Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 2012 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), on Wednesday picked an award as Ghana’s most influential personality for the year 2013.
Nana Akufo-Addo became the first politician to win the award instituted by eTV Ghana, a private television station, which seeks to recognize Ghanaians who are making great impact in society.
The NPP’s 2008 and 2012 flagbearer beat the likes of President John Dramani Mahama, who was languishing at the 7th position, Dr. Mensa Otabil, Founder and General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church, Justice William Atuguba, the presiding judge of the election petition hearing and Anas Aremyaw Anas, an ace investigative journalist.
The most influential personality of the year was selected by viewers of the television station.
Previous award winners were Roland Agambire of rlg Communications for 2012, Joseph Siaw Agyapong of Jospong Group of Companies for 2011 and Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson for 2010.
According to eTV, other nominees apart from Nana Akufo-Addo were the National Chief Imam Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, Black Stars Coach Kwasi Appiah, former President John Agyekum Kufuor, NPP Vice Presidential Candidate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, former Attorney-General and anti corruption crusader Martin A.B.K. Amidu, Prince Kofi Amoabeng of UT Bank and former President Jerry John Rawlings.
The rest were Rev. Fr. Campbell, Manasseh Azure Awuni, a journalist, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, Osei Kwame ‘Despite’, Roland Agambire and Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams.
Nana Addo, in an acceptance speech stated, “I understand what earned me this award is the now famous election petition and my reaction to the majority verdict of the Supreme Court, a reaction which helped reinforce the peace and stability of Ghana…Obviously, I would have preferred to get this prestigious award under happier circumstances.”
He noted that Ghanaians were currently in dire need of inspirational leadership, one guided by the needs of the next generation, not the next election.
The former Foreign Minister believed the kind of leadership espoused by the John Mahama government was a clear departure from the aspirations of the leaders of the now defunct United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC).
“When 67 years ago, George Grant, J.B. Danquah, R.S. Blay, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, Ebenezer Ako Adjei, Cobinna Kessie, William Ofori-Atta, Edward Akufo-Addo and the others formed the UGCC of most blessed memory as the vehicle in the struggle for independence, they envisaged a just and equitable country.”
He continued, “Their aspirations were to build a free, modern and prosperous nation. I have no doubt at all in my mind that when Kwame Nkrumah stood on the podium at the Old Polo Grounds that night of independence shouting himself hoarse with ‘freedom, freedom, freedom,’ present day Ghana is not reaping the fruits of the freedom that he envisaged.”
The former NPP flagbearer, who intends to contest for the position again said, “We shall know that the country is on the right path when the young people see their future here in Ghana and are influenced by a political leadership that takes decisions based on the greater good.”
He stated that those in positions of leadership did not always realize the effect of what they say or do on the events and lives of the people.
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, “our people are yearning for inspired leadership and it is time we close our ranks as a people and unite in the singular purpose of developing our nation. Throughout history, it is when things are at their most difficult that there has been the need for great leaders.”
Earlier, Nana Kobina Nketia V, the Omanhene of Esikado, Chairperson for the occasion, said the word ‘influence’ did not mean power or noisemaking.
He said the word in its essence meant someone whose contributions shape society for the good of all humanity, and therefore commended the award winners.
Ken Ashigbey, Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group Limited, in a keynote address, averred that the country had been mostly let down by the elites.
He said patriotism and hard work had been relegated to the background, with no one questioning the source of monies acquired by the youth.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson