Nana Akufo Addo Dankwa is an accomplished lawyer, he has previously served as Attorney-General and as Foreign Minister. He is a founding member of the NPP and was at the forefront of the long and hard struggle against military dictatorship and towards democratisation in Ghana. His vision is to create a modern society, by transforming the Ghanaian economy, deepening the democratic culture and leading Ghana to participate fully in the project of regional and continental unity . He believes in Ghana and believes that the destiny of Ghanaians is intimately linked to the realisation of Africa’s political and economic integration.
BIG: Believing in Ghana
Nana Akufo-Addo believes in Ghana. He has made it clear that his presidency will be about encouraging Ghanaians to believe in themselves and achieve for themselves. He believes the future belongs to those who believe in Ghana. “This is an age of re-discovery. We need to reconnect with the courage and hope that made Ghana the first black African country to achieve independence. We need to claim for ourselves a new passion and culture of excellence. Let us move forward with confidence that our potential lies within us and that it is bigger than the problems which stifled our efforts in the past. Our potential far outweighs the obstacles that lie before us,” says Nana Akufo-Addo, the inspiring leader that Ghanaians believe has the courage and vim to drive the nation into a new era where the development in freedom that has been achieved in the first eight years of the NPP will be transformed into prosperity for all.
He encouraages Ghanaians to have BIG faith, dream BIG, think BIG, act BIG, in order to achieve their BIG personal goals, and thereby achieve the BIG goals of the nation in becoming economically BIG and prosperous and more socially and politically just. “To believe in Ghana,” he states. “is to defend, support and be prepared to serve free Ghana. To believe in Ghana is not to allow your energies to be sapped away by either the failures of the past or the challenges of today. To believe in Ghana is to embrace today’s challenges as opportunities for a better tomorrow. To believe in Ghana is to be proud of Ghana’s rich diverse culture, customs, traditions and history. To believe in Ghana is to be devoted to her welfare and freedom. It is to stand up in defence of the state even if, in dissenting, you offend the temporary custodians of the state. It means believing in her economic capacity; it means knowing that such belief is not futile, for, clearly, the Ghanaian has the entrepreneurial capacity to create a prosperous society for the great majority. To believe in Ghana is to insist that those in authority lead by example. To believe in Ghana is to believe that for those who lost their lives for the good of this country, their sacrifices were not in vain; that indeed, Ghana is a country worth dying for. To believe in Ghana is to be a responsible citizen. To believe in Ghana is to believe in yourself as a Ghanaian, as someone capable of contributing to the building of a successful, modern African state, operating on the principles of democratic accountability, respect for human rights and the rule of law. To believe in Ghana is to believe in a state where fairness and social justice are essential attributes of its body politic. To believe in Ghana is to make Ghana by our own efforts what it should be: one of the greatest places on earth.”
He had his primary education at the Government Boys School and later Rowe Road School (now Kinbu) both in Accra Central. Nana went on to England’s Holmewood House Prep School before attending Lancing College, Sussex, to study for his O- Level and A- Level examinations. He returned to Ghana in 1964 to read Economics at the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra. After graduating as an Economist, he went on to read Law in the UK and was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in July 1971.
Born March 29, 1944, in Swalaba, Nana was raised in Ga Maami (Accra Central) and in the Nima area of Accra where he spent part of his formative years. He comes from a family where public service is considered a duty and an honour. His father’s residence, Betty House at Korle Wokon in Accra, was effectively the headquarters of the country’s first political party, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), after it was formed at Saltpond on August 4, 1947. Three of the Big Six (founding fathers of Ghana) were Nana’s blood relatives: J.B Danquah and William Ofori Atta were his grand-uncle and uncle, respectively. Edward Akufo-Addo, who became the third Chief Justice of Ghana and later ceremonial President of the Republic from 1969-72, was his father.
During his intellectual formative years, Nana Akufo-Addo’s first interest was in fostering the welfare of the collective citizenry. He briefly embraced Marxist ideas as a student, indeed describing himself as a Trotskyite in those youthful days, but eventually came to hold deep beliefs in the liberal democratic ideals which were the ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers. He believes in empowerment of citizens in what he calls “Ghanaian Economic Empowerment”. Nana is a passionate and dedicated advocate of liberal democracy, human rights and social justice.
