Rebranding Nana Addo, A Fruitless Exercise?
Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, the 2016 flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party is a well-known personality in Ghana’s politics.
Nana Addo claimed to be an astute Lawyer, is known by several hundreds in the legal fraternity but many hardly remember any outstanding case he has won or handled successfully.
Nana Addo as a businessman is also known within the courier and construction consulting services but he has over the past three decades as a political activist.
Nana Addo as a Socialite is equally a non-negotiable fact, mainly as a result of the status of his father, Edward Akufo-Addo, who served briefly as President from August 31st, 1970 to 13 January 1972.
Unfortunately for the politician Nana Addo, many Ghanaians after carefully following his pronouncements and actions, bad testimonies about his real personality has been twice rejected in his bid to become President.
His close associates know NPP’s bitter loss in the 2008 elections was largely because Ghanaians don’t want him as their leader.
Prior to the 2008 elections the Nana Addo brand was one of arrogance. And he carried that air of a bourgeoisie, who had assumed the status of an heir apparent to the Kuffuor regime.
His posture on issues at the time depicted a very powerful person that sought to introduce aristocracy to his presidential bid. He wore suits to campaign rallies and always had his signature handkerchief in his left sleeve of his usual white shirts.
The 2008 campaign era was awashed with news of his alleged bouts with smoking marijuana which the WIKILEAKS later confirmed.
There were also issues related with his bad temperaments that was also captured in the Wikileaks and later confirmed by prominent personalities like NPP’s Nana Kofi Koomson who owns the Chronicle newspaper who said Ghana cannot be safe under a Nana Addo Presidency and business magnate Asumah Banda who said recently that Nana Addo cannot be President.
The issue of Nana Addo surrounding himself with people linked with Cocaine scandals like Amfo Kwarkye and Raymond Amankwa who had been convicted in cocaine related cases, interspersed with the hullabaloo that characterized the saga of the MV Benjamin missing 77 parcels of cocaine that vanished from the very glare of security agencies, the infamous arrest of the then sitting NPP Member of Parliament for Nkoranza North, Eric Amoateng in the US for smuggling heroine to the USA, among other Cocaine busts in the country.
The then opulent display of wealth by Ministers and appointees, looting of state lands by appointees and party apparatchiks all added up to spell doom for Nana Addo and the NPP in 2008 which contributed to their exit.
The Nana Addo image challenge obviously became a big issue for the NPP again in 2012, which required rebranding.
The late Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, may his soul rest in peace, was to lead the creation of a new brand for Nana Addo.
At a certain meeting that was held in Accra, it was resolved that Nana will have to try hard to smile at all times with his teeth showing.
It was a rare phenomenon during the previous election. He was also to appear more in local smocks and traditional Ghanaian wear than in his suits because the Ghanaian electorate according to the advise, could not identify well with his aristocratic foreign style.
Again that meeting took issues with Nana Addo’s height, and even resolved not to crowd their campaign podium with taller people, since he always appeared ‘overshadowed on the stage. He was also to constantly wave at the crowd and as much as possible shake hands and hug people no matter how they ‘appeared’
(This remains Nana Addo’s nemesis till date)
In addition of all these, Nana Addo was steer clear of any “militant” statements that will seek to reestablish his previous stereotyped posture.
Unfortunately, it was in the midst of that process of rebranding that Nana Addo rather made his infamous “ALL DIE BE DIE” statement.
The comment which was vehemently defended by his lieutenants, opened the floodgates for leading members of the NPP to follow suit with their tribal bigotry, and hate speeches that I cannot repeat here, earning the NPP and Nana Addo another reputation of a rowdy lot, thereby culminating in another defeat for Nana Addo and the NPP in 2012 .
The threatening and volatile comments by MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, Former Finance Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, former Youth Organizer, Anthony Karbo, Sammy Awuku, former deputy Interior Minister, Nana Obiri Boahene, Ashanti regional Chairman of the NPP Antwi Boasiako who is also known as Chairman Wontumi and FF Anto’s recent threat on President Mahama are just but few.
After Nana Addo badly lost in his second attempt in 2012, he resorted the Supreme Court to seek redress.
Nana Addo and his NPP never conceded defeat and nearly plunged Ghana into turmoil. NPP thugs assembled at the Obra Spot to protest the election results declared by the Electoral Commission.
Journalists were beaten and equipment destroyed at his Nima residence, suspected NDC supporters were attacked, cars including police and state properties vandalized.
But for the tactical approach by the Ghana Police, Military and other intelligence shared with the international community, NPP would have plunged Ghana into Civil War.
