Editor's Note : Nana Akufo Addo is the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party for the 2016 Presidential Elections.
He delivered a speech at the party’s 15th Extraordinary Conference at Sunyani on Saturday, where he touched on a number of issues including the seeming factions within the party, the party’s 2016 campaign among others.
Nana Addo also said the suspension of some members of the party has been a “traumatic experience” for him.
Below is the full statement delivered by Nana AddoADDRESS OF NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, 2016 NPP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, AT THE 2015 EXTRAORDINARY NATIONAL DELEGATES’ CONFERENCE OF THE NPP AT CORONATION PARK, SUNYANI, BRONG AHAFO REGION, ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2015 ON: “NOW, THE HARD WORK”What a wonderful turnout today. This is just great.I paid, this morning, a courtesy call on Nana Bosome Asor Nkrawie II, Omanhene of Sunyani, and his elders, who received me very warmly and extended to all of you his best wishes for a peaceful and successful conference here on his soil of Sunyani.Between 3rd September and 12th October, barely 3 months ago, I went around the 10 regions of the country on what I called the ‘Rise and Build Tour’. I did so to touch base with our party members soon after the parliamentary primaries were held in most of the constituencies, in order to prepare them for next year’s campaign. What I saw convinced me that our party, the NPP, was in solid shape.Everywhere I went, I saw and met with enthusiastic and forward looking members and supporters of the party. I met and saw people who were not necessarily party members or even what you might call our traditional supporters. They were also enthusiastic and generous in their welcome.The message I got everywhere was the same: Ghanaians are looking up to the NPP to win the 2016 elections decisively and govern this country with honesty and competence, so that we can generate prosperity for the broad masses of our people. At every opportunity, I assured the people that the NPP would work hard to make us worthy of the trust being reposed in us.This year has been a tumultuous one for our party. We have made the front pages for all the wrong reasons; we have spent our energies fighting each other, instead of our opponents. It has been an anxious time for all who love our party and for many outside the party who see us as the best alternative to the disaster that is the current Mahama administration.We are ending the year with three senior elected officials and a handful of other officers having been suspended from office. I can’t find an easier way to tell you that this has been a traumatic experience for me personally. And I am very much aware of the heartache many of our supporters have been enduring.I honestly wish we had been able to find a less painful way of resolving the problems that have wracked our party. These past 12 months, I have participated in every attempt to resolve the differences at the Party HQ. It has been most frustrating that the efforts have not yielded the fruits we expected.I have spent most of my adult life in the politics of our party and it is not surprising that those who ascribe to the same beliefs have tended to be my friends, colleagues and acquaintances.This is not the time to try to dissect the events that have convulsed our party in the past year. It is enough to say that those who are my friends are not necessarily those who agree with my politics, and I have certainly never determined who I can or cannot work with on the basis of my politics.I have friends whose political beliefs I do not agree with. I have worked with people whose politics I do not like. During my years as a Member of Parliament, for example, I served on committees and worked with my political opponents and produced work that we can all be proud of and which has been for the good of our country.I have spent a lifetime trying to win over friends and foes alike with the force of argument. In my professional life as a lawyer, I earned my living employing the force of argument often in hostile atmospheres. I daresay I have no fear of argument or dissension; indeed, I thrive on healthy, vigorous debate.I have no choice; the law and politics, the two professions that have defined my life, demand and thrive on dissension. I have no fear of competition. I need not remind everybody that in 2007, the contest to become the NPP flagbearer was between 17 of us. And as much as I hate losing, I accept that, both in the law and politics, losing is always a possibility. I accept that possibility with the only caveat being all sides should play by the rules.I reject outright the malicious refrain that has been put about that there are people within the NPP that I cannot work with. I expect all members of the NPP to have the same goal. I expect that we all want our party to win the 2016 elections decisively; our parliamentary candidates to win the majority of seats in Parliament and our flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to become the President of Ghana.I expect and accept arguments on how we prosecute this agenda. I do not expect my point of view to be unchallenged, but I do not expect and do not accept that party members would do anything to jeopardize the goal we have set ourselves of winning the 2016 elections. I can work with everybody who shares this goal.I am saddened that the party has had to resort to suspensions, but I am fortified that our party structures have been shown to