AKUFO-ADDO: THE DOER
His adult life is a chronology of selfless political sacrifice for the national good. Some 30 years ago, Nana Akufo-Addo, as General Secretary of the Peoples Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ),the all-embracing political entity formed by Okatakyie Akwasi Afrifa,was part of the leadership that campaigned for a No vote in the referendum on the ill-fated UNIGOV proposal of the Acheampong military junta .
In 1979, he was the leading counsel in Tuffuor vrs Attorney-General, a landmark case which fully established the doctrine of separation of powers and the independence of the Judiciary, preventing President Hilla Limann from removing Chief Justice Apaloo unconstitutionally.
20 years ago, he was the founder and first Chairperson of the Ghana Committee on Human and Peoples Rights, which was set up during the PNDC military dictatorship to protect the civil liberties of Ghanaians.
In 1992, he was the first National Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and later Campaign Manager of the Party’s first presidential candidate, Prof. Albert Adu Boahen, the man of courage who broke the culture of silence.
In 1997, two years after leading the ground breaking “Kume Preko” demonstrations of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Nana Akufo-Addo fought off the NDC/EGLE Party rigging machine and intimidation to become Abuakwa Member of Parliament (MP) and Minority Spokesman on Legal & Constitutional Affairs.
In 2002, after drafting and championing the National Reconciliation Act (Act 611), which established the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), he guided the Commission to push forward significantly the process of healing the wounds of victims of human rights abuses in Ghana.
Nana Akufo-Addo has urged Africans to embrace the 21st century as “the age that should remove all doubt about our ability to manage our own affairs and more.” He has led by example, by attaining the kind of international recognition and support that puts him miles ahead of the flag bearers of the other political parties for the 2008 Ghanaian general elections. Fluent in French, he is today widely viewed as the leader who can successfully bridge the Anglophone-Francophone divide towards regional integration. He has built solid and mutually trusting relationships with several West African regional leaders and an intimate understanding of the steps necessary towards successful regional integration.
He is a calm, composed, articulate, courageous and astute diplomat par excellence. Nana is never intimidated by the traditional powers of the world and he has gained their respect and admiration in his cultured tenacity to fight for the African cause. His patriotism, Pan-Africanism, towering confidence, courage, wisdom, eloquence, worldliness, multi-lingual prowess and exceptional political leadership make him a potential world leader who can push both the Ghanaian and African agenda to heights unimaginable since the First Republic.
He will be a great and successful leader for Ghana and a great champion of African Unity.
Nana is an accomplished lawyer. He was called to the English Bar in 1971 and the Ghanaian Bar in 1975. He worked as Associate Counsel with top international law firm Coudert Freres in Paris- France from 1971-75, moving to Ghana to become a junior member of the chambers of U.V Campbell from 1975-1979. In 1979, he co-founded the law firm, Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co, which has become one of the most successful law firms in Ghana.
During the Third Republic, Akufo-Addo used the law courts to overturn some of the most arbitrary, yet ostensibly legally immune decisions of the AFRC regime. Three such cases, one of habeas corpus and the others involving confiscated assets, were before the three murdered judges of June 30, 1982, Justices Cecilia Koranteng Addow, Poku Sarkodie and K. Agyapong. Akufo-Addo, as fate would have it, had left Accra on a routine visit to London when news broke that the three judges and retired army Major had been abducted, murdered and their bodies burnt. A few days later, Ebo Tawiah, the firebrand PNDC Secretary for Labour, violently denounced Akufo-Addo on a public platform in Tema. Akufo-Addo was advised to stay in exile, but he returned to Ghana after a year and a half to continue without relent his courageous battles against dictatorship and human rights abuse.
He has trained some of Ghana’s distinguished lawyers including, Sophia Akuffo (a Supreme Court Judge), Afare Yeboah (of What Do You Know fame), Joyce Darko, Justina Tete Donkor, Kuntunkununku Ampofo, Frank Davies, Alex Quaynor, Brookman Amissah, Philip Addison, Neils Lutterodt, Joe Ghartey (currently Attorney-General), Ursula Owusu, Efua Ghartey, Atta Akyea, Akoto Ampaw, Yoni Kulendi and Kwame Akuffo.
