In his interaction with party faithfuls at the Centre for National Culture in Kumasi last Friday, the man who continues to keep the NPP in opposition, Nana Akufo-Addo tried unsuccessfully to dismiss claims by his critics that he is too old to become president of Ghana.
At age 73 years, it is quite surprising that Nana Addo would doubt his critics, when he is aware that, the retirement age in Ghana is pegged at 65 years. How does Nana Addo convince delegates, and for that matter, Ghanaians that, a 73 year old is still a young man? I hope Nana Addo is not trying to challenge or deceive nature.
What is making Nana Addo’s case worse is the comparison he drew between Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, where he claims the Ivorian leader, Alassane Ouattara has brought inflation into single digit. He asserts; “There are some people going round, and claiming I am too old for the job but my Doctors have given me a clean bill of health. I am fit and prepared to take on the task of this nation”. He continues; “As we speak, Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara is 72, two years older than me, but go and see the work he is doing in Cote D’ Ivoire within three years of being in office”.
Personally, I don’t see the logic in Nana Addo’s comparison, knowing very well that the two countries are different, and that, what the Ivorian electorates want may be different from their Ghanaian counterparts. If President Quattara is 72 years and came to office three years ago, it is self-admission that, President Quattara was voted into office at age 69 years. Would Nana Addo too be 69 years by December 2016 when Ghanaians go the polls? Again, if old age is what Ghanaians need to put the economy on track, what is Dr. Bawumia’s business as a running-mate? Is Dr. Bawumia also 73 years? Both Obama and David Cameron are below 50 years. Is Quattara doing better than them? What about the oldest president in Africa, Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Is he also doing better just because he is old? Probably, the only consolation I got from Nana Addo’s age defence was that, this time around he never tasked Ghanaians to go and ask Ghanaian women to test his fitness level as he did some time ago.
For some of us, it is high time Nana Addo was told in the face that he is neither helping himself nor the NPP, a party he claims to love. His attempt to seek the NPP’s flag-bearership position for the fourth consecutive time since 1998, vis-a-vis his failure to win power for the party gives credence to the fact that, Nana Addo is being over-shadowed by over-ambition, greedy, and selfishness. What did Nana Addo fail to do in 2008, and 2012 that he wants to do in 2016? Was he not older than the late Prof. John Mills in 2008? Was he not older than Candidate John Mahama in 2012? So, why couldn’t he win over those candidates, if age was not a factor considered by the Ghanaian electorate?
To most Ghanaians, especially the intellectuals, age is just a number. However, these same people, together with, Nana Addo’s supporters have forgotten that age has been a major determinant of the presidency in Ghana. In 1960, for instance, the 47 year old Kwame Nkrumah beat the 63 year old J.B. Danquah to become Ghana’s first leader. Similarly, Dr. Busia at age 54 years was the favourite against the 64 year Gbedema. In 1979, the 46 year old Dr. Limann beat the 63 year old Victor Owusu. In the 4th Republic, the electorates have chosen 45 year old Rawlings against older candidates like Prof. Adu Boahen and Kufuor. Mahama was 54 years old when he beat Akufo-Addo, then 69 years in the year 2012. Can’t the NPP delegates see the voter psychology in Ghana, and make a better political decision?
Just last week, former president Kufuor was on Multi TV personality profile show and he had this to say; “In any profession, 70 years might be the right time to retire”. And this is a man who handed over power after serving two terms (8 years) as president of Ghana. Similarly, the Most Rev Palmer-Buckle, in reading his tribute to the late P.V. Obeng advised people to slow down in their work schedule, because to him, after 60 years, every day is a bonus. Doesn’t Nana Addo have ears to listen to these two important personalities in Ghana? History tells us that the oldest candidate ever elected to rule Ghana was Prof. John Mills. He was 64 years in 2008, and is on record as being ‘forced’ by his party people to jog at the tarmac at Kotoka International Airport to prove his fitness. Unfortunately, Mills was the only president who could not complete his first term in office. This is a great lesson to Nana Addo and his advisors.
In winding up, I would plead with Nana Addo to kick against any form of advice that urges him to contest the 2016 elections. If even such piece of advice would come from his personal doctor, wife, family member or friend, Nana Addo should be bold to tell them that, enough is enough. The soul might be willing, but the body is weak. For some of us, Nana Addo needs an everlasting life to build the NPP and Ghana in a different capacity and not as president. He must step down to prolong his life. The fact that Nana Addo thinks he is intellectually, physically, emotionally and psychologically fit and sound at age 73 does not mean that Ghanaians could believe what he says and vote for him. Let’s replace him at the Congress before it is too late.
God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!