Akufo-Addo was born on 29th March 1944 in Accra, Ghana, to a prominent Ghanaian royal and political family as the son of Edward and Adeline Akuffo-Addo. His father was Ghana’s third Chief Justice from 1966 to 1970, Chairman of the 1967-1968 Constitutional Commission and the non-executive President of Ghana from 1970 till 1972. Akufo-Addo’s maternal grandfather was Nana Sir Ofori Atta, King of Akyem Abuakwa who was a member of the Executive Council of the Governor of the Gold Coast before Ghana’s independence. He is a nephew of Kofi Asante Ofori-Atta and William Ofori Atta. His great-uncle was J. B. Danquah, another member of The Big Six.
He started his primary education at the Government Boys School, Adabraka, and later at the Rowe Road School (now Kimbu) both in Accra Central. He went to England to study for his O-Level and A-Level examinations at Lancing College, Sussex. He began the Philosophy, Politics and Economics course at New College, Oxford in 1962, but left soon after. He returned to Ghana in 1962 to teach at Accra Academy Secondary School, before going to read Economics at the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1964, earning a BSc(Econ) degree in 1967. He subsequently studied law in the UK and was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in July 1971. Akufo-Addo was called to the Ghana bar in July 1975. Akufo-Addo worked with the Paris office of U.S. law firm Courdet Freres. In 1979, he co-founded the law firm Prempeh and Co.
On the other hand, President John Dramani Mahama, born 29 November 1958. A member of the Gonja ethnic group, he hails from Bole in the Northern region. Mahama was born in Damongo in the Damango-Daboya constituency of Northern region into a political tradition dating back to the country’s First Republic. His father, Emmanuel Adama Mahama, a wealthy rice farmer and teacher, was the first Member of Parliament for the West Gonja constituency and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region during the First Republic under Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah. Mahama’s father also served as a senior presidential advisor during Ghana’s Third Republic under Hilla Limann.
Mahama had his early education at Achimota School and then proceeded to Ghana Secondary School (Tamale, Northern region) and the University of Ghana, Legon, receiving a bachelor’s degree in history in 1981 and a postgraduate diploma in communication studies in 1986. As a student, he was a member of Commonwealth Hall (Legon). He also studied at the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow in the Soviet Union, specializing in social psychology; he obtained a postgraduate degree in 1988.
Among the many factors which led to Nana Addo emerging as the elected representative to take the mantle of the presidency wasn’t mainly because of his many campaign promises but can partly be attributed to the recognized achievements of the Former President John Agyekum Kufour, also known as the gentle giant.
The NPP under His Excellency, J. A. Kufuor, did its best to fight against corruption. For instance, a minister of state under his administration was charged for willfully causing financial loss to the state and together with other members of the previous government, was sentenced to a prison term. Ghana was the first country in Africa to submit herself to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
It would also interest readers to note that for the first time in 50 years, Ghana under the leadership of Kufuor earned a respectable B+ rating on the international financial scene in 2006 and this indeed, facilitated the country’s successful bid to access over US$ 750m from the Eurobond market. The passage of the Public Procurement Act, Financial Administration Act, Internal Audit Agency Act, which made the agency exceed its revenue target every year, the Office of Accountability Act, the Whistle Blowers Act, the importation of new police uniforms and over 1000 police vehicles to combat crime, the Right to Information bill, the establishment of Fast Track Courts, the excellent handling of the MV Benjamin cocaine scandal where Kwabena ‘Tagor’ Amaning was jailed, the strengthening of state institutions like the SFO, CHRAJ, among others, were all geared towards the eradication of this social evil in the Ghanaian society.
Comparably, the NDC under his excellency J.D Mahama witnessed corruption which the culprits were made to go Scot-free by using the rule of law to their best advantage. In addition to this, the president himself had accepted what they termed as a gift from a Burkinabe Contractor. A Burkinabe national, Mr. Djibril Kanazoe, a contractor, was alleged to have given President Mahama a Ford Expedition vehicle in 2012, as payback for winning a couple contracts from Ghana. Among the corrupt practices which occurred in the camp of the NDC in late December 2015 also included the bus rebranding under the watch of the Transport Minister Dzifa Attivor where prices were highly inflated from the actual total cost of rebranding the 116 buses from GHC11,600 to GHC3.6 million. Also among such common corrupt and bribery practices under Mahama’s administration included GYEEDA, where there was misappropriation of funds within GYEEDA as yet another scheme created by the President Mahama and the NDC to steal money from the state. Not to talk of Alfred Agbesi Woyome and how he swindled the government of this nation of GHC51.2 million.
