless it gains Dankwa-Busia’s spiritual blessings, so fingers are pointing at Nana Akufo-Addo, who had pilgrimage at length and breadth with the Peoples’ Kufuor. So, it seems hard to dispute the fact that Nana is a known face and voice within the comity of nations and friends of the sitting-President.
Hence, after months of wrangling and speculations over this leadership question, the self-preserving president and the leader of the ruling NPP, who had witnessed the overthrow of his government in 1972 and the fragmentation of his political folks in 1979 and its ensuing political castration for almost three decades, hinted what most observers describe as the “delegate direction” at Koforidua.
A typical legalist approach often directed at the “lay jury”- clarifying any doubts about the existing law so as to avoid miscarriage of justice? This was supported by the conservative Sunyani East MP, Hon J H Mensah, who is being queried for his loud concurring tone at that mini-congress: that the December bid is not a beauty contest?
On this note, eminent Nananom such as Owusu Agyemangs, Addo Kufuors and Akufo-Addos and in most hearts, Owusu Agyepong Osafo Marfos and indeed (Vice-President) Aliu Mahamas, began to roll. Notwithstanding the general opinion that the Addos appear “formidable” among the great contestants, if NPP were to give Professor Evans Fiifi Atta Mills a good skip of his popularity and funds, are also the emerging lots who see the presidential title belt as something within their waist-reach.
To this end, President Kufuor’s roll call at the Eastern Region’s capital has been greeted with mixed-feelings and misinterpretations. As realist the focus is not on this but to remind readers of the philosophical concept of Nana’s future regime that might be rooted in patriotic character that stands for the right thing even if it is unpopular or against our own perceived self-interests? “We cannot be a patriot and continue to indulge in acts that cost our homeland dearly,” says Nana Akufo-Addo
IV. NANA ON PATRIOTISM
Even though we owe a lot to Kwame Nkrumah’s Pan-African vision for the emergence of the African Personality, Nana Akufo-Addo transmitted through UCC students that we should also learn from the attempt at the time to suppress differences as a unitary means of achieving patriotism.
Thus, one of the best ways to correct the unavoidable negatives of Ghana’s entry into the global economic arena is for the youth in particular- the privileged and skilled youth, to reach out as a means of protection and defence of country and culture by influencing global civilisation.
Here, the Honourable MP for Akyem Abuakwa South in the Eastern Region, who had missed his political track-record and engagements once, challenges the UCC graduates to go out with their degrees in their brief case wearing the badge of patriotism in their left chest.
“In my own personal experience, after completing an economics degree at the University of Ghana, I went back to England to study law, was called to the Bar and moved on to France where I practised for five years. But, I came back to the land of my birth, even during the era of the Acheampong regime which had overthrown the government of the Second Republic presided over by my father with Dr Busia as Prime Minister, a government which held so much promise for this country. We stayed, we persevered in the face of military rule and today it has paid off,” he says.
In the words of the bilingual scholar, each generation, has to define for itself the goal or object of patriotism. The youth, including adults, are encouraged to adopt patriots without borders attitude from the moment they leave our shores.
“Once upon a time on our shores, patriotism was best defined by the Asafo- the great warriors of old – who stood up against aggressors, who threatened the sovereignty of the oman or traditional state,” we are reminded. At that time, the scope of allegiance was easily determinable and homogeneously uncomplicated.
“But with the arrival of the big European powers and the scramble for Africa and its ensued demarcation of common colonial border across, through and around sovereign nations, patriotism came in two kinds: those who wanted to return to the pre-colonial order or re-assert the supremacy or at least preserve, if not the (ancient) sovereignty, then the influence of traditional authority,” says the indigenous campaigner.
Thus, in that era, we could be a patriot simply by ensuring that our first allegiance was to our traditional state. The second was the pioneering patriots of collective sovereignty. With this, the Kwakwaduam means those who wanted to eliminate colonialism.
Here, Asonamma Nana Yaa Asantewaa and Aberewa Dokuaa, whose diverse preoccupations, endangered their lives- either through application of arms or diplomacy, in fighting alien occupation and dominance and to gain independence for our geo-political entity which in colonial times was called the Gold Coast, is Fordjour’s cherished example.
Thanks indeed to the Nzema Kotokoniba, Kwame Nkrumah, Afro Gbedemah, not least J B Danquah, whose scholarship, as the immediate-past foreign minister puts it, we came to be Ghanaians. The philosophical virtues of Nana’s current bid, hinges among others, on the influence of our endured traditional values.
The peace, unity and prosperity of this and coming generations of Ghana , according to Nana, can be guaranteed only by our deeds and words of true patriotism, by which we must consciously and steadfastly abide. “Today there are some destructive elements, who are bent on whipping ethnic and other sectional sentiments to destroy the very nation they seek to lord over.
Unlike those who sought to suppress our differences, the New Patriotic Party believes that what makes us great as a nation is our rich diversity. We are not unique in this, for there are many countries with pronounced ethnic mixes that have succeeded,” Nana warily submits.
The opposite of patriotism, he argues, consists of the corruption often referred to by such thinkers as Aristotle and Machiavelli, in which citizens, in the quoted words of the ruling NPP presidential aspirant, are more concerned with their personal and group interests than with the common good of the political community as a whole. “We need to celebrate our shared differences and utilise that to get ourselves together as a cohesive unit of one people, one nation, and one destiny,” the former foreign minister advises
But a lot, the “Man To Beat” in this election of the decade concedes, depends on those entrusted with leadership. “We have a strong responsibility not to encourage despondency but rather to help rebuild the spirit of national self-confidence. It is very difficult to be proud to be Ghanaian when your leaders don’t share that pride,” he admits.
