|I am Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo|
Fellow Ghanaians, I am Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). I have come to you this evening to appeal for your support and your vote, both for me and the 275 NPP parliamentary candidates on Wednesday, December 7, in two days time.
Elections matter. They have consequences. This year’s election, obviously, has great consequences. On Wednesday, all of us have the power to take a decision that will have a direct impact on us, our families, our children, our communities, and generations yet unborn. Wednesday will go a long way to determining the future of our country.
Over the last 8 years, I’ve been going around the country, meeting you, the Ghanaian people, in your homes, workplaces, farms, markets, lorry stations, royal palaces, at organised functions and at unscheduled stops; and I have heard your stories and seen your conditions. I have read your numerous comments on my Facebook page, in social media and in newspapers, and have heard your comments on radio and television.
I have seen young people who are keen to work, I have seen young people who are desperate to start on the first ladder to their own businesses and yes, I have seen young people who are dying to start families of their own. Many of these young people have been to school, many of them have done what society has asked of them, that is they have got qualifications but they remain unemployed. Many who did not have the benefit of schooling are also without jobs, and are demoralised as they see no prospects ahead. I have met parents who are at their wits ends because their grown-up children remain at home and are unable to start their independent lives. I have seen the difficulties and harsh realities many people face in not being able to pay their electricity and water bills. I have seen how drivers, both private and commercial, struggle to pay for the high prices of fuel and insurance premiums.
I have also seen at firsthand what these past eight years of failed governance have done to our nation: the unprecedented levels of joblessness, high costs of living, widespread and rampant cases of corruption, and deterioration in governance and in the quality of our health and education services. I have seen the implementation of policies that have hurt and collapsed businesses, and I have seen business and consumer confidence plummet, as the cost of doing business has increased and consumers do not have the spending power to buy what they want.
Everywhere I have been on this campaign – in the Volta, Upper East, Northern, Upper West, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Western, Central, Eastern and Greater Accra Regions – I have been met with amazingly warm and enthusiastic receptions, the memories of which will live with me for the rest of my life. I am particularly grateful to the Chiefs and people in all parts of the country I visited for their hospitality, the confidence they reposed in me, and the manner in which they took my campaign messages to heart.
What I have seen, heard and read, convinces me deeply that we have to change the way we do things and change our economy into a new one – a new economy that will help us give our children good education, create jobs, provide good healthcare, feed ourselves adequately, and give every Ghanaian an opportunity for a good life.
We are unhappy and dissatisfied with the conditions of our lives. And, yet, government propagandists tell us we are living today in better times. I know that many of you are tired of failed promises, and have lost trust in the leadership that you have been served. You have seen and are appalled by the blatant theft of state coffers by the very government officials who promised to make our lives better.
In spite of these, however, I urge you not to lose faith in our democratic system of government, which we fought so long, and so hard to establish. What is broken can be fixed. This election gives you the chance to help get Ghana working again. And I plead with all of you, everyone who is registered to vote, to take this chance and vote to get Ghana working again. It is clear. We cannot afford four more years of this government.
My life has been about service to people. This has been my driving force as a lawyer, as a political activist against military rule, as a campaigner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as a Member of Parliament, as Attorney General and as Minister for Foreign Affairs. I have also been in business, at which I have done reasonably well. Over twenty years ago, I was excited by the potential of mobile telephones and played a pioneering role in bringing the first mobile telephony company, Mobitel, to Ghana, which started an industry that has transformed the lives of millions of Ghanaians. As a lawyer, I mentored many young people who are now among the leading lawyers of our country. It is these various roles and experiences which I have undergone that I believe, in all humility, have prepared me for the serious job of President of the Republic.
My goal is to provide strong leadership and help build a prosperous society, which creates opportunities for all its citizens, rewards creativity and enterprise, honesty and hard work, a society where there is discipline and fairness, where people go about their lives in a free and responsible manner, a society where there are safety nets for the vulnerable and decent retirement for the elderly, an open society protected by well-resourced and motivated security services, and where the rule of law works.
For this to happen, Ghana needs effective leadership, leadership which is honest, competent and determined to deliver. A leadership of conviction – one committed to fighting corruption and dedicated to the welfare and wellbeing of the Ghanaian. I am determined to fight corruption aggressively, and I can do so, because I am not corrupt, have never been corrupt, and will demand the same of my team.
