Ghana's Nana takes 2nd shot at top job

2012-12-04 11:25
Nana Akufo-Addo. (File AFP)

Nana Akufo-Addo. (File AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Accra - Nana Akufo-Addo spent years campaigning against military regimes that once led Ghana and now, with democracy firmly in place, he is again running for president, a job that narrowly eluded him four years ago.

His rimless spectacles and full, round face are well known in this west African nation, with 'Nana', as he is commonly known, having previously been attorney general, foreign minister and presidential candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) he still leads.

In the 2008 polls, he fell just short of a first round win, taking 49.1% of the vote, then lost in the second round by about 40 000 votes to former president John Atta Mills, who died in July.

He will be seeking a different outcome in what are expected to also be tight elections on Friday.

Akufo-Addo, 68, has repeatedly called the current President John Dramani Mahama a "caretaker" leader, destined to serve only between Mills' death and inauguration day next year.

Born in the east into a prominent family - his father was Ghana's president when the job was a ceremonial post - Akufo-Addo earned a law degree in the UK and later worked in Paris, where he became fluent in French.

Between 1966 and 1992 Ghana was under military rule, aside from a few short-lived civilian governments, and Akufo-Addo gained fame for his battles against dictatorship, including political organising and fighting human rights cases in court.

Boss of rigorous intellect

Running for president is "a piece of cake compared with what [he's] done in the past", said Jermaine Nkrumah, former spoksperson of the NPP's US chapter, who knows Akufo-Addo through party work.

Yonny Kulendi, a former student and colleague at the firm of Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Company, described 'Nana' as a teacher and boss of rigorous intellect, who was capable of mesmerising a court with his oral arguments.

"He is probably one of the very few advocates in court who somehow can hold the courtroom spellbound and you hear a needle if it drops," Kulendi told AFP.

Despite his very public career, some say Akufo-Addo lacks a populist touch and that his professional manner has hampered his ability to connect with the average voter.

"What I always think is that [he] mirrors to me a certain painful truth about politics which is that you can be so public, and yet, be the least known. And that is Akufo-Addo," said Kulendi.

Analysts have characterised him as a broadly centre-right political thinker, with a clear faith in free markets, but more pragmatic than ideological.

The signature issue of his 2012 campaign is a pledge to provide free secondary school education, backed by revenue from Ghana's nascent oil industry.
Read more on:    nana akufo-addo  |  john mahama  |  john atta mills  |  ghana  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Amazing solar inventions!

Solar power is lighting up the world, and not just on rooftops anymore.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

There is a tendency to get too caught up in group dynamics and high expectations and ideals, that your own personal needs more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.