One of Nigeria’s leading newspapers, Sunday Vanguard, has described Nana Akufo-Addo as a fighter for social justice, likening him to Nigeria’s late vociferous lawyer and human rights activist, Gani Fawehinmi.
The Sunday Vanguard’s Emmanuel Aziken, who hosted the two-time flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) when he visited Africa’s most populous country a few weeks ago recalled also Nana’s feat in repealing the Criminal Libel Law when he served as Attorney General under the Kufuor administration.
He spoke about energy and what the oil-rich country could learn from Ghana and vice versa among other subjects in the early April edition of the newspaper.
Statistics Don’t Lie
On the current situation in Ghana, he defended the gloomy picture he painted about the country stating that “the statistics are there. They are not my statistics. Make the investigations for yourself. It is difficult to massage figures; rate of interest, rate of inflation, deficit and all those things are not things that can be manufactured. They are there in the public domain. Of course, the normal thing is for the opposition to oppose and to criticise, and it is good. It keeps governments on their toes and, in itself, that exercise is good for the society. What is going on in the Ghanaian economy is not helpful for the future.”
On the energy crisis, he said, “We used to think that it was a Lagos problem, but is it also an Accra problem. We have something we call ‘dum sor-dum sor’, and that is blackout. Not long ago, Nigerians were saying Ghana had achieved uninterrupted power supply. It is not true. We have not managed very well, the bringing up of our gas deposits and generally the financing of the energy sector have proved difficult for this administration such that the development of the infrastructure that we need is not taking place. So you have a great of difficulties for our industries getting uninterrupted power supply, having a great deal of difficulties for domestic consumers; we are going through this process of load shedding and generally the situation at the energy front is very difficult and very difficult for the ordinary people of this country as well as the business community because not being able to function means the country is not functioning well.”
Learning From Ghana
On what Nigeria could learn from Ghana, he said, “I think the most important thing that we have been able to do in Ghana is to grow our democracy to the extent that twice in a decade, we have been able to supervise peaceful transfer of power between the two main contending parties, from the NDC to the NPP and from the NPP back to the NDC.”
He continued… “The two events in 2000 and 2008 have really given a big impetus to the development of our democracy and shown our people that is possible without violence, without intervention of soldiers to change government if the government in the view of the majority, is not going in the right way.”
Nigerians, he said, have not had that experience pointing out that it had been so far one way but that he hoped next time, this would happen in Nigeria.
He was quick to add however that “but please don’t make a headline that I am calling for a change of government, I am not. I am just saying that if you are asking what you can learn from Ghana, then I think that is the biggest lesson so far that Ghana can give and I think that is why people are talking about Ghana as a beacon of democracy.”
On what Ghana could learn from Nigeria, he said, “This may not be flattery to Nigeria, but I think that the most important thing that we can learn is how best to make sure that resources that we have in our country are used for the benefit of our people. Some of us still find it difficult to understand how come Nigeria, with all its wealth, oil and all that, the nation still has blackouts and these things that you know about.”