I want to build a Ghana where the National Health Insurance Scheme will work once again, like it did under President J.A Kufuor.
I want to build a Ghana where sound economic policies will lead to a rise in business confidence, where Ghanaians are gainfully employed in professions they value, that pay them well, where our youth thrive and grow in confidence, and where the current fears of parents change into prospects of great hopes.
I want to build a Ghana with a well-educated and skilled workforce able to compete in the modern world. This means that our institutions of education will be places of constant innovation for teachers and students alike.
I want to build a Ghana where our brightest go into public office and see it as a true avenue for service to the nation.
I want to build a Ghana where our public discourse is elevated above constant propaganda, spin, insults, outright lies and fabrications to enable our people make informed choices about their future.
I want to build a Ghana where the institutions of our State are close to our people, where our regional structures serve our people more efficiently, and where local government is led by directly elected officials.
I want to build a Ghana where there is genuine separation of powers in our governance system to secure the freedom and prosperity of all of us.
I want to build a Ghana where we appreciate the importance of the environment and acknowledge that we are custodians of the forests, the rivers, the lands, the seas and the animals for future generations.
I want to build a Ghana which is united, at peace with itself and takes pride in its diversity. I want build a Ghana where no one tries to pit tribe against tribe, North against South, a Krobo against a Kusasi, an Ewe against a Dagomba, a Fante against a Dagarti, a Gonja against a Mamprusi, or an Ashanti against a Ga.
We have to make a change.
I want to assure you that an Akufo-Addo led NPP government will stabilise the sinking cedi, bring back business confidence and make investing in Ghana attractive to both local and foreign investors. We will empower the private sector to create wealth and grow the economy. We will help create jobs for the teeming masses of unemployed youth in all parts of the country.
Together with my running mate, the brilliant economist, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, I have a team, a dynamic and competent team, to implement plans designed to improve the standards of living of our people, return the country onto the path of progress and prosperity, and develop in Ghana, a free, democratic, modern African state – one that can hold its own in a competitive world. I am privileged to have an exceptional pool of talent of men and women in the NPP to draw from, as well as from the broad spectrum of Ghanaian talent, home and abroad, to turn the dreams of freedom and prosperity of our forefathers into reality in our time.
We have a clear vision of where we want to take Ghana and a detailed road map of how to get there. But in order to make the journey, we, humbly, need you, fellow citizens, to make a decisive choice on December 7th and give us, respectfully, your mandate. Together, we will change Ghana, and use all the blessings that the Almighty has bestowed on us to bring prosperity to our people and nation.
I do not underestimate the challenges we face in trying to achieve these goals, especially since many of you have lost trust in politicians, because of the many broken promises. But, I want you, the Ghanaian people, to give me the opportunity to serve you differently. I want you to trust me. I am no stranger to you. I have stood with you all my adult life, fighting for our individual and collective rights. I am proud of what we have so far achieved in advancing our political and civil rights. The next struggle is for economic progress: restructuring our economy for opportunities and prosperity for us all, regardless of the circumstances of our birth.
I appeal passionately to all of you to go out and vote in an orderly and peaceful manner. There might be queues, there might be hold-ups and there might be some local difficulties, but I appeal to you to be tolerant and vigilant. Please be prepared to make the critical sacrifice of time. If we want change, we have to vote for change. I urge the Electoral Commission, security personnel and all the officials to do their work professionally. Let us make sure that the process is transparent and credible. Ghana is, then, the winner.
When the results come in, and the good people of Ghana, God willing, vote for change, I urge our President to follow the worthy footsteps of his distinguished predecessors, Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor. The examples of Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, and, most recently, Yahaya Jammeh of the Gambia, should also guide him and ensure a smooth transfer of power. I have no doubt that the patriot in John Dramani Mahama will help procure this outcome.
I feel deep in my bones that we stand on the threshold of building a new Ghana that will see a flowering of Ghanaian art, learning and culture, which will be the light of Africa and the wonder of the world. Together, we can do it.
I believe in you. I believe in the can-do spirit of us, Ghanaians. I believe in Ghana. And, above all, I believe in God.
So, I humbly ask each one of us to consider the words of Hezekiah, King of Judah, in 2 Chronicles 32:8
"With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles."
May He bless us and may He bless our country Ghana. The battle is the Lord’s.