Nana Akufo-Addo, 66, is married to Rebecca Akufo-Addo (nee Griffiths-Randolph). They have five daughters and two grandchildren. They are devout Christians who regularly attend the Ridge Church, Accra.
Nana Akufo-Addo has stood for five national elections and came first in four of them - he has won 3 parliamentary elections, came first in one presidential election and suffered a very marginal defeat in the deciding run-off. He only needed a swing of less than 20,300 votes to win.
His predecessor as NPP Presidential Candidate, John Agyekum Kufuor, went through an almost similar experience. Mr Kufuor won two parliamentary contests (1969 and 1979), lost one presidential nomination in 1992, lost his first presidential election in 1996 (but without a run-off). The party renewed its faith in Mr Kufuor in 2000, where, this time, the better marketed Kufuor, won against a sitting Vice President. In 1996, like 2000, the NPP chose its flagbearer with less than 12 months to the general elections.
Akufo-Addo contested as NPP Presidential Candidate in 1998 for the first time and came second to J A Kufuor. In 1998, the new NPP National Officers were elected in August, just two months after that they held the National Congress to elect the 2000 flagbearer. Nana had just 2 months to campaign and competed against a candidate who got 39.60% in the 1996 presidential election, J A Kufuor. The cry was for ‘No Change.’ ‘No Change’ won. Nana understood and accepted the verdict of the delegates like a loyal and disciplined party man.
After the fierce contest, there were reports of Nana’s supporters being harassed and victimised. He wrote to the party chairman Odoi Sykes to investigate. Nana did not RESIGN. He did not threaten to RESIGN. He stayed loyal to the party he helped to form and build.
In 2000, Nana played a major role in Mr Kufuor’ presidential campaign.
From 2001 to 2007, as a Cabinet Minister, Nana served President Kufuor, the ruling party and country loyally and competently with distinction.
In the 2007 National Congress, Nana was competing against 16 others, most of whom were party heavyweights. Nana was also competing against the mighty influence of the presidency behind one of the candidates. Nana won. With the 16 others sharing the rest, Nana got 1,096 votes from the total of 2,293. It was a remarkable endorsement under the circumstances. He won on the slogan Ye Nim Wo Firi Titi.
He explains that his support within the party is as a result of party people identifying and appreciating his dedicated service to the party and the leadership qualities they believe he possesses. "It is not about age or who's turn it may be. David Cameron may be young but the Conservative Party in the UK recognises his contribution to the party ever since he left Oxford. He has also won elections, three times as MP and won the endorsement of the majority of his party members, with an electoral college about the size of what we have in the NPP today," says Nana Akufo-Addo.
On Obama, Nana Akufo-Addo believes that "the Obama phenomenon is deeper than his young age. His history in grassroots community work, record as three times legislator in the Illinois state senate and eventually winning an election as Senator in Washington before contesting and winning his party's primaries against a formidable candidate like Mrs Clinton."
The same, he says, can be said of Nicholas Sarkozy of France. "He was a councillor, similar to an Assemblyman at the young age of 23, Sarkozy was elected the mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine at the age of 26 and has continued to win election ever since. There is no magic to it than proving over a reasonable period of time your commitment to your party, your ability to win elections and your political leadership, " says Nana Akufo-Addo.
In the Dec 7, 2008 presidential race, Nana beat Prof Mills, who was contesting for the third time, with more than 102,000 votes. Nana got 49.13% of the total votes cast, placing him first but fell 74,000 votes short of the more than 50% needed. It was the best ever performance for a first time presidential candidate under the Fourth Republic. Nana had effectively less than six months to campaign.
In fact, Candidate Kufuor had four years to campaign as presidential candidate from 1996 before winning in 2000. Candidate Mills had eight years to campaign before winning by the slimmest of majorities in 2008. Candidate Akufo-Addo had less than one year to campaign as first time presidential candidate and, yet, fell just less than 0.5% short of the presidency.
In the Dec 28 run-off, while he got more votes than on Dec 7, the combined ‘Yere Se Sa Mu’ (Change) votes overtook Nana but by less than 0.5% - the smallest margin of defeat ever in Africa’s political history. In spite of the collective opposition call for ‘Change’, the 2008 election showed a split in the two parties’/two candidates’ share of the swing/floating/undecided votes.