During the era of military dictatorship in Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo engaged the law courts in defending the rule of law and promoting the rights of Ghanaians. From the beginning of the Fourth Republic, he brought the Constitution of the Republic alive by severally and successfully challenging the metamorphosed PNDC regime, which had turned itself into a civilian government, to abide by the tenets of the fundamental law of the land.
As one of the finest legal minds in the country, Akufo-Addo had the ability to transform Ghana’s Supreme Court into an amphitheatre whenever he held audience before the bench.
At the age of 33, Nana Akufo-Addo became the General Secretary of the broad-based Peoples Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ), which was composed of political stalwarts such as Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa, William Ofori-Atta, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, Adu Boahen, Sam Okudzeto, Obed Asamoah, Godfrey Agama, K.S.P. Jantuah, Jones Ofori-Atta, Johnny Hanson and Nii Amaah Amartefio (Mr. No). This group led the “NO” campaign in the UNIGOV referendum, ultimately bringing about the downfall of Acheampong on 5th July, 1978, and the restoration of multi-party democratic rule to the country in 1979.
During the era of the PNDC military dictatorship in the 1980s, Akufo-Addo was very prominent in the activities of the Ghana Bar Association, which courageously led the fight for the restoration of constitutional, democratic rule to the country.
When the veteran nationalist, Atakora Gyimah, founded the Danquah-Busia Memorial Club in Kumasi, Akufo-Addo became Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Club. Akufo-Addo traveled the length and breadth of Ghana to establish branches of the Club, in a grassroots style for which he is known. This Club eventually transformed into local organs of the NPP after the ban on party politics was lifted, prior to the elections of 1992.
His nationwide popularity was further enhanced when, as the first National Organiser of the party and Campaign Manager of the first NPP flag bearer, he traveled across the country preaching the NPP message of hope, freedom and development.
As the spokesperson for the Alliance for Change (AFC), another formidable single-purpose political umbrella group, Nana led the inspirational drive that induced a record half a million people to demonstrate in the streets of Accra and Kumasi against the NDC‘s harsh economic policies. Yet, when some people tried to convince him to use the AFC’s organisational structures and popularity to form a new “youthful and radical” political party, Akufo-Addo was among those who resisted, arguing that the AFC was set up as a single-purpose vehicle, which served its purpose by showing the masses that the Rawlings regime was not invincible. He stayed true to the NPP, a tradition 60 years in the making.
Nana Akufo-Addo is arguably Ghana’s most successful Foreign Minister. The country’s international reputation has grown, debt relief, foreign aid and investment have reached record heights, and Ghana is once again seen as the shining star of Africa. He put flesh on President Kufuor’s concept of “Economic Diplomacy” with his masterful negotiation skills, leading to Ghana’s multi-billion dollar debt relief packages, financing for projects such as the Bui Dam, and the Millennium Challenge Account, to name but a few. Nana is highly respected and recognised throughout the world, and ready to govern from day one.
Under his tenure as the Foreign Minister, Ghana earned international recognition and was:
* elected by her peers to occupy a non permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2006-2007
* elected in 2004 as one of the 15 pioneer members of the AU Peace and Security Council
* elected with a record vote of 183/191 to the UN Human RightsCouncil
* elected as a pioneer member of the UN Peace-Building Commission
* elected to the AU Chairmanship.
In 1996, he ran for Member of Parliament and has served as a three-term Member of Parliament for Abuakwa, now Abuakwa South.
Akufo-Addo has distinguished himself with pervasive, captivating and analytical debates and with his constructive voting on important issues. He sponsored new legislations in Parliament, including the Domestic Violence Bill, the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, and the law that set up the National Reconciliation Commission.
Top Sports Man
Akufo-Addo is a non-smoker and a teetotaler. He was a great sportsman, who still trains regularly on the treadmill and goes for early morning walks with his wife, Becky. He boxed as a boy. As a young man, Nana played football in the university soccer team at Legon . He also played alongside Edward Boateng, Anue Cofie and Jones Attuquayefio for the Real Republikans.
Indeed, in his school days at Lancing College, UK, Nana was famously featured in the Times newspaper of London as one of the promising school-boy soccer stars of the era. It is said that his mother flipped when she read it: “we took you to school to learn, not to play!”
He was later chosen by the legendary Ohene Djan, the then Director of the Central Organisation of Sports (COS), as Administrative Secretary of the Real Republikans. Nana also plays cricket and squash. He has been a national champion in squash.