Thus, we cannot call ourselves “patriots, when as students or contractors, perform our assignments shoddily. Equally true could be when we turn up at work late, and leave work early”. “Patriotism requires equanimity in the face of criticism when it is well founded, and anger when the criticism is vicious and irresponsible,” he argues.
V. NANA ON ECONOMICS: INDEGENOUS CAPITALISM PLUS CAN-DO-SPIRIT
The major question that should occupy the thoughts of each and every one of us and with the promise to seek answers under Nana’s indigenous capitalism is this: how well do we, ourselves, in the borrowed words of the budding president, acknowledge and appreciate our own efforts, especially as an incentive to spur us onto greater heights of collective and individual achievement? “The success of Japan , South Korea , Malaysia and India … among others was made possible by the relentless acquisition of knowledge, the zealous application of that knowledge and an ever present consciousness of those drivers of that success, were- patriots with a cause.
“Thus, the successful transition from the so-called under-development to developing country and from developing to developed nation was achieved through a combined effort of patriots both at home and abroad, however, the posture of the state can sap away the elements that feed patriotism,” the political Field Marshall and diplomat, lectures
While conceding the negative posture of the state, Nana reminded the students to remain connected to Ghana wherever they travel and to have a strong sense of nationalism and patriotism to return home after completing their studies abroad.
“In Ghana , the role of a strong extended family is understood with far greater depth and complexity in its capacity of producing genuinely independent, self-reliant and resourceful individuals, who have in fact survived for generations despite the stifling pressures… A functioning liberal democracy, as aptly put by the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is one that gives opportunity to those who can and protection for those who can’t… Thus, when you consider that out of a population of over 20 million, less than one million Ghanaians are SSNIT contributors, then you begin to have a clear picture about the size of the informal sector and how necessary it is to bring that dominant sector of our economy into our “formal” arrangements, argues the can-do Advocate.
“We need to develop our own particular form of economic empowerment of the Ghanaian… But, the task ahead is more than just creating jobs; it is building a competitive economy with a competitive work force, while maintaining and enhancing the *very virtues that make us uniquely Ghanaian. But, before then I want to *propose an outline of the way forward that I call INDIGENOUS CAPITALISM; it is a programme that we need *look nowhere beyond our own heritage…. the kind of wealth accumulation that ensures no one has *to go hungry, that *ensures the greatest number of the population actively *participates and benefits from economic growth.
The kind of capitalism that is *protective of the vulnerable and *generous in its calculation of the bottom line,” says the Young Pioneer who as a young Barrister, was lured and recruited as a volunteer soldier at Okatayie Farms at Krobo, near Asante Mampong..
“In Ghana , the role of a strong extended family is understood with far greater depth and complexity in its capacity of producing genuinely independent, self-reliant and resourceful individuals, who have in fact survived for generations despite the stifling pressures… A functioning liberal democracy, as aptly put by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is one that gives opportunity to those who can and protection for those who can’t… But, fundamentally, that welfare system is provided by the people themselves – through taxation and national insurance contributions.
Thus, when you consider that out of a population of over 20 million, less than one million Ghanaians are SSNIT contributors, then you begin to have a clear picture about the size of the informal sector and how necessary it is to bring that dominant sector of our economy into our “formal” arrangements, says the veteran. Anti-UniGov activist.
VI. NANA ON NATIONAL SECURITY
Having touched on this sensitive issue, perhaps, some security strategists may be thinking of rolling tanks, anti-personnel carriers, fighter-jets and not least, assault rifles, hand- or rocket-propelled grenades and media censorship. No. With the Eastern European experience in the late 1980s in mind, not forgetting the threats of global warming and its impact on Akosombo Dam, these are strategically unreliable.
Thus, the greatest threats to our modern state are true, not coup plotters and instigators of civil wars but state-corporate criminals and above all, polluters or degraders of our environment, ecology and public institutions. Nana’s indicated robust approach to these crucial tasks and, environmental consciousness, stands tall.
His ability and courage to alter some of the diplomatic courtesies of ex-President Rawlings- a man who while his critics continue to sway their readers and listeners that he cannot get on well with when/ if Nana is given the presidential slot, confuse them that Nana is an NDC mole? Indeed our “principled” JJ mourned with Nana at Kyebi when his mother passed away.
Having considered all these and the traditional 43-44% for a main opposition in Ghana and two electoral triumphs of “Peoples President Kufuor”, not ignoring ex-President Rawlings’ firm support for the tested Professor, vis-à-vis law, order and cohesion within the NDC, and NPP’s own “Positive Change” slogan, would it not be a ploy, diversionary and lip-services, to side-step Nana Akufo-Addo? As it stands now, the issue is neither on royalty, long-service award nor prophesies.
The ruling NPP, being accused of various unresolved gates and scandals, needs to purge itself. So, its strategy must be “political velocity but not mildness”?
Admittedly, our Almighty God created all of us, in full and whole. Yet, we might agree in spirit that on rushing to our local job centers or labour offices, standards appear different. Aren’t we surprised, often that potential employers are not all that “righteous and generous” in their requirements- not even positions in Christendom and Islam?
True, Nana sparks not only “fear and respect” among his admirers and critics but also, seems tough and capable of sailing NPP to a firm first round in this historic bid. Thus, Nana appears set to confront crimes linked with “Development in Freedom” True; JAK had been a perfect choice in post- J J’s Ghana But it is also a good moment for NPP to pause and peer into the future to see whether it does not need an effective “change of guard” for the sake of sacrifice, history and the “Union Jack”?
First Published at Ghanaweb, on 06 August 2007