nana addo

Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo on Thursday
officially declared his intention to make a third bid at the presidency of
Ghana.

The 2012 flagbearer of the main opposition New Patriotic Party
(NPP) said he is looking forward to contesting the NPP?s prediential primaries
when the nominations are opened.

Below is the full speech the NPP
flagbearer delivered to the supporters.

STATEMENT BY NANA
AKUFO-ADDO ON INTENTION TO CONTEST FOR NPP CANDIDATURE FOR 2016 PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION ON 20TH MARCH 2014.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
dignitaries and members of the New Patriotic Party, fellow
Ghanaians.

Good morning and welcome. Thanks for accepting my invitation,
even though I am told most of you claim to know already what I am going to say.
I do hope I don?t disappoint you.

As you may recall, I said on August 29,
2013, the day of the Election Petition verdict, that I would take some time out
of the hurly burly of politics, get some rest, reflect and then announce what I
envisage for my political future.

Shortly after I made that statement, my
wife and best friend, Rebecca, and I travelled to the United Kingdom, where we
stayed in London for some six months. This gave me a lot of time to think about
things. Such a long period of reflection inevitably meant taking a hard look at
my life and what I have done, particularly in the period since the mid-70s when
I have been active in political life.

I am humbled by the opportunities
that I have had to contribute to the development of our nation, from the
struggle against military dictatorship, through protecting the rights of
ordinary Ghanaians in the law courts and on the streets, to the consolidation of
our democracy and the projection of our national interest, first, in building
the New Patriotic Party, and, also, as a member of parliament and cabinet
minister.

Even though I will forever regret the fact that I could not
lead the party to victory in 2008 and could not secure a declaration of victory
in 2012, the party can be proud of what we have been able to achieve together
for Ghana and, by extension, Africa, as a whole. Despite all the controversy
that bedeviled the 2012 presidential election, we, in the NPP, showed
responsible citizenship and put the nation first before our desire for power,
because of our love of Ghana. We showed that it is possible and, indeed,
desirable, to play by the rules even if it leads to unfavourable results for
you. We might have lost that 2012 battle, but when the history of this period is
told, I am confident that it will be most favourable to the NPP. Already,
Ghana?s image as a peaceful, stable democracy has been greatly enhanced by the
path the NPP took, after the controversial 2012 elections, to settle the
electoral dispute in court and accept the decision of the court as final. I am
proud to be a member of this great party and I am grateful to have been given
two opportunities so far to lead it.

In trying to come to a decision, I
asked the Almighty for his continuing guidance.

I thought about the
battles we as a people have fought to get us to where we are today in a nation
governed by a constitution. I thought of the many people with whom I have been
in some of these battles and the loyalty and hard work that we came to take for
granted from each other.

I thought especially hard about the 2008 and
2012 elections, when I was privileged to be the presidential candidate of my
party. I thought about how lucky I was to have this brilliant economist,
MahamuduBawumia, as my running mate in those two elections. I have been humbled
by the loyalty, the confidence and trust that millions of Ghanaians gave to me.
I thought about the huge disappointment that our loss brought to us
all.

I thought about the passing of time and the fact that I shall be
seventy years old in a few days time. I have asked hard questions of myself and
of my body and I have taken the opportunity to see my doctors both here in Ghana
and in the United Kingdom. I examined my commitment and the fire that burns in
my belly with the desire to lead Ghana.

I had time to think about the
lessons of history and the examples of other countries and how such lessons
might impact on the current state of Ghana.I had long discussions with Rebecca
and my daughters and some of the people who have been a source of unflinching
support before coming to a decision.

I was in constant contact with Ghana
whilst I was away in England.I received daily phone calls, text messages,
emails, Facebook messages, and regular visits from Ghanaians from different
parts of the world, from every region in Ghana, young and old, men and women,
great and small. Themessage was unanimous: they all urged me to remain in
frontline politics and to seek the candidacy of my party for the 2016
presidential election of Ghana.

The message from NPP members was along
the lines: ?You, Nana Addo, remain our best chance for 2016; Ghanaians are
telling us we should bring you back.?

