Confesses on BBc World Service Programme
By Alfred Dogbey
The twice-defeated flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo, who hopes to be third time lucky in his bid to become President, has strikingly revealed that, he only wanted the Presidency on trial and error basis.
The three time flagbearer, who turns 71 this year, in a blistering one-on-one interview with international media, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) last week,
candidly confessed that he only “want to try and see whether” he “can do something to change the facts of society”.
This is the second time in three years, that Nana Addo has appeared on the world broadcaster and has come out poorly in terms of delivery and responses to questions.
The first was in March 2012, on the famous HardTalk Show, where he failed woefully to give host; Stephen Sackur, the cost element on his Free Senior High School (SHS) 2012 campaign promise.
In last week’s appearance, the NPP flagbearer’s historic interview, which was conducted by two curious journalists, a male and female, saw Nana Addo grilled on why at his advanced age, he still wanted to become President, instead of allowing younger people in his party to lead.
The male journalist asked; “there are people that are way younger than you, that would yes make mistakes, but definitely have the potential to lead. Why are you running again next year?”
Surprisingly, Akufo-Addo retorted…“the matter is not in my hands. In fact, I didn’t vote myself…..”, suggesting that he was forced by the party’s leaderships and delegates to lead the NPP.
Akufo-Addo explained that “I made the decision to present myself to my party, asking them that if they agree, I want to go again. They chose me”.
The NPP flagbearer’s response to the questions, which shocked the BBC Journalist, sarcastically said “That is interesting! Very convenient escape here. Sure at the end of the day, it’s you who make the decision whether you would run or not. So it’s you who decide”.
The male journalist in particular, who seemed concerned about Akufo-Addo’s advance age, strength and his decision to contest again, asked him: “But should you have gone, why didn’t you find someone younger to put forward just like some of the people in the Democratic Party, felt okay listen, there is this young man Barrack Obama, let’s see if we can bring him to the front of the queue and not everyone was happy about it, but shouldn’t you be doing that?”.
“Shouldn’t you be scouting for younger talent in your party, instead of putting your name forward?”
This follow up question, which almost upset Akufo-Addo, angrily replied: “When 70 year old Reagan walked into the White House, nobody had a problem with that”.
But the Journalist quickly interjected, “Well, that was then. Now we are looking at the continent of Africa and we have seen that listen, age is clearly an issue well, to some people”. To this, the three time flagbearer explained, “to some people, I think at the eve of the day, I still have to, what is it? You are saying first of all, you have the energy”.
According to Akufo-Addo, “beyond the energy, you have also the commitment,” adding “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 to democratic government” he said.
He added that, “These are the two main things you have – physical, psychological energy for leadership. You also have a commitment to certain vision of what your country should be. And it is those that are driving, those are what ….”.
But Akuffo Addo’s staggering explanation, which did not go down well with the female BBC Journalist co-hosting the interview, quickly interrupted and said:
“Sorry, it is difficult to actually understand what you are saying, because if you’re saying that a 70-year-old man, has got more vigour than a 40-year-old man for example?”
However, Akufo-Addo backtracked: “I never said that!” prompting the Journalist to also insist: “Yes he has”.
Akufo-Addo, who appeared alarmed, told the journalist that: “You asked why am I? And am saying I believe I have the energy, I don’t say, therefore, I have more energy. I said I have the energy. And I also have the commitment. And those are the two things that are driving me”, he explained.
The BBC female Journalist remarked that: “I think the point is that, the younger people, the younger generation are not being given the chance to actually participate effectively in the economic and political sphere in Africa, because of what you just said”.
She noted that, “Religion which the man said from Nigeria because everybody is voting on ethnic ground and you have to respect your elder or you are less likely to actually follow your own truth belief in how the country should be changed therefore the decision and questions that are not the right questions are being asked”.
Ahead of the BBC, three-time flagbearer of the main opposition party, hyped the appearance through press statement obviously to score some political points.
A press statement issued on Friday January 16, 2015, signed by Akufo-Addo’s press secretary, Eugene Arhin, said the former Attorney General, has been invited by the BBC, as “someone who has spoken very eloquently on democracy and governance”, to speak in a panel discussion on the future of democracy in Africa at 1100hrs GMT.
It was part of the UK’s 750th anniversary of first Westminster parliament and 800 years, since the sealing of Magna Carta.
Magna Carta or “the Great Charter”, also called Magna Carta Libertatum: “the Great Charter of the Liberties” [of England]), is a charter issued by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.
First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons.
Neither of the sides stood behind its commitments and it was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons’ War.
The two events played very significant roles in the development of parliamentary democracy under the rule of law in Britain and elsewhere, including Ghana.
While in London, Akufo-Addo, will also deliver a speech at Chatham House, the prestigious Royal Institute of International Affairs, on the topic “Developing Ghana – policies for prosperity”.
Nana Addo, was accompanied by Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, former Minister of State in the Kufuor administration and former Deputy Editor at the BBC Africa Service for English Daily Programmes, and Captain Edmund Koda, his official bodyguard.