The fires that engulfed the markets and the general scare in town was worrying.
They failed but the election petition case that dragged for nearly nine months, compelled businesses and investors to hold their plans which virtually brought the economy to a standstill.
Today, many are those who tout Nana Addo’s credentials as being tolerant and peace loving and so Ghanaians should applaud him.
But I thought as an astute Lawyer and an authority in Legal matters, coupled with his three terms as a Law maker, the least Nana Addo could do was just what he did and nothing worse.
Because I don’t want to believe that Nana Addo with all that Ghana has bestowed to him and his family will stoop so low to plunge this country into some form of conflagration or inferno! Not in my wildest dream.
The constitution of Ghana enjoins all Ghanaians including Nana Addo to be subject to it, and no one person is credited with the powers to subvert the constitution at any given time whimsically and capriciously.
Nana Addo nor any other person cannot and should not consider ever to derail the course of the democratic dispensation we have chosen to chart.
No Ghanaian owes anybody a ‘Thank You’ for abiding by the constitution of Ghana, we are all equal before the law.
Sorry for digressing a bit longer. Again Nana Addo lost in 2012 with a posture that was reminiscent of an intolerant person.
Fast forward to 2016 and antecedents preceding the December 7th elections are pointing to the same direction vis a vis the previous two elections, Nana Addo’s intolerance has once again popped up.
This time round, it is against his own elected party executives. Nana Addo cannot tolerate any dissenting view from anybody especially within his NPP party.
The suspension of three key executive personnel of the NPP and the wanton ostracizing of Allan supporters in the Party’s central activities has made Nana Addo a cult figure that one must worship at all cost or get ready to be consumed by his loyalist sharks.
The intolerance levels have reached a crescendo where the Kuffuor Legacy is not respected anymore. Party finances are only managed by hoots of Nana Addo without recourse to laid down finance procedures prescribed by their own Party’s constitution.
Alleged duplicity of functions by Nana’s favorites and the opening of surrogate accounts to run Nana’s expenditure as alleged by some known NPP activists for which a committee headed by Nana Ohene Ntow was set up to investigate, the outcome of it which till today has not been made public.
Nana today superintends over a divided party, with disillusioned members, supporters and sympathizers. He leads a weak structure with fragments and factions all over the place, making the 2016 contest unattractive to his own party financiers let alone commit funds to support him.
Some pundits are of the view that a repentant Nana Addo will lead a crusade to apologize to the NPP’s suspended leaders, Messrs Paul Afoko, Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe and reinstates them as a form of reconciliation to restore some sanity in the Executive structure of their party, but the intolerant Nana Addo will never “stoop that low”. Dr Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe, Dr Wereko Brobbey have been silenced. Former Chief of Staff during the Kufuor administration, Kwadjo Mpiani was attacked and Nana Addo never condemned it.
One will be quick to ask, where are the Dan Botwe’s, Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu’s, Mathew Opoku-Prempeh’s, Sai-Kwofie’s, Naa Torshie’s, Dr Akoto- Osei’s etc. around Nana Addo? Is it another case of ” our king has gone naked”? Well your guess is as good as mine.
Nana Addo is a feared personality in the NPP. Earlier this year, a former Spokesperson of then President Kufuor, Andrew Awuni was blunt, that he has hijacked the party and it will soon crush.
All efforts to rebrand Nana Addo over the years have only been resisted by just one character traits which all four categories of the Nana Addo’s brand described elsewhere in this write up, underscore the different eras of various attempts to create a new image but so far nothing has changed and it doesn’t appear to me that anything is about to change in Nana Addo. “Suban te t3 nyins3n, wo twe wo mu taan a ebe puie” to wit, ” character is akin to pregnancy, it will pop out by all means”
PLACING HIM IN SHEEPS SKIN HASN’T WORKED AND WONT CONVINCE THOSE WHO SEE THINGS UNFOLDING UNDER HIS SLEADERSHIP.
This country risks an administrative crises under a Nana Addo government, owing to these plethora of issues bothering on his intolerant character. Ghanaians must show interest in the individual personality traits of their leaders and take steps to elect leaders who possess the skill to work with people from diverse backgrounds regardless of their creed, race, tribe, religious orientations etc, in order to foster a cohesive society amid our diversity.
I will therefore, humbly recommend John Dramani Mahama to anyone who gets the opportunity to read this piece , to re-elect him one more time as President of the Republic of Ghana to maintain the peace we are currently enjoying based on his demeanor in dealing with Ghanaians, our neighbours and the entire international community. We owe this to posterity.
By: Kojo Adu-Asare