Though NPP came first in the presidential race on Dec 7, by losing its parliamentary majority to the NDC, the NDC campaign message in the run-off was simple: ‘We have won Parliament. Now give us the Presidency.’
Nana Akufo-Addo has a history of winning against the odds: 35 years ago he fought from opposition to defeat a military regime. In 1996, the Rawlings regime was determined to keep him out of the legislature. They used money and macho men but Akufo-Addo and his loyal footsoldiers were ready for them. Contesting a parliamentary seat for the first time, Nana fought against guns, intimidation and vote-rigging to win his seat by beating the incumbent MP, Owuraku Amofa, with 28,526 votes (47.50%) against 20,173 (33.60%).
In the next election in 2000, Akufo-Addo proved that he grows from election after election. He won by a huge majority of 62.50%.
In 2004, Nana increased his margin of victory further to win his seat with 70% of the votes cast.
NANA’S CHILDHOOD Born March 29, 1944, in Swalaba, Accra, Nana was raised in Ga Maami (Accra Central) and in the Nima area of Accra. 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 (grand uncle) and William Ofori Atta (uncle). Edward Akufo-Addo, who became the third Chief Justice of Ghana and later ceremonial President of the Republic from 1969-72, was his father.
Nana 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 to study for his O- Level and A- Level examinations. He returned to Ghana in 1962 to teach at the Accra Academy before going to the University of Ghana in 1964 to read Economics. 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 and the Ghana Bar in 1975.
POLITICAL CAREERfighting for justice, liberty, democracy and prosperity
33 years ago, as a youth, aged 33, Nana Akufo-Addo became the General Secretary of the broad-based People’s 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. Nana Akufo-Addo had to go into exile after the referendum, when his life was in danger. But, from Europe, he could be heard constantly on BBC World Service and the rest fighting against the military rulers back in Ghana and calling for a return to democracy.
Like JB Danquah, BJ da Rocha, Peter Ala Adjetey and others before him, Nana used his law practice to champion the cause of human rights, rule of law, justice, freedom and democracy. He fought for the rights of the masses of Ghana. He could have made a lot of money working with top international law firm Coudert Freres in Paris- France from 1971 onwards. But, in 1975, he left Paris to return to Accra to fight for freedom and justice. He joined 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.
At the age of 39, Nana stopped President Hilla Limann from doing to Chief Justice Apaloo what Dr Nkrumah did to CJ Sir Arku Korsah, in the famous Tuffuor vrs Attorney-General case, when he stopped the sacking of Ghana’s Chief Justice by the President.
Some of the lawyers Nana who have benefitted from Nana’s tutelage, either directly or indirectly, Atta Akyea, Akoto Ampaw, Yoni Kulendi, Kwame Akuffo, Godfred Dame, Egbert Faibille, are the ones defending NPP people against NDC prosecutions and persecutions today.
What these excellent younger lawyers are doing today is to follow the freedom fighting footsteps of their mentor, Akufo-Addo. During the Third Republic, Akufo-Addo used the law courts to overturn some of the most arbitrary decisions of the AFRC regime, which were enjoying immunity under the Constitution. Three such cases, one of detention without trial and the others involving confiscated assets, were before the three judges who were later murdered on June 30, 1982 - Justices Cecilia Koranteng Addow, Poku Sarkodie and K. Agyapong. Akufo-Addo, was lucky. He 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 to avoid execution, once again. He returned to Ghana in less than 2 years to continue his courageous battles against dictatorship and human rights abuse.
In 1991, Akufo-Addo was the Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Danquah-Busia Memorial Club. He took the political risk and travelled 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.
In 1992, he became the first National Organiser of the New Patriotic Party.
He financed the first National Congress of the NPP in 1992 and more.
Nana became the Campaign Manager of the Party's first Presidential Candidate, Prof. Albert Adu Boahen, the man of courage who broke the culture of silence.
In 1992, he set up and financed the Statesman newspaper which became the mouthpiece of the NPP and took the fight to the NDC, especially after the NPP boycotted the 1993 Parliament. He continued to finance the party.
After the ‘Stolen Verdict’, which he helped to write, Akufo-Addo and the late Peter Ala Adjetey and a few others fought and won several battles against the NDC in the Supreme Court, including the right to access to GBC and the right to demonstrate without police permit.
