The 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party has stated that the quest to build a modern society for Ghana will depend largely on the citizens of Ghana accepting in equal measure the concepts of both individual liberty and individual responsibility and the authorities having the discipline and conviction to ensure that such an environment thrives without fear or favour.
Addressing an international conference of party members in Hamburg, Germany, at the weekend, Nana Akufo-Addo told his audience that for the 2012 campaign he remains committed to the substance of the vision he articulated in 2008, though emphasis may change to respond to prevailing circumstances.
The four thematic areas of his vision are basically about consolidating democracy, modernising society, transforming the economy and ensuring Ghana’s full engagement in the integration process of Africa.
However, the desired accelerated and inclusive development of Ghana, he argued, can only be possible under an environment where the people enjoy freedom and respond to the responsibilities that come with citizenship.
Ghana’s strife for development is best assured under the NPP because it is the only party that has remained consistent to its core beliefs and values over the last six decades and that those time-tested values and beliefs have proven to be the panacea for nation-building.
“First,” the NPP flagbearer said, “in terms of deepening democracy, I believe that a leader should stand for something. A party should stand for something. A leader should have values. A party should have values. We have and I have. Our values are about individual freedom and human dignity.”
But, Nana Addo reminded the NPP that core to the conservative values of the party is the responsibility of the individual, stressing, “freedom can too easily turn into the idea that we have the right to do whatever we want, regardless of the effect on others. That is not our belief.”
He continued, “For us, an equally important word is responsibility.”
He said the NPP way is to create a society where every Ghanaian has the opportunity to excel, by ensuring that access to quality education, healthcare and job opportunities are not determined by the circumstances of birth but by the responsible exploitation of the opportunities offered by society to the individual.
He summed the NPP way as, “We prefer a system of empowerment to the concept of entitlement as the means of developing the individual. A hand up, not a hand out. That is the NPP way.”
He commended Ghanaians abroad for exporting this inherent sense of responsibility to their host nations to global admiration.
“Ghanaians understand this fully, and that is why we are celebrated all over the world as responsible citizens. Personal responsibility; professional responsibility; civic responsibility; corporate responsibility; our responsibility to our family, to our neighbourhood, and to our country; our responsibility to behave in a decent and civilized manner; our responsibility to help others. That is what this party is all about,” he said.
Using himself as an example, the distinguished lawyer and renowned human rights advocate, said, “Thus, for every judgment I make, for every decision I take, I ask myself a basic question: does it encourage responsibility and discourage irresponsibility? Does it make us a more or less responsible society? This is because we will only be a strong society if we are a responsible society.”
Nana Addo criticised President Mills and his government for encouraging a culture of impunity rather than a society of responsibility.
“But what do we see under the Mills administration?,” Nana Addo asked and proceeded to answer: “Rampaging NDC activists attacking DCEs, party executives, public officials, especially those perceived to be NPP sympathizers, and recently, attacking and burning down their own party offices in Tamale. And the President makes excuses for them by saying that they are justifiably angry.”
To him, the government of President Mills was rolling back Ghana’s democratic gains. “This cannot be the society that we want to see in the 21st century, a society with a growing culture of impunity. In a modern society, dialogue and law are the means for addressing grievances.”
Nana Addo stressed further, “In a modern society, the rule of law is respected. The Judiciary and institutions of state set up to combat corruption are adequately resourced and strengthened so that they can do their work without fear or favour and ordinary citizens do not live in fear of arbitrary searches, arrests and seizures.”
Nana Addo praised the NPP and those who founded the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition for instilling in it strong principles of liberal democracy and democratic discipline.
“We are the harbingers of democracy,” he said of the NPP. “Democracy is like a planted tree: it cannot take hold if it is not watered, nurtured and protected. Democracy cannot endure if the leaders and the people are not committed to it; if they do not understand it, or if they are not sincere to its principles and values.”
He told his party members. “If we, of the NPP, are to vindicate the principled conviction of our founding fathers over 60 years ago that multiparty democracy is the best vehicle to enhance the dignity of every Ghanaian and the development of our society, then we must fight with all the weapons at our disposal to win the enduring war against poverty.”
He summed up what is required of every individual to build the desired modern society of Ghana, thus: “It takes dedication, determination, discipline and a collective sense of responsibility to build a great nation. That sense of responsibility must necessarily involve the growth of a public sector that responds to the needs of its citizens.”
The 3rd International Conference of the NPP took place at Hamburg from 9th-12th June. The conference ended with a joint-denominational church service in Hamburg, Sunday. The previous night saw the flagbearer and other high-powered members of the delegation addressing a packed town hall audience of Ghanaians in Hamburg.
The visiting delegation from Ghana included, Jake Obestebi-Lamptey, Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, Ambrose Derry, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Hackman Owusu Agyeman, Kennedy Agyepong, Otiko Djaba, Moctar Bamba, Perry Okudzeto, John Boadu, Sammy Awuku, Herbert Krapa, all ten regional chairpersons of the party and others.