By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai
At 75, former President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana seems to be bubbling with strength and energy, ready to continue providing services for the development of his nation Ghana, Africa and the world
In addition to his current occupations, he has just accepted an appointment?? by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as a special envoy to lead a global crusade on climate change.? What an assignment!. The world has been grappling with the issue of erratic climatic conditions for some years now. The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that, the human induced condition is happening. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing.
Many are in agreement that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.
The world is warming up. As we burn up the planet?s coal, oil and gas reserves, and cut down its remaining forests, greenhouse gases are pouring into the atmosphere. The delicate balance of atmospheric gases that sustains life is thickening, trapping more and more heat and irreversibly changing our world. those of us in Africa must be concerned? as people in Europe Asia and the Americas ?The U N under Ban Ki Moon? is concerned and through the United Nations Environment Program is geared towards doing something? by bringing? all nations in line to take action to deal with the difficult issue . The choice of former president Kufuor is therefore strategic for him ?to be able to talk? to his colleagues.
Ex-President Kufuor was appointed together with former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
The two will lead ?the political will and action? on climate change ahead of a global summit scheduled to be held in September next year.
Announcing his appointees on Monday, the UN boss said Mr. Kufuor and Mr. Stoltenberg will assist him in consulting world leaders ?to raise the level of ambition to address climate change and to accelerate action?.
Mr. JOHN AGYEKUM KUFUOR
Speaking to Radio Ghana, Spokesperson of former President said the appointment is an appreciation of Mr. Kufuor role in world affairs, and that it will give him the impetus to make a strong case for the African continent.
All those who have been following the progress of the former president were not surprised when he accepted the position offered him. They knew him to be a hardworking person filled with the spirit of sacrifice and innovation.
A Bit about Kufuor?s Post-Presidency Duties
In July 2009, Kufuor became a member of the?SNV Netherlands Development Organization?International Advisory Board to contribute his expertise to the organization?s poverty reduction work.
In September 2009, Kufuor spoke in the Netherlands at Dutch government event to mark ’60 years of development aid’ at the invitation of Dutch Minister?Bert Koenders, which was attended by nearly 2,000 people.
During his visit to the Netherlands, he was interviewed by the newspaper NRC Handelsblad and the Internationale Samenwerking magazine. He argued for the importance of effective development assistance, pointing out that development aid helped Ghana enter the international capital market.
On September 21, 2009, he delivered the prestigious Legatum Pericles Lecture at the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the?Massachusetts Institute of Technology.?John Kufuor is the Governing Council Chairman of?Interpeace, an international peace building organization based in Geneva since October 2009. He also became a member of the prestigious?Club of Madrid, the largest grouping of former democratically elected heads of state.
John Agyekum Kufuor was?? chosen together with?Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva?to jointly receive the 2011?World Food Prize?for their personal commitment and visionary leadership while serving as the presidents of Ghana and of Brazil, respectively, in creating and implementing government policies to alleviate hunger and poverty in their countries. The foundation in a statement said the significant achievements of these two Laureates illustrate that transformational leadership truly can effect positive change and greatly improve people?s lives.
On September 20, 2011, he inaugurated the?John Agyekum Kufuor (JAK) Foundation?with a ground breaking ceremony for the JAK Centre for Leadership, Governance and Development at the University of Ghana, Legon. The inaugural lecture which attracted very high local and foreign dignitaries had H.E.?Horst Koehler, ex-president of the Republic of Germany, as its guest speaker.?Thabo Mbeki, ex-president of South Africa and ex-president?Jerry John Rawlings, Mr. Kufour’s fiercest critic, were among the dignitaries who attended the ceremony. The ex-presidents also unveiled a plaque on September 22, 2011 for the Kufuor Presidential Library and Museum at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, which formed part of the John A. Kufuor Foundation.
On October 14, 2011, President Kufuor received the 2011?World Food Prize, along with President?Luiz In?cio Lula da Silva?for his personal commitment and visionary leadership while serving as the president of Ghana, and in creating and implementing government policies to alleviate hunger and poverty in his country.
Since November 2011 John Agyekum Kufour is the first high-level Chair of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership.
Numerous?NPP?supporters tried to barricade President Kufuor’s house on January 7, 2013 to prevent him from going for the inauguration of?John Dramani Mahama?because the NPP as a party had decided to boycott the inauguration as they felt going would undermine their challenge of Mahama’s win in court. Kuffuor explained that the party had allowed him to go as he was invited as an Ex President of Ghana and not as a Member of the NPP. The Supporters did not listen. Hence Police reinforcement had to be sent to his abode to allow him to be able to go for the programme.
Awards and Accolades
Awards and accolades won by president Kufuor include the following:
Chatham House Prize in? (2008) ? Distinction of Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers of the? Republic of Liberia. (2008) ? World Federation of Honorary Consuls? Order of the Gold Star (2008) ? Honorary Fellow, Exeter College, Oxford University, and John Moore University, Liverpool, UK ? Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.? Knight Commander of the Order of Bath of the UK, conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ? Awarded highest award of the Order of the House of Orange, conferred by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands auspice ? Awarded State Honors from various countries including Italy, Germany and Brazil?? Distinction of Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers of the? Republic of Liberia. (2008)
The selection of president Kufuor to play a role in the climate change program indicates that Ghana abounds with personalities who have provided and continue to provide quality services to the world. Apart from Dr Kwame Nkrumah who declared Ghana independent and served as first president we have had other leaders like President Rawlings, Dr K. A.? Busia and Limann among others who led Ghana among others as constitutionally elected leaders. Because they paid their dues, we intend to provide a bit about them in our subsequent publications. We may also provide a bit about the positive contributions of some military leaders who made good contributions towards national development. ?We would touch on the lives of entrepreneurs, sportsmen, engineers, doctors and the like who have made their contributions and continue to do so to the nation.
For a leader like Mr. Kufuor who at his age of more than three scores and ten (like VCRAC Crabbe, Mr. K.B. Asante) to be relevant to the current political trends, we need to learn from him as done ?in other nations (like the United States, India and China) that are learning from their heroes.
Yes I attest to the fact that president Kufuor has succeeded in chalking up successes because he is tolerant, patriotic nationalistic and above all a teacher in his generation. Therefore let?s continue to hear him and learn from his experience, in spite of his human limitations.
MEMORIAL FOR HEROES
The best memorial befitting the legacies of president Kufuor and men like him is to set up a national non partisan committee with the help of the JAK Foundation to honor the heroes of our time by way of a who is who book renewable periodically and legends time on television and newspapers in all areas of our national and international lives. These men and women would be drawn from the areas of sports, banking, agriculture, media, engineering, real estates, theatre arts, film making, media programming, journalism, education, religious fields, entrepreneurship, politics, the judiciary, medicine and the like .
The heroes book and legends series in the media will help us get to know heroes of our time and makers of our history like J A Kufuor? instead of being left to wallow in conflict over? recognition of men and women to suit our parochial political interests. We do not have to view our heroes through our parochial political ethnic and other sectional lenses.? Some of the notable figures could be assisted to write their memoires and biographies as done in other nations for the benefit of the coming generations. Keep it up JAK the hero of our time; we are with you all the way.
By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai
eanfoworld for sustainable development ( GET IN TOUCH WITH US)