Akufo-Addo still doesn’t get it (Part I)

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Folks, there shouldn’t be any iota of doubt in anybody’s mind that I am one of the fiercest critics of the NPP’s Akufo-Addo; and I am for a good reason adamant that he has nothing to offer Ghana (Ghanaians) that will make any difference. Nothing from him and all those catalyzing his book and rogue politics strikes me as fundamentally radical to change the status quo. It’s all about harping on the failures of the Mahama-led administration and promising to bring down the moon for Ghanaians. What will be the benefit of the moon if it is brought down to the earth?

In his bid to be voted into office as Ghana’s President, Akufo-Addo is ferociously spearheading the NPP’s doom-laden politics of attrition, making his presence felt for the wrong effect. In criticizing him and feeding public discourse with issues aimed at torpedoing him, I am more than clear in my critical comments that he isn’t worth the voters’ bother because he has nothing up his sleeves to warrant the noise he makes. In effect, Akufo-Addo hasn’t learnt any useful lesson from what caused his two previous defeats; as such, he hasn’t added any value to himself and the NPP’s brand of politics.

What we saw of him for Elections 2008 and 2012 is still evident as Election 2016 approaches, even if he has succeeded in clouding his own sky with other damaging miscalculated moves. That is why his self-serving claim that at 72 years, he is not too old to be Ghana’s president strikes me as ludicrous. (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/I-m-not-too-old-to-be-president-Akufo-Addo-437048). Of course, he must be reacting to taunts that he has seen the primer of his life and is too worn out now to place himself in the way of the vagaries of the Presidency. And in truth, those vagaries call for much toughness, including physical strength to cope with the workload or exigencies (not what we’ve seen of Akufo-Addo napping at functions or tripping at a church event).

But I am not really keen on damning Akufo-Addo on the basis of raw age except to ridicule him for comparing himself to other “old folks” such as the Ivory Coast’s Alassane Ouattara and Nigeria’s Gen. Mohammadu Buhari in a vain attempt to suggest that age isn’t a liability for him. History recalled here for emphasis: for Election 1979, the late William Ofori-Atta of the United National Convention suffered a similar fate when Ghanaians dismissed him as too old to be elected into office. They pointed him to the Osu cemetery. Of course, old age may take away the agility of the body but it has its merits too, that is, if properly harnessed. If he wins Election 2016, he will set the record as the oldest to have ruled Ghana in our democracy. But winning Election 2016 on the basis of age isn’t a prospect to relish now.

Fair enough for Akufo-Addo to equalize the matter this way; but what he has failed to factor into that comparison is the commendable accomplishments of President Ouattara and Gen. Buhari that endeared them to the hearts of the voters. In truth, records show that neither President Ouattara nor Gen. Buhari carried as much baggage to the elections as Akufo-Addo has done. We must be plain about this point of departure, which makes the age factor a non-issue.

Let’s take President Ouattara first. As a respected economist, his performance at the IMF is commendable. Beyond that, he was the Prime Minister of the Ivory Coast under the Late Felix Houphouet Boigny. He is loved by the Ivoirians, which justifies why the attempt to neutralize him on account of his being a Burkinabe citizen backfired. No amount of subterfuge by Laurent Gbagbo could hurt him. Instead, Gbagbo ended up being a victim of his own mischief. Assuming the reins of governance, then, was a matter-of-course for President Ouattara. If Akufo-Addo simply cites his age to bracket his own Fate, thereby, he will be doing so only to come across as pitiable.

The same applies to Nigeria’s Gen. Buhari, a successful military officer and former ruler of Nigeria who bounced back on account of the voters’ love for him. His ascendancy has its own intricacies that have nothing bright for Akufo-Addo to capitalize on. The conditions in each country at the time should also be considered. The Ivoirians haven’t regretted choosing Ouattara. Is it the same for the Nigerians? I wonder. It’s all about leadership acumen and a display of admirable skills to woo voters, which is not working well for Akufo-Addo of Ghana.

Here is why: Akufo-Addo is often cited as a successful lawyer whose 40-or-so years’ practice has established him as a pillar, even if he is still clouded in mystery regarding his inability to substantiate his law qualifying certificate before being enrolled in the Ghana Bar or to confirm that the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, indeed, certified him. He was enrolled at that institution (with a 3rd class degree, contrary to the institution strict admission requirements that no one below second (upper) degree qualified for enrollment); but no record exists on his completion of the mandatory pupillage to deserve being certified at the end of his training. The honorary Doctor of Law accolade that the staunch NPP supporter, Prof. Obeng Mireku (Dean of the Fort Hare University in South Africa), has engineered for him won’t add any value to him. We must always remember that the future is built on the present just as the present itself must be built on the past.

Akufo-Addo has ever been the President of the Greater-Accra Regional branch of the Ghana Bar Association and is credited with training lawyers often in the news for defending his cause and anything to do with the NPP. In politics, he is credited with defending human rights (which defence will not hold water if viewed against many instances when he has been found wanting) but also derided for other reasons which his flagbearership of the NPP for Election 2016 has exposed.

For 12 years, he represented the Abuakwa North constituency in Parliament but left little behind for which he should be praised. His performance at the Ministries of Justice/Attorney-General’s Department and Foreign Affairs isn’t sterling. It’s all known and needs no further elaboration. The implications of whatever he did can be summed up in his hasty bid to replace ex-President Kufuor as Ghana’s President. We don’t need to recount his agony at Elections 2008 and how he deepened it at Election 2012 when the voters spurned him.

I shall return…

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