President Akufo-Addo will be giving the presidency a fourth try after his first attempt in 2008. He has carved a name for himself as one of the finest politicians of the fourth republic.
What will make the 2020 election interesting is that Nana Akufo-Addo will be coming against opposition leader and former President John Mahama for the third time.
Nana Akufo-Addo’s political journey began at a very tender age. His activism and push for structural political change during the time of former President Rawlings warmed the hearts of many Ghanaians.
His quest to lead Ghana as president has been a long time dream even when he was a young lawyer and later transitioned into a staunch activist whose voice echoed through the capsule of time and his influence unmatched.
Let us get to know who Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo is
- Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was born in Swalaba Accra, Gold Coast on 29th March 1944 to a prominent Ghanaian royal and political family as the son of Edward and Adeline Akufo-Addo.
- His father Edward Akufo-Addo from Akropong-Akuapem was Ghana’s third Chief Justice from 1966 to 1970, Chairman of the 1967–68 Constitutional Commission and the non-executive President of Ghana from 1970 till 1972.
- Akufo-Addo’s maternal grandfather was Nana Sir Ofori Atta, King of Akyem Abuakwa, who was a member of the Executive Council of the Governor of the Gold Coast before Ghana’s independence. He is a nephew of Kofi Asante Ofori-Atta and William Ofori Atta. His granduncle was J. B. Danquah, another member of The Big Six.
- He started his primary education at the Government Boys School, Adabraka, and later went to Rowe Road School (now Kinbu), in Accra Central. He went to England to study for his O-Level and A-Level examinations at Lancing College, Sussex, where he was nicknamed ‘Billy’ or William.
- He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics course at New College, Oxford in 1962, but left soon afterwards. He returned to Ghana in 1962 to teach at the Accra Academy, before going to read Economics at the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1964, earning a BSc(Econ) degree in 1967.
- He subsequently joined Inner Temple and trained as a lawyer under the apprenticeship system known as the Inns of court, where no formal law degree was required. He was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in July 1971.
- He was called to the Ghanaian bar in July 1975. Akufo-Addo worked with the Paris office of the U.S. law firm Coudert Brothers. In 1979, he co-founded the law firm Prempeh and Co.
- Nana Addo was a vocal member of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) while a student in the University of Ghana, he switched sides to the rival UP tradition following the overthrow of President Nkrumah in 1966 after which his father, Edward Akufo-Addo became ceremonial president of Ghana in 1969.
- Akufo-Addo’s participation in politics formally began in the late 1970s when he joined the People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ), an organisation formed to oppose the General Acheampong-led Supreme Military Council’s Union Government proposals.
- In May 1995, he was among a broad group of elites who formed Alliance for Change, an alliance that organised demonstrations against neo-liberal policies such as the introduction of Value Added Tax and human rights violations of the Rawlings presidency. The forefront of this demonstration was himself, Abdul Malik Kwaku Baako and Saifullah Senior minister Victor Newman, Kwasi Pratt Jnr, Dr Charles Wreko Brobbey among others. They were joined by about 100,000 other people. The protest was named “Kumepreko”.
- In the 1990s, he formed a civil rights organisation called Ghana’s Committee on Human and People’s Rights. He was a member of the 2nd,3rd and 4th parliament of the 4th republic representing the Abuakwa Constituency.
- In October 1998, Akufo-Addo competed for the presidential candidacy of the NPP and lost to John Kufuor, who subsequently won the December 2000 presidential election and assumed office as President of Ghana in January 2001.
- Akufo-Addo was the chief campaigner for Kufuor in the 2000 election. He became the first Attorney General and Minister for Justice of the Kufuor era and later moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
- In 2007, he was the popular candidate tipped to win New Patriotic Party’s presidential primaries. In 2008, Akufo-Addo represented NPP in a closely contested election against John Atta Mills of NDC. In the first round of voting, Akufo-Addo tallied 49.13%, leading Atta Mills with a slim margin that was below the constitutional threshold of 50% to become the outright winner.
- Akufo-Addo ran again as NPP’s presidential candidate in the 2012 national elections against NDC’s John Mahama, the successor to the late Atta Mills. Mahama was declared the winner of the election, an outcome that was legally challenged by Akufo-Addo. The court case generated considerable controversy and was finally decided by the Ghana Supreme Court in a narrow 5/4 decision in favour of Mahama. Akufo-Addo accepted the verdict in the interest of economic stability and international goodwill.
- In March 2014, Akufo-Addo announced his decision to seek his party’s nomination for the third time ahead of the 2016 election. In the NPP primary conducted in October 2014, he was declared the victor with 94.35% of the votes. Akufo-Addo also served as Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Mission for the South African elections in 2014.
- He focused his campaign on the economy, promising to stabilise the country’s foreign exchange rate and to reduce unemployment levels. On 9 December 2016, sitting president Mahama conceded defeat to Akufo-Addo. Akufo-Addo won the election with 53.83% of the votes against Mahama’s 44.4%.
- Akufo-Addo took office on 7 January 2017. His inauguration was held at Black Star Square in Accra. Twelve presidents from African and European countries attended the ceremony, including Edgar Lungu of Zambia, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria.
- Akufo-Addo faced backlash, especially on social media, for plagiarising parts of his inauguration speech, having lifted passages, word-for-word, from previous inaugural addresses given by American presidents John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as well as prepared remarks given by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at a 2015 United States Institute of Peace event.
- After the scandal came to light, his press office issued an apology, with his communication director describing the situation as a “complete oversight and never deliberate.”However, after the mea culpa, it was found that Akufo-Addo had also plagiarised portions of his 2013 concession speech after the Supreme Court of Ghana upheld the 2012 electoral victory of President John Mahama. In that speech, lines were lifted verbatim from United States Vice-President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential concession speech given after the US Supreme Court verdict.
- In September 2017, the president launched the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy, which will make secondary high school free for students in Ghana.
- Akufo-Addo is from Akropong-Akuapem and Kyebi in the Eastern Region.
- e is married to Rebecca Akufo-Addo (née Griffiths-Randolph), the daughter of a judge, Jacob Hackenburg Griffiths-Randolph, the Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana during the Third Republic.
- They have five daughters; Gyankroma Funmi Akufo-Addo, Edwina Nana Douka Akufo-Addo, Adriana Dukua Akufo-Addo, Yeboakua Akufo-Addo, and Valerie Obaze.
- Akufo-Addo was presented with the Mother Theresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice in 2016 by the Harmony Foundation for sacrificing political ambitions for the sake of national peace and reconciliation.
- Akufo-Addo is currently the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
- In May 2019, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres named Akufo-Addo among the newly appointed SDG advocates as co-chair alongside the Prime Minister of Norway, Ms Erna Solberg.
- He is going into the 2020 election with Vice President Bawumia serving as his running-mate for the fourth time in a role.
Akufo-Addo will be looking to having his mandate renewed by Ghanaians come December 7. His election mantra fro this year is #4More4Nana #4MoreToDoMore