In 1995, Nana led the “Kume Preko” demonstrations of the Alliance For Change (AFC), which sent more than a million people onto the streets. This shook the roots of the NDC and forever made Nana ‘NDC Enemy No. 1’
In 1996, he stood bumper to bumper and stopped the NDC/EGLE Party rigging machine and intimidation to become Abuakwa Member of Parliament (MP) and Minority Spokesman on Legal & Constitutional Affairs.
Akufo-Addo is a keen sportsman, who still trains regularly on the treadmill. His stamina for campaigning is legendary, campaigning sometimes from 8am to 2am in 2008. He does not drink alcohol. He does not smoke. He was an excellent footballer and played for the Real Republicans with Jones Attuquayefio, Anu Cofie, Edward Boateng and others. He was Ghana’s Squash Champion.
Akufo-Addo is a non-smoker. He does not drink alcohol. He was a great sportsman 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.
Age: Isn’t Akufo-Addo too old? 1. No. Article 62 of the 1992 Constitution says a person shall qualify for election as President of Ghana if he is citizen of Ghana, he is 40 years old or more and he is a person qualified to be elected an MP.
a. A youth must be younger than 40. None of the current NPP Presidential candidates is a youth.
b. Mills is the same age as Nana Alufo-Addo. Mills will be NDC candidate in 2012. President Mills was born on 21 July 1944. Nana Akufo-Addo was born on March 29, 1944. Does Mills look younger than Akufo-Addo? No!
c. Kufuor was 70 in 2008, but only the 1992 Constitution stopped him from running for a third term. Kufuor today is 72 and looks very strong and healthy.
d. Africa's first female head of state, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is 72, will stand for a second term in November 2011. She was born, 29 October 1938. Liberian constitution allows a two five-year presidential terms. Her announcement has received a major boost from US Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton. Her country needs her maturity, experience and wisdom to succeed.
e. Great leaders can be young or old. Tell us what you can do and not your date of birth. Can you win us power in 2012? Finished!
f. Ronald Reagan became US President at the age of 70 and retired in 1989 after his full two terms, aged 78. He is credited with rapidly expanding prosperity in America and ending the Cold War, by engineering the collapse of Communism.
g. Winston Churchill, arguably the most successful British Prime Minister of all time, the celebrated war time leader, came to power when he was already 65. But, what made him successful were not his age per se, but his experience and wisdom.
h. To defeat a sitting President, you need a candidate with serious experience and gravitas (seriousness). A person who has shown that he can beat Prof Mills. 2012 is not a chacha! Don’t vote for a candidate who wants to use 2012 to prepare for 2016.
i. Once in power, we need a President who can be effective and deliver on policies; we need a President who knows how the system works, knows how to get things done, and won't waste time taking the Government for Beginners class!
j. Nana has more Cabinet years of experience than any of the candidates.
k. Nana has more international/diplomatic experience than any of the candidates.
l. Nana has more years of political experience than any of the candidates.
m. Nana has more grassroots experience than any of the candidates.
n. Nana has sacrificed for the party than any of the candidates.
o. Nana has sacrificed for Ghana than any of the candidates.
p. Nana has more experience in fighting the NDC than any of the candidates
q. Nana Akufo-Addo has shown more courage to fight the NDC than any of the candidates.
r. Nana Akufo-Addo has proved from his days as a lawyer that he grooms the youth to be great leaders – e.g. Sophia Akuffo (a Supreme Court Judge), Afare Yeboah (of What Do You Know fame), Joyce Darko, Frank Davies, Alex Quaynor, Brookman Amissah, Philip Addison, Neils Lutterodt, Joe Ghartey (former Attorney-General), Ursula Owusu, Efua Ghartey, Atta Akyea, Akoto Ampaw, Yoni Kulendi and Kwame Akuffo.
s. In 2008, his running mate, Bawumia, was 44 years old, whose wife, Samira, was 27. His current team restates this fact – that he is wise, experienced, action-oriented visionary patriot, leading a team of dynamic, diverse, intelligent, innovative, young and experienced group of men and women from every corner of Ghana and the Diaspora who can’t wait to move Ghana forward.