Energy and commitment, according to three-time Flag-bearer Nana Akufo-Addo, are the two main drivers of his presidential ambition.
The 70-year-old former Attorney General, who is having a third consecutive try at Ghana’s presidency after two successive failures, told an audience at the BBC’s Democracy Day panel discussion on January 20, 2015 that he believes he has ample energy and commitment to become President.
Ghana goes to the national polls again in 2016. Akufo-Addo, Leader of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), said at the discussions that: “I think at the end of the day… You are saying, first of all that you have the energy.
“I believe I have the energy… and I also have the commitment, and those are the two things that are driving me,” he said in response to a direct question posed to him by the Moderator about why he has decided to run at 70 instead of supporting a younger candidate for the job.
The former Foreign Affair 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 are 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.”
The issue about his age has been a big issue back home. His internal rivals who contested against him for the slot made several references to it. Also critics in the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) have not ceased using it against him.
When he launched his campaign for the Flagbearer slot in July last year, Akufo-Addo told the crowd of supporters that contrary to the “propaganda” that he is too old and weak at age 70 to run for president again, he is “fit and strong” for the task.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am fit and ready and my appetite is as keen as ever to go into battle for the cause of the NPP.
“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 Flagbearer of the NPP in an internal contest in which he was the oldest Candidate.
He will be 72-years-old by December 2016 when fresh elections are due. He will be going against a younger incumbent, John Mahama who turns 58 that same year.