Profile: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is currently the President of Ghana. He has been in office since 7 January 2017. He previously served as Attorney General from 2001 to 2003 and as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2007 under the Kufuor-led administration.

He was born on March 29, 1944

Nana Addo first ran for president in 2008 and again in 2012, both times as the candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), but was defeated on both occasions by National Democratic Congress’ candidates: John Evans Atta Mills in 2008 and John Dramani Mahama in 2012 after the former’s death.

He refused to concede and went to court, the Supreme Court of Ghana affirmed John Dramani Mahama’s victory.

He was chosen as the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party for a third time for the 2016 general elections and this time, he defeated John Dramani Mahama in the first round (winning with 53.85% of the votes), which marked the first time in a Ghanaian presidential election that an opposition candidate won a majority outright in the first round.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was born in Swalaba Accra, Gold Coast, to a prominent Ghanaian royal and political family as the son of Edward and Adeline Akufo-Addo. His father Edward Akufo-Addo from Akropong-Akuapem was Ghana’s third Chief Justice from 1966 to 1970, Chairman of the 1967–68 Constitutional Commission and the non-executive President of Ghana from 1970 till 1972. Akufo-Addo’s maternal grandfather was Nana Sir Ofori Atta, King of Akyem Abuakwa, who was a member of the Executive Council of the Governor of the Gold Coast before Ghana’s independence. He is a nephew of Kofi Asante Ofori-Atta and William Ofori Atta. His granduncle was J. B. Danquah, another member of The Big Six.

He started his primary education at the Government Boys School, Adabraka, and later went to Rowe Road School (now Kinbu), in Accra Central. He went to England to study for his O-Level and A-Level examinations at Lancing College, Sussex, where he was nicknamed ‘Billy’. He began the Philosophy, Politics and Economics course at New College, Oxford in 1962, but left soon afterwards. He returned to Ghana in 1962 to teach at the Accra Academy, before going to read Economics at the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1964, earning a BSc(Econ) degree in 1967.

He subsequently joined Inner Temple and trained as a lawyer under the apprenticeship system known as the Inns of court, where no formal law degree was required. He was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in July 1971.

He was called to the Ghanaian bar in July 1975. Akufo-Addo worked with the Paris office of the U.S. law firm Coudert Brothers. In 1979, he co-founded the law firm Prempeh and Co.

Though known by his mates to have been a vocal supporter of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) while a student in the University of Ghana, he switched sides to the rival UP tradition following the overthrow of President Nkrumah in 1966 after which his father, Edward Akufo-Addo became ceremonial president of Ghana in 1969. Akufo-Addo’s participation in politics formally began in the late 1970s when he joined the People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ), an organisation formed to oppose the General Acheampong-led Supreme Military Council’s Union Government proposals.

In May 1995, he was among a broad group of elites who formed Alliance for Change, an alliance that organised demonstrations against neo-liberal policies such as the introduction of Value Added Tax and human rights violations of the Rawlings presidency. The forefront of this demonstration were himself, Abdul Malik Kwaku Baako and Saifullah Senior minister Victor Newman, Kwasi Pratt Jnr, Dr. Charles Wreko Brobbey among others.

They were joined by about 100,000 other people. The protest was named “Kumepreko”. The broad-based opposition alliance later collapsed as the elite leaders jostled for leadership positions. In the 1990s, he formed a civil rights organisation called Ghana’s Committee on Human and People’s Rights.

He was a member of the 3rd parliament of the 4th republic representing the Abuakwa Constituency.

 

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