It has been a long time coming for His Excellency Nana Akuffo Addo in his ambition and journey to becoming the President of Ghana.
However, his strategic, considerate, and strong leadership during the pandemic earned him the extra projection and won him an extra space in the hearts of Ghanaians.
Fellow Ghanaians, this is not an ordinary article. In today’s piece, we will be taking a look at the profile of the first gentleman of the country and what his life has to teach us.
It would seem that His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo was born to become who he is today. This is in consideration of the kind of family and line of succession from which he hails.
He was born to a family of royals and influential politicians. He was born on the 29th of March, 1944, in Swalaba, Accra. His parents were Edward and Adeline Akuffo-Addo. His father started as a lawyer and eventually occupied the office of the Chief Justice of Ghana. This was in 1966. From 1970 to 1972, he became the non-executive President of Ghana.
He was also a chairman of the Constitutional Commission from 1967 to 1968.
His maternal grandfather was Nana Sir Ofori Atta, a member of the Governor of the then Gold Coast. This was before Ghana gained its independence. His uncles are Kofi Asante Ofori Atta and William Ofori Atta.
As though that is enough, he is also related to J.B Danquah, a member of The Big Six, as a grandnephew.
Anyone who listens to the president will immediately realise the unique aura surrounding his delivery and presentations. And they wouldn’t be wrong. Coming from such an elite family, he received some of the best education.
He was started in primary in Adabraka, at the Government Boys School. He transitioned from there to Rowe Road School. He would later go to England to pursue his O-level and A-level certifications at Lancing College in Sussex. In 1962, he joined New College in Oxford to study Philosophy, Economics, and Politics.
He returned to Ghana that same year. He taught at Accra Academy for some time and left to continue his education. He went on to obtain a degree in Economics at the University of Legon two years later.
Going back to England sometime later, he trained as a lawyer at the Inner Temple. He went through the unique law-training system called the Inns of Court at the institution. In this system, students were made to witness active court sessions to take notes and observe proceedings. If you failed to attend a required number of sessions and dinner events as a student, you could lose your opportunity to be called to the bar.
After completing the training, Nana Akuffo-Addo would emerge as a prolific lawyer. The English Bar called Nana Akuffo Addo to the English bar in 1971 and the Ghanaian bar in 1975.
In an interview with Kojo Yankson on his 72nd birthday celebration on Joy TV, he revealed the circumstances under which he decided to become a lawyer. Due to the great examples surrounding him in terms of career goals, his father being a lawyer for one, he decided to become one. However, upon discussion with his father, he was encouraged to read Economics instead.
While he treads that road for a bit, he recounts a time in his life which solidified his resolve to become a lawyer. He joined a court session one fateful day to witness the proceeds of a prevailing case at the time. His father was the chief justice then. Seeing how both the prosecuting and defending lawyers presented their cases, how they expressed confidence and had a command over their knowledge and craft spelt an ideal vision for him. He immediately knew this was what he wanted to do.
A significant move marked the start of Nana Akuffo Addo’s political journey. It was characterised by his association with the People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice in the late 1970s. He was also a part of a group of elites who came together to form a revolutionary group called Alliance for Change. In 1990 he formed Ghana’s Committee on Human and People’s Rights, a civil organisation.
These movements had similar objectives of advocating against and restricting unfavourable proposals and policies such as those of the late General Acheampong, former president Jerry John Rawlings, and others.
He became a member of the 2nd parliament, representing the Abuakwa Constituency. He continued as a member of parliament a consecutive number of times after that.
After competing with John Agyekum Kuffour for presidential candidacy in the New Patriotic Party in 1998, the latter would emerge victorious in becoming president two years later. However, the air of peace and understanding between the two colleagues could be seen as Nana Akuffo Addo became Kuffour’s chief campaign manager during the elections of that year.
He became the first Attorney General and Minister for Justice when Kuffour became president. Later, he was transitioned to occupy an office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Eight years later, Nana Akuffo Addo would finally get a chance to contest for the presidential seat once more after winning at the primaries. He “battled” for victory against former presidents Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama in 2008 and 2012, respectively. These were in closely contested runs.
Finally, in 2016, branding himself as a beacon of hope for the Ghanaian populace, he rode on the promises of economic stability and increased living standards for the people to win their confidence. But, unfortunately, former President John Dramani lost to him in that election. Since then, he has ruled as the first gentleman of the land through the 2020 elections till the present.
The current Ghanaian President of “Fellow Ghanaians” fame has achieved major and significant strides in his leadership. One of his significant achievements has been sustaining a long-term marriage to the daughter of a past Speaker of Parliament of Ghana, Jacob Hackenburg Griffiths-Randolph. His marriage to the first lady, Rebecca Akuffo Addo, has seen the birth of five wonderful children; Edwina Nana Douka Akufo-Addo, Valerie Obaze, Gyankroma Funmi Akufo-Addo, Yeboakua Akufo-Addo, and Adriana Dukua Akufo-Addo.
Outside of this feat, some of his other very prominent achievements include:
- Establishing the Free SHS and TVET education policy
- The employment of some 100,000 graduates in the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) program
- Setting 76 companies in operation under four years in his one district one factory initiative
- Leading Ghana to exit the IMF successfully
- Facilitated the creation of the Ghana Card
- Saw to the creation of new regions for the country to answer a decade-long call and strategic move for development.
- Implemented the One Constitution One ambulance policy
- Restored teacher and nursing training allowances.
- Took responsibility for the payment of BECE and WASSCE registration fees for candidates
- Partook in the signing of the UNAIDS Public letter on People’s Vaccine, which called for the all-inclusive reach of the COVID-19 vaccine to the world.
These are to mention but a few.
Awards & Honours
The world at large has collectively acknowledged and shown appreciation for the outstanding leadership exhibited by Nana Akuffo Addo in his administration. Some of the few leadership recognition awards include:
- He was presented with an award for Exemplary Leadership in June 2018 by the Whitaker Group.
- He was presented with the 2018 Outstanding Leader’s Award to recognise regional, diplomatic, and economical leadership in Africa by the U.S. Africa Business Centre of the United States Chamber of Commerce.
- In 2018 he received a Governance Leadership Award.
- Nana Akufo-Addo was honoured at the fourth Ghana Hotels Association Awards, held on 20 January 2020, for the excellent organisation and running of the year of return initiative.
- In 2016, he received a Mother Theresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice.
His Excellency Nana Akuffo Addo has expressed his political philosophy as persistence, watchfulness, and communal victory. This has been seen in countless moments in his administration as President.
Acts such as his “be a citizen not a spectator” speech during his inauguration temporary wavering off water and electricity bills during the pandemic allowed Ghanaians to appreciate the heart of the man behind the portfolio.
Nana Akuffo Addo’s life teaches us to be as competitive as we are men of character. We are all encouraged to exhibit hope in leading our lives and that of others for united growth.