“The history of the NPP tells us that no President can foist a candidate on the Party against its wishes. The NPP is not that kind of Party. We have never subscribed to a cult of personality. Indeed, our highly-respected former President, the 1st NPP President, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, in the aftermath of my election as NPP Presidential Candidate, by the 2007 National Congress, told the Congress that ‘the Party has its spirit’, a spirit that cannot be ignored.”
These were the words of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo when he met with communicators of the New Patriotic Party, who called on him at Jubilee House, the seat of the nation’s presidency, on Wednesday, 2nd August 2023.
In a response to an appeal by the NPP Director of Communications, Mr. Richard Ahiagbah, in relation to the Party’s conduct in next year’s election, President Akufo-Addo stated that the Party cannot afford to allow what happened to it in 2008 to reoccur in 2024.
“We are all witnesses to the derailing of the achievements chalked by President John Agyekum Kufuor by the successor NDC Government, from 2009 to 2017, in which John Dramani Mahama featured so prominently,” the President noted.
According to him “under 8-years of the successor NDC Government, we became famous for all the wrong reasons. Four successive years of dumsor, the mismanagement of the economy, wrong and dangerous energy contracts, and wanton corruption dissipated any hope the Ghanaian had for sustained economic development. Never again should we allow this to happen.”
With the start of the final leg of internal contests of the NPP, President Akufo-Addo noted that some actions by a few members of the party are making the front pages for the wrong reasons.
“We are expending some of our energies hurling invectives at each other, instead of at our opponents, and, in the process, taking digs at our own Government. It has been an anxious time for all who love our party, and who see us as the party that can bring progress and prosperity to our nation,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “It is for this reason that, as President of the Republic and de-facto leader of the Party, I want to ensure that certain actions of yesteryear, which contributed to our loss in 2008, are not repeated. We cannot afford an internal campaign based on ethnic or religious considerations.”
Describing the NPP as “the Party of Ghana’s unity”, the President rejected forcefully the assertions “being made by a few in our party who, because of internal party politicking, are accusing my government of allegedly “intimidating” and “coercing” party faithful to throw their support behind one of the presidential aspirants, that is the Vice President. It is a false and malicious narrative.”
He told the Communicators of the Party that he beat my chest and say, without any fear of contradiction, that there is no one in the Party who can say that he, President Akufo-Addo, has asked him or her to support this or that aspirant.
“I have not set out to dismiss any MMDCE or political appointee from office for supporting any particular aspirant; no Minister or Deputy Minister has lost their job or been threatened for openly campaigning for their preferred presidential aspirant; neither has any caveat emanated from Jubilee House to the Party across the length and breadth of the country demanding that Candidate A be supported over Candidate B. I, better than anyone in the Party, know that this is not the way to go,” he stated.
Whoever becomes Presidential Candidate, according to the President, “will be chosen freely and transparently by an Electoral College of some two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) people, and not by President Akufo-Addo. I have just one vote, the same as any polling station executive anywhere in the country.”
He indicated, however, that he would “cast that vote for an aspirant who, I believe, can best unite the Party, and, above all, who can win the presidential election of 7th December 2024, and inflict a third successive defeat on the perennial NDC Presidential Candidate, John Dramani Mahama.”
President Akufo-Addo reassured the gathering that victory for the NPP in election 2024, and handing over to an NPP Presidential Candidate so elected as President by the Ghanaian people, are what he is working for, and he expects all members of the NPP to share the same goals.
“I assume that we all want our party to win the 2024 elections decisively, our parliamentary candidates to win, again, the majority of seats in Parliament, and our flagbearer to become the President of the Republic. I expect and accept arguments on how we prosecute this agenda. But I do not expect and do not accept that party members would do anything to jeopardise the goal we have set ourselves of winning the 2024 elections, and I will work with all who seek this objective,” he added.
Touching on the economy, President Akufo-Addo stressed that, but for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ghana would have witnessed an economic boom, following three (3) successive years when the country was one of the fastest growing economies in the world, recording an annual GDP growth rate of seven percent (7%), up from three-point four percent (3.4%), the lowest in a generation, the NPP inherited from the Mahama-led NDC Government at a time when there was no global turbulence.
“By the Grace of Almighty God, together with appropriate policy and hard work, we are seeing a turnaround in our fortunes, and this turnaround will be sustained. We are not about to throw this away, and no machinations are going to weaken us. We will work hard the next sixteen (16) months to finish strongly our current mandate, and merit again the trust and confidence of the Ghanaian people, Break the Eight, and make history together,” he added.