The message from Ghanaians who are
not NPP members, including supporters of other political parties, can be summed
up as: ?We have heard your message, we know who you are and what you stand for
and we are ready to vote for you in our numbers in 2016.?

In spite of all
the disappointments of the last few years, I cannot ignore these calls,
especially when, among those urging me to run,arethose who admit to supporting
my opponents in previous contests, whether within the NPP or in national
elections.

My wife and I arrived back in Ghana a fortnight ago, sure of
the decision that we have taken regarding my future in politics.

Since
getting back, I have, as custom demands, spent my time going around the elders
of my party, and a few other people to inform them of my decision before going
public. I am happy to say that the message was positively received.

I
have been greatly humbled by the confidence that many, many Ghanaians from all
walks of life, especially young people, some of whom are yet to cast their first
ballot, have in me. I am profoundly grateful that so many people consider me
worthy to lead this promising nation of ours, even at the young ageof 70.
Fortunately for me,I chose two careers where there is no retirement age: law and
politics.

I thank the Almighty I am able to say that I feel spiritually,
psychologically, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and patriotically
strong enough to remain in the hurly burly of frontline politics.

With
great humility, therefore, I can announce that, when the party opens nominations
sometime this year, I shall be ready, God willing, to contest for the position
of NPP presidential candidate for the 2016 general elections.

In so
saying, I seek to lead a united party. Yes, we believe in internal competition
and we must not shy away from the vibrant competition of ideas that is our
custom as we battle each other for positions in the party. But, winning a party
position should never be achieved at the expense of party unity. Every time a
party member speaks ill of another party member, we break the hearts of the
people who look to us to bring back hope into their lives. Yes, we are not
perfect, and, we will make mistakes along the way, and some people will get
carried away in the course of arguments. But, I believe, there is no single
issue in our party that we cannot resolve amicably as a family to the
satisfaction of all well-meaning parties to the issue. We have done very well
over the last four months, under challenging conditions, to hold elections to
choose some 140,000 officers to prosecute our 2016 campaign. No party in Ghana
has been able to achieve this feat and I expect none will do so in the
foreseeable future. We have plenty to celebrate and plenty more to look forward
to. Let us focus on the bigger pictureand complete satisfactorily the process of
choosing national officers on April 12th in Tamale.

Let us keep our party
buoyant and healthy to make itmore and more attractive to the many disillusioned
Ghanaians out there looking for a credible alternative to the NDC.Let us protect
the dignity of the NPP in all that we do or say.We do not have to compete with
the government in attracting negative publicity to ourselves. They are quite
capable of managing that on their own with their incompetence. The duty of an
opposition party is to keep the government on its toes and not to step on each
other?s toes. In so doing, there is one principle that I wish to see guiding the
way we do things in the NPP. We must have mutual respect. I am particularly
attracted by then Governor Ronald Reagan?s dictum: ?Thou shall not speak ill of
a fellow Republican.?

We have a strong and ever growing party of
competent men and women.Every day, more and more people, who care deeply about
the direction that the current administration is taking the country, are joining
our party. Let us make such peoplefeel welcome and confident that they have made
the right choice with the NPP. In spite of all the propaganda against us, the
facts are clear that NPP is as diverse as the country that we are in politics to
serve.

Let me make reference to one of the interesting statistics that
emerged from the work done by the formidable DrMahamuduBawumiain compiling our
case for the election petition. In many of the places that we were supposed to
have lost, the gap between our votes and that of the NDC was abnormally high. It
is our duty, therefore, to close that gap and we intend to do so by two means.
First we intend to win the votes of the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians and,
second, we shall protect those votes at every level to the point of
declaration.

I have no desire to lead the NPP into another election
petition in 2016. I certainly do not want to take election grievances to the
streets either. I prefer we begin today to do the things that would greatly
diminish any potential need to go to court. That means we want an election in
which the results would be beyond dispute and would be accepted by all. That
means we must secure the reforms that are necessary to enhance the integrity of
the electoral system and the people who work for the system, the electoral
officers.

