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Akufo-Addo Promises Ghana Strong Leadership

A poster of the presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party counterpart Nana Akufo-Addo is seen at the entrance of a gasoline station in Accra, October 23, 2012
Ghana’s main opposition New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will provide a strong and decisive leadership to help resolve the country’s economic challenges if he wins Friday’s presidential election.

“Ghanaians should expect nothing less than transformation in our lives, in the way that we organize our society and in our economy. Nothing short of transformation,” said NPP Communications Director Nana Akomea.

“Nobody is satisfied with the status quo,” continued Akomea, “we are supposed to have gotten the biggest economic growth rate, but it has not translated into welfare and it hasn’t translated into anything. So, essentially, the leadership that we need to be able to transform the society especially in the use of the oil revenue, it is that leadership that Nana Akufo-Addo is going to provide.”

Akomea says failure of leadership is to blame for the country’s problems. He says the ruling National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) policies have been ineffective in resolving the country’s challenges.

“In this country where you have fruits growing wild, falling and get[ting] rotten on the ground, we spend millions of dollars to import fruit juice from Dubai, which is a desert [country]. It doesn’t make sense,” said Akomea.

“Everybody recognizes the problem and everybody talks about what has to be done, nobody is doing it because the leadership is simply not there," said Akomea. "Nana Addo is going to provide that key ingredient of leadership. That will ensure that we are able to produce [things here].”

He says Akufo-Addo’s pledge to provide free senior high school education for all Ghanaians is generating grassroots support to enable him win Friday’s presidential vote.

But, critics have questioned the promise as a mere publicity stunt to win cheap political points ahead of the election. They questioned how the presidential candidate will fund the pledge, since they said the country’s fiscal challenges, coupled with a weak revenue generation system, could prove difficult to implement that policy.

But, Akomea said Akufo-Addo will use funds accrued from the country’s natural resources to fund his program.

“Last year we got almost a billion dollars from oil revenues. Bringing free secondary education to every child would ensure that we have democratized the benefits of oil,” said Akomea.

“The estimates that we have show that we will be spending an extra 1.2 or 1.3 percent of GDP [Gross Domestic Product] every year to provide to provide free education to every Ghanaian child,” he said.

In its manifesto, the NPP also promises to improve and ensure quality healthcare delivery for Ghanaians.

Some Ghanaians have expressed concern about possible violence during the vote despite, a pledge by all of the presidential candidates to encourage their supporters to eschew violence.

“Nana Akufo-Addo has pledged publicly that he will not incite his supporters to [engage] in violence. But, if people are being attacked all the time and there is no protection from the official security, then they would have to defend themselves, and that is a sentiment that we supported everywhere,” said Akomea.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, born in Ghana’s capital, Accra is an attorney and former legislator in Ghana’s parliament. He also served as attorney general and justice minister as well as foreign minister in President John Agyekum Kufuor’s government. He is married to Rebecca Akufo-Addo. They have five daughters and two grandchildren.

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