work. They have demonstrated that, indeed, the rule of law works in the NPP and that nobody, including myself, is above the Party or its laws. And that is how it should be. Nonetheless, it is important that the Party keeps in constant review the sanctions that have been imposed. And so, we can ask ourselves the question: can those who hold the work of the party’s organs in contempt be said to be true lovers of the party?We should not forget one thing. We are the heirs of the noblest and most enduring political tradition in Ghanaian politics. Our tradition has survived the deaths, detentions and exiles of the First Republic. It has survived the various military takeovers of our history. Out of it all, it has emerged as the most formidable political party in our country with the clearest message of freedom, progress and prosperity. And in the 8 year government of John Agyekum Kufuor, it has given our country the best government in the Fourth Republic, if not in the entire history of Ghana. We are not about to throw away this proud heritage, and no machinations are going to weaken us.I am saying and appealing to all of you, from the very bottom of my soul, that the time has now come to turn our united and concerted attention to the business of winning the 2016 election.I have consulted widely and I have put a lot of thought into deciding how to prosecute the campaign. The campaign will be a fully decentralised one, with the grassroots structures of our party, at the polling station, electoral area, constituency and regional levels in the forefront. The National Campaign Co-ordinating Committee, the directing body of the campaign, will issue, shortly, directives on the full composition of these structures. It is time to set to work. But please let me emphasize that the campaign is the responsibility of all of us.As I told a gathering of NPP members in London recently, this campaign is for all NPP members and NPP sympathizers. I told them and I know it to be true that often it is the unsung, unmentioned, unrecognized people who do the real work. I know it to be true that the real work is done by those who never sit by the flagbearer, or are photographed with the flagbearer or are said to be around the flagbearer. I know it to be true that the real campaign is done by those who do not expect to be reimbursed for bus fares or ever even wear an NPP T-shirt.I am counting on all members and supporters of our party to work hard and help take the NPP message to every Ghanaian. To my compatriots, I say if you have had enough of being taken for granted, if you have had enough of being embarrassed and impoverished by an uncaring, incompetent and dishonest government, and if you have had all you can tolerate of broken promises, then I ask you to join us to rid our nation of this government.We know that, despite their abject failure, the Mahama administration is counting on the shameless exploitation of ethnicity, negative propaganda, lies and outright fabrications to help them retain power, a power they, clearly, do not deserve, but need in order to continue with the policy of “create, loot and share”. It is our duty to work tirelessly next year to lay bare the facts of widespread corruption, manifest incompetence and increased poverty before the Ghanaian people, so that they can have no doubt about the compelling necessity of saying goodbye to John Mahama and his government, no matter the juicy inducements that are going to be offered to them.After seven years of this Mahama/NDC government, Ghana is in a sad state, and in every area of our national life, we are going backwards. But believe me, we do have the talent, the expertise and the energy to turn our country round. We have done it before. The economy the NPP inherited in the year 2001 was in a similar state. President John Agyekum Kufuor put an able team together and before very long, Ghana had become the success story of the continent. Akufo-Addo is going to do the same.This election is for the NPP to win. This Mahama/NDC government has nothing to campaign on. They have borrowed as if there will be no tomorrow and have mortgaged our future. They have used every infrastructure project they have undertaken to enrich themselves and impoverish Ghanaians. Every classroom and hospital they have built have been at twice or three times what it should cost, every kilometre of road they have built has been at an obscene cost and our country has become a byword for corruption.Ghana deserves much, much better. Ghanaians are anxious for change. Ghanaians, especially the youth, need to have hope again. We of the NPP have a good story to tell. I am ready and eager to lead us for that change. Together we will bring that change to Ghana. Together, we shall bring Ghana back to the path of progress and prosperity. Together, we shall fulfil the destiny of the Black Star of Africa. I charge us all, each and every one, to put aside the past. Today is the day that we come together with renewed hope and renewed force. This is our time. Let every son and daughter of the great Elephant Party join hands and let us Arise for Change!Thank you, and may the Almighty God bless our enterprise.Arise for Change. The battle is still the Lord’s.A small package for best wishes for the Season has been prepared for all constituency and regional delegates by the Director of the Fundraising Committee, Ken Ofori-Atta, and the National Treasurer, Kwabena Abankwa Yeboah, on my behalf.Afehyia pa, Afi oo Afi, Sanu mu da sabon sheykara, Esɛ nɛ mi looGod bless the NPP, Ghana and Mother Africa.