Nana Addo Dankwa
Akufo-Addo, the man of the moment
profile, December 23, 2007
Ghanadot profile, December 23, 2007 - He has been
regarded as a president in waiting for so long and has
been rated as the man most likely to succeed current
President John Agyekum Kufuor. And on Sunday December
23, 2007, he has been elected by the NPP Congress to
lead the party for the 2008 elections.
What are his chances for success in the elections and
also as president? The view by many is that they are all
They quote his style and approach as deep, sure and
certain to carry his message across. The fact that he
could be the first French-speaking Ghanaian leader is
also an asset that foretells a boost in the bonds of
understanding between Ghana and all her neighbors.......
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was born March 29, 1944 and
was the Foreign Minister of
Ghana since April 2003 until his
voluntary resignation in August this year.
Before then, he was the
Attorney-General and Minister of Justice from 2001 to
Akufo-Addo was one of the founding members of the New
Patriotic Party - the current ruling party of Ghana - in
1992, and was also the founder and first chairperson of
the Ghana Committee on Human and People's Rights.
For Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the
appearance at the NPP Congress in 2007 was his second.
The first was his brave
attempt to challenge his senior at the Bar, John Kufuor,
to lead the New Patriotic Party in 1998.
The tradition of the NPP, which allowed the most
experienced to lead the party, favored the then candidate
John Kufuor. And as they say,
the rest became history.
Ironically, Nana Akufo-Addo
was to face the same tradition in 2007 when this time he
was challenged by Alan Kyerematen; a young charismatic
politician with a patrician bearing. Nana Addo won the
NPP strategist and Chief
Patron of Friends of Nana Addo (FONAA),
Victor Newman had this to say back in
the early days of the the campaign for the PP candidacy:
“Nana Addo has not only
served the party with distinction, he has the leadership
qualities to win that big electoral challenge
...... He is the only
‘complete candidate. You don’t have to like him. You
just have to accept that he is the only one who can
compared the Nana Addo
to Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown,
a comparison which seems to be gaining some truth today
at Nana Addo's victory.
But Nana Addo has more to compare him with
than Gordon Brown; his own name. His pedigree is
chuck full with political stars.
to make public notice of this pedigree after his victory
was President Kufuor himself.
Kufuor noted that
Nana's pedigree "as a party man
cited Nana Addo'ss whole life experience as
that of a man who was being prepared for this moment in history.
His family, his education, political affiliations,
the President said, "all go to tell that he is truly
destined for this position - he is related to as many as
three of the members of the Big Six - J. B. Danquah was his
granduncle, Edward Akufo-Addo was his father and William
Ofori-Atta was his uncle."
That said, President Kufuor raised
Nana's hand at the 2007 NPP Congress as
the man chosen by his party, hopefully, to succeed him.
father was Edward
Akufo-Addo, who became Ghana’s third Chief Justice, was
later the President of the Second Republic during the
Progress Party government of Prime Minister, Dr. Kofi Abrefa
Busia, from 1969 to 1972.
His father’s residence, Betty
House, in Korle Wokon in downtown Accra, served as the
headquarters of the country’s first political party - the
United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC). Forty years later
in1992, his family’s Ringway Hotel became the venue of the
weekly press conferences for the NPP. That property was
later bombed allegedly by an agent of state security under
What many people do not know is that Nana Akufo-Addo was
born in Swalaba, in the backstreets of Accra. He had his
primary education at the Government Boys School (Syto) and
later Rowe Road School (now Kinbu).
He also grew up in Nima,
a place that no man in his right mind would describe as an
upscale community. Nima, in fact, is a shanty town and
the place of most of the down trodden.
Nana Addo was also a great sportsman. He played alongside Fiifi
Atta Mills and Abel Edusei in the University soccer team at Legon, and also
played for Real Republicans. He
was later chosen by the legendary Ohene Djan, then Director
of the Central Organization of Sports (COS), as
administrative secretary of Real Republicans.
A Marxist during his formative years as an Economics student
at Legon in the 1960s and had many intellectual battles with
his father, a pillar of the UP. But his father was to have
the last laugh in February 1966 as his son was chased out of
campus barefooted with socialist friends such as Kweku
Mensah (Abel Edusei, CEO of GNPA) and the late J.C Akosa (of
Tip Toe Gardens fame), to his house for refuge after the
overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah. The old man
was said to have just sat in his chair on the
verandah laughing as his first born came home panting for
The ideological transformation started shortly afterwards
when the young Akufo-Addo returned to Europe to continue
with his studies and work. The the
synergy of his father's
conservatism and his
own short flirtation with
socialism began to work to produce in
this man an enduring popular appeal
with the public.
Akufo-Addo returned to Ghana
after practicing law for five years in France, and joined
the national struggle against military dictatorship. In
1977, he was the first person to join General (Okatakyie)
Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa to oppose Kutu Acheampong’s attempts
to form a one-party state under the guise of UNIGOV.
As General Secretary, of the
broad-based People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ),
he was instrumental in bringing about the downfall of
Acheampong, and in 1979, in restoring multiparty democratic
rule to Ghana.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s,
Akufo-Addo used the courts to defend the Constitution,
promote human rights, and civil liberties. During that time,
he traveled throughout Ghana,
establishing what would become the local organs of the NPP.
In 1992, when the newly founded party organized the First
National Delegates Congress, Akufo-Addo provided the bulk of
the funding. In the aftermath of the gargantuan electoral
fraud of 1992, Akufo-Addo doubled as the team leader of the
group that published the famous Stolen Verdict, whose
arguments led to substantial reforms of the electoral
In 1996, during the first competitive parliamentary
elections of the Fourth Republic, Nana Akufo-Addo won the
Abuakwa seat against considerable odds. Seen as the man most
feared by then President Rawlings, all resources were
marshaled to help Nana Akufo-Addo’s cousin, the incumbent
Owuraku Amofa, to prevail: anything to prevent this
firebrand, intelligent, charismatic and eloquent lawyer and
opposition politician from becoming a member of the
legislature. The stop-Nana-Addo campaign failed and, since
then, he has been perceived as the man
Rawlings fears most.
He was also instrumental in initiating a series of reforms
of the legal system and the Ministry of Justice, prominent
amongst them being the establishment of the new Commercial
Court and the Business Law Division of the Justice Ministry.
President Kufuor’s first major cabinet reshuffle in March
2003 took Nana Akufo-Addo to the Foreign Ministry. His
eloquence, command of the French language, and powerful
negotiation skills made him a brilliant choice to implement
President Kufuor’s diplomatic initiatives, the successes of
which are self-evident.
The image of the country has been considerably enhanced
during his tenure as Foreign Minister. Effective
involvements in Liberia and Guinea Bissau, and the leading
role he played as a member of the
International Working Group (IWG), whose work
was to help restore peace to
troubled Cote d’Ivoire, attest to his excellent diplomatic
In the process, he raised Ghana's
diplomatic profile in the world community. Ghana,
during his tenure as Foreign Minister, was elected by
her peers ahead of influential countries in the sub-region
like Nigeria and Burkina Faso to occupy the West African
(non-permanent) seat on the UN Security Council for 2006 –
In 2004, she was elected as one of the pioneer members of
the AU Peace and Security Council, a mandate that was
renewed at the AU Summit in Khartoum in January 2006.