We need to ensure the integrity of the electoral process so
that we can concentrate on what matters most: enhancing the lives of the
people.

The biggest threat to our democracy is the potential loss of
confidence in the democratic system and the takeover offear where there used to
be hope. Our people see all around them corruption, economic hardships, falling
standards in education, inefficient public service system, joblessness,
especially amongst the youth, and insecurity. They see awide gap between what
some politicians promise and what they deliver. That is dangerous for all of us.
We need to restore hope and confidence in our young people; we need to restore
hope and confidence in the leadership of the nation. Every child must have the
best education that this nation can provide. We need to offer young people hope,
education, and skills for decent jobs with decent pay.

We can no longer
postpone the need for the structural transformation of our economy. Our current
raw material producing economy isincapable of generating the jobs that our young
people need and deserve. It is vital that we put in place a comprehensive,
systematicprogramme for the industrialisation of Ghana, so that, by the end of
the next decade, industrial products, not raw materials, will dominate Ghana?s
economy. We need to work out the fiscal, monetary and technological incentives
that can stimulate local production of goods and services by the private
sector.That is the way to deal with widespread unemployment and low wages. That
is the programme that the NPP, under my leadership, will be committed
todelivering. Alas, all of this hinges on fixing our energy situation. Nothing
must be spared to fix it. We cannot continue blaming an Act of God or Nigerians
for our predicament. It is Ghana made, pure and simple. And, it must be fixed by
Ghanaians.

As the experiences of the successful countries in Asia and
elsewhere have shown, government has a very important and positive role to play
in spurring industrialisation and economic transformation. It needs not be
state-owned; it needs rather the vision, commitment and intelligent support of
the state.

But, to succeed in industrialising Ghana, we must show a far
greater seriousness in building the nation?s infrastructure, including not only
power, but also housing, transport, water, irrigation, and ICT. I believe we
could have done much more recently even with the limited resources available. A
major impediment to this is the worrying deficit in value-for-money when it
comes to public procurements. The World Bank and Government of Ghana estimate a
funding gap of some US$2 billion per annum to meet Ghana?s infrastructural
needs. Yet, we managed to register a record budget deficit of more than US$4bn
in 2012 alone, which occurred without even meeting our spending targets for
infrastructural development in that election year. Two years on, our new Finance
Minister continues to struggle to plug that fiscal hole instead of spending his
vital energies to stimulate the economy.

The current economic
difficulties call for efficient and honestmanagement of public resources and
projects. Much of the difficulties facing the country today can be traced to
widespread corruption and the apparent inability on the part of the current
leadership to fight corruption.

The depressing reality is that corruption
is costing the nation jobs, as government chooses to pay more money for less.
Corruption is denying our children money to fund their education, the school
feeding programme is starved of cash, ask yourself why? Contractors are not
being paid. Ask yourself why? Our development partners are refusing to release
funds to support our budget, ask yourself why? Salaries are in arrears, ask
yourself why? Unlike what we are witnessing today, what Ghana needs is a
government that makes the issue of giving value for money the underlining
principle for managing public funds. We need that to develop greater confidence
in the economy.

I have learnt a lot in my four decades in frontline
politics. I continue to learn. I have made mistakes in my life, I have said
things I could on hindsight have put better. I have tasted defeats and also
chalked some successes. I have played my part to see multiparty democracy
becoming entrenched in our nation. I was part of PresidentKufuor?s team that
demonstrated to our people that a liberal democracy can deliver on laying the
foundations for economic prosperity.I want to be part of winning the next
challenge: which is to build a modern, industrialised society in Ghana, where
every citizen has the opportunity to prosper. This is the driving force of my
life.I will stay true to what I believe in, no matter the pressures to do what
is convenient.

I am clear and convinced about the direction in which we
must go as a country. I have been consistent on this because I believe in
it.

I am convinced Ghana can do better than this current state of
affairs. And, I believe we can make the change that will make us better than
this. We have unfinished business. And, I am ready to get back to
work.

God bless the NPP. God bless Ghana.

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