The flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has said that energy, zeal and commitment are factors that will stand him in good stead in the 2016 elections.
The 70-year-old former Foreign Minister who is having a third consecutive attempt at Ghana’s presidency after two successive attempts, told an audience at the BBC’s Democracy Day panel discussion yesterday that he believed he had ample energy, zeal and commitment to lead the nation
Ghana goes to the national polls in 2016 and Akufo-Addo, leader of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), said, “I believe I have the energy… and I also have the commitment, and those are the two things that are driving me”. He said that in response to a question posed to him by the moderator on why he had decided to run at age 70 instead of supporting a younger candidate for the job.
The former Foreign Affairs Minister in the Kufuor administration said: “Beyond the energy, you have also the commitment. You want to try and see whether you can do something to change the facts of your society; of course, doing so within the context of democratic government. Those are the two main things….”
Akufo-Addo also pointed out that: “The matter is not in my hands…I made the decision to present myself to my party asking them that if they agree, I want to go again.”
Pressed further about his age vis-à-vis concerns that the old generation in Africa was hijacking the leadership of the continent, Akufo-Addo responded: “When 70-year-old Reagan walked into the White House, nobody had a problem with it.”
His age has been a big issue back home. Critics in the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) have not ceased using it against him.
“I am profoundly grateful that so many people consider me worthy to lead this promising nation of ours, even at the young age of 70,” he said, adding: “I do not know what 70-year-olds are supposed to feel like but I feel well; my body is in good shape; my mind remains as sharp as it ever was.
“I am constantly grateful to the Almighty that I have been so blessed. I have questioned and examined myself intensely to be sure that, to borrow a phrase, the competitive fire still burns in my belly. I wish to assure all of you gathered here that, contrary to the propaganda out there, Nana Akufo-Addo is emotionally, intellectually, psychologically, physically, patriotically and spiritually strong enough to lead this party and our dear nation Ghana,” he asserted.
Akufo-Addo emerged flag bearer of the NPP in an internal contest in which he was the oldest candidate.
He will be 72 years by December 2016 when fresh elections are due and will be going against a younger incumbent, John Mahama, who turns 58 that same year.