He is a life long supporter of Kumasi Asante Kotoko FC , Real Madrid FC and Tottenham Hotspurs FC.
Leadership positions held:
* General Secretary of the People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ) (1977-78)
* Vice President, Greater Accra Regional Branch of Ghana Bar Association (1989-91)
* President, Greater Accra Regional Branch of Ghana Bar Association (1991-96)
* Member, General Legal Council (1991-96)
* Member, Legal Committee of Ghana Bar Association (1991-96)
* Member, General Council of Ghana Bar Association (1991-96)
* founder and first Chairperson, Ghana Committee on Human and Peoples Rights
* Member, National Council and National Executive Committee of New Patriotic Party (NPP) (1992 – )
* 1992, 1996 and 2000 NPP parliamentary candidate for Abuakwa constituency
* Chairperson, NPP Internal Affairs Committee (1996)
* Chairperson, NPP Legal & Constitutional Affairs Committee (1996-2000)
* Secretary, NPP Political Committee (1992-96)
* Secretary, 1996 NPP Policy Advisory Committee
* NPP Member of Parliament for Abuakwa constituency (1997-2001) (2001-2005)
* NPP Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South constituency (2005-2009)
* Chairperson, Parliament’s Standing Committee on Subsidiary Legislation (1997-2001)
* Ranking Minority Member on Parliament’s Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs (1997-2001)
* Minority Spokesperson on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (1997-2001)
* Spokesperson of the Alliance for Change (AFC), broad based political pressure group (1995-96)
* Chairperson, DHL (Ghana) Ltd (1984-2001)
* Chairperson, Kinesic Communications Co. Ltd, publisher of the independent newspapers, “The
Statesman” and “The Weekend Statesman” (1991-2001)
* Attorney General (2001-2003)
* Member, Judicial Council (2001-2003)
* Member, General Legal Council (2001-2003)
* Member, Board of Legal Education (2001-2003)
* Chairperson, Legal Service Board (2001-2003)
* Member, Ghana Investors Advisory Council (2001-2003)
* Member, Ghana Aids Commission (2001-2003)
* Minister for Foreign Affairs (April 2003-July 2007)
* Honourary Fellow, Legon Hall, University of Ghana
* President, United Nations’ Security Council (2006)
* Chairperson, AU Executive Council (2007).
Cabinet positions held:
* Attorney-General (February 2001 to March 2003)
* Minister for Foreign Affairs (April 2003 to July 2007)
Some of his achievements as Attorney-General include
* initiating the reform of a legal system battered by years of military dictatorship
* prosecuting a myriad of corruption cases against officials of his government and the previous
* initiating the process for the establishment of the new Commercial Court
* establishing the Business Law Division of the Ministry of Justice
* assisting in accelerating the establishment of the Fast Track High Courts piloting the repeal of the
Criminal Libel Law through Parliament
* shepherding the passage of the National Reconciliation Act (Act 611) through Parliament and
establishing the National Reconciliation Commission
* promoting the enactment of the Domestic Violence Bill
As Foreign Minister, Akufo-Addo
* was very instrumental in resolving armed conflicts in Liberia and Guinea Bissau
* played a leading role as a member of the International Working Group (IWG) tasked with restoring
peace to troubled Cote d’Ivoire
* presided over the United Nations (UN) Security Council that took the decision to halt the Israeli
incursions into Lebanon in 2006
* chaired the African Union (AU) Executive Council’s Ministerial Committee of 15 that created the
famous “Ezulwini Consensus”- Africa’s common position on all aspects of ongoing UN reforms
* chaired the Executive Council of the AU for the Grand Debate on Union Government at the Accra
Summit in July 2007
* convinced the European Union, as Chairperson of the AU Executive Council, to reconvene the
EU-AU summit after 4 years off due to Europe’s hard line position on the Zimbabwean question. He
famously told EU leaders in Brussels in a firm but diplomatic manner, “You can’t pick and choose
which African countries to negotiate with at a summit,” paving the way for the Lisbon summit in
Nana Akufo-Addo is married to Rebecca Akufo-Addo (nee Griffiths-Randolph). They have five daughters and a grandson. They are devout Christians who regularly attend the Ridge Church, Accra.