In the midst of the corrupt practices that gradually perpetuated to the hardship we faced as a nation, the Mahama led administration instead of using comforting and more promising words decided to nickname himself as the dead goat who turns a deaf ear to what people say or a blind eye to what Ghanaians classified as suffering and hardship. With the atrocities that the NDC took Ghanaians through the years before 2016, the NDC after admitting the fact that they had wrecked the nation and ripped the economy apart was expected to win the heart of Ghanaians again until they decided to cause yet another pain by making Madam Akua Donkoh their responsibility by providing her with cars and houses. An expenditure which could have built a factory in a district based on good feasibility studies on the profitability of such factory. I don’t know the truth politicians wanted to seal Professor Marteys mouth from voicing out, so they went to his house with fat envelopes with bribe worth US$100,000.00 (equivalent to GH C397,000.00) and again promises him of a house at Trasacco with swimming pool and a four wheel drive. Ghanaians are more discerning to be taken for a ride.
John Mahama was a youth and could have easily won the heart of the youth and the adult at large. Probably, he surrounded himself with the type of politicians who were expects in create, loot and share. The president is also heard severally of calling unemployed graduates as lazy and his inability to put physical money in people’s pocket. But he forgot to realize, the unemployment facing the nation was as a result of the IMF and the conditions attached. On the other hand, the HIPC benefit by J.A Kufour rather helped his administration and the nation from the huge public debt incurred by the PNDC under JJ Rawlings.
My readers would confidently agree with me that, Kufour managed the economy tremendously well in such a manner that even after his first term, the nation had excess revenue to help boost the economy further, he erased the cash and carry system and introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme, Free Maternal Care, School Feeding, Youth employment, all in the absence of oil proceeds. Regardless, he maintained and provided infrastructure including, roads, hospitals, schools, interchanges etc which are basically the primary duties of the government. In the year 2008, President John Mahama is on record to have said in 2008 that any government’s achievements should not be based on the numerous infrastructure it may have done.
He said, in the audio circulating, that government is supposed to provide infrastructure, and that it would not be enough to use only infrastructural developments to judge whether the government had performed tremendously. And with this same infrastructure, he expected Ghanaians to vote for him, veridically unjustifiable. Partly, this speech from 2008 travelled to 2016 and gave his votes a sucker punch.
He “Mahama” also exhibited high level abuse of power by reducing and releasing the Montie 3 from prison, they threatened to rape the Chief Justice in the eventuality of a war. It was in this very nation that judges were abducted and murdered in a gruesome manner on June 30th 1982. The Montie 3 are/were undoubtedly NDC boys and the president’s mistake in releasing these 3 also contributed to the bitterness Ghanaians had for the NDC and their eagerness and readiness for change. This act taught Ghanaians one thing, that “President Mahama was ready to do anything in the interest of his party at the expense of the nation”. The appointment of Nana Addo as the best man for the nation wasn’t because of Nana addo’s historic background as compared to Mahama but Ghanaians who witnessed Kuffour’s administration made a comparism to Mahama’s and realized the need for applying consciousness in casting their votes. To add more salt to injury, OccupyGhana says it discovered a GH¢35 million contract awarded to embattled businessman, Alfred Woyome later in 2016, although the dust is yet to settle on a scandalous judgement debt awarded to him.
Mr Woyome is yet to refund a GH¢51.2 million judgement debt he obtained from the state which according to the Supreme Court was acquired through unconstitutional and invalid contracts between the state and Waterville Holdings Limited in 2006 for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008. The mistake of the NDC was complacency and believed to have won the elections already forgetting high electricity tariffs and Dumsor, graduate unemployment, a fall in GDP and many others. Such complacency led to the adoption of campaign songs by the NDC like “Mahama Paper by Shata Wale” whereas Nana Akuffo Addo only casted his hope and believe in God by using Cindy Thompson’s “Ewurade Kasa”. The power behind music. Ghana is a Christian and a religious country, the 2010 population census indicates that about 71.2% of Ghanaians are Christians so your selection of campaign songs and people really matter. To make matters worse furthur, the NDC chose ‘Edey bee k3k3” whilst the NPP chose “The battle is the lords”.
In conclusion, Nana Akufo Addo didn’t have to do anything but tackle the weaknesses and the corruption of the NDC and also rested on the shoulders of the good governance rendered by the Kufour administration. In all, I do respect President Mahama for his statesmanship and exhibiting high level maturity in accepting defeat and allowing the peace we’ve enjoyed in previous years to triumph once more in the 2016 elections. My advice is, Mahama should try as much as possible to understand the political growth of the average Ghanaian and do his homework well not including the babies with sharp teeth in his next camp. To the entire NDC party, I forsee conflict within the party now that they are in opposition and I beseech them to allow oneness to prevail amongst them and be careful not to be diabolic in bringing the NPP administration or tarnishing its image in anyway as it would go a long way to prolong their existence in opposition. I would say a vote of 5,594,360 (representing 54.14% of total vote cast) for Nana Akufo Addo as against 4,550,116 (representing 44.04% of total votes cast) for John Mahama, a difference of 1,044,244 votes in favor of Nana Addo was unprecedented. This is a wakeup call for the NDC. Ghana must grow and it will.
By: Emmanuel De-Graft Quarshie