Flashback: How Akufo-Addo received the Supreme Court’s judgment in 2013

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Excerpts from Kow Essuman’s manuscript.

Silence befell the entire nation after the short judgment. Ghanaians could not believe what they had just heard from the Presiding Justice as the judgment of the petition. They were disappointed. Amidst all this, they wondered what the losers of the petition, the Petitioners, would do. How were they going to take this disappointing outcome? What were their supporters going to do in light of this judgment? Were they going to resort to violence like other African countries, including neighboring Cote D’Ivoire? Everyone waited to listen to the opposition leader’s position on the judgment. Did he accept?

A few minutes after leaving the courtroom, Akufo-Addo, surrounded by friends and colleagues spoke to his supporters and the nation at large. He looked at the face of his running mate, the youthful Dr. Bawumia, his young press secretary, Herbert Krapa, and saw the pain and disappointment in their eyes. He knew at that point that such was the feeling across the entire nation. He once again had to take the high road and show leadership.

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He walked towards the microphone and begun to address the nation.

“I have called President John Dramani Mahama and I have now congratulated him on being elected the fourth president of the Fourth Republic of our country. The Supreme Court of our nation has spoken and the result of the December 2012 presidential election has been confirmed as having been won by the candidate of the NDC, President Mahama.

As I said earlier, whilst I disagree with the Court’s decision, I accept it. I accept that what the Court says brings finality to the election dispute. We shall not be asking for a review of the verdict so we can all move on in the interest of our nation. Everything in my bones, in my upbringing and in what I have done with my life thus far makes it imperative that I accept a decision made by the highest court of the land, however much I dislike or disagree with it.

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I am saddened by the verdict and I know that many of our supporters are saddened too. However, for the sake and love of our country, we must embark on a path that builds, rather than destroys, to deal with our disappointment.

I appeal to all members and supporters of our party, the NPP in particular to accept the verdict of the court. Even in our disappointment we can take pride in the way we have conducted ourselves. Even in our disappointment we can take pride that the NPP has again led the way in deepening Ghana’s democracy. To quote one of the Supreme court judges, “After this case, elections in Ghana will not be the same.” In other words, we might not have been given the ruling we sought, but thanks to our efforts, we can hopefully look forward to an improved electoral process in our country.

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I am grateful to my co-petitioners, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia for their hard work, dedication and their commitment as we pursued the legal options available to us.

My gratitude goes also to the Lawyers and the technical team for their unbelievable hard work and sacrifices. I am grateful to all the volunteers who spent days and nights working on pink sheets, entering data, photocopying documents, and labeling exhibits for the Petition. I am grateful to all the well-wishers for their prayers.

I must also thank my party the NPP, the officials, the foot-soldiers and supporters for their unflinching support and belief in me. The National Council of the party, having taken the decision to go to court, has been unwavering in its support.

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I also want to thank my daughters and my wife, Rebecca, for their love and extraordinary support. There have been friends who have made unbelievable sacrifices of time, energy, ideas, money and a listening ear. I am grateful to all of them.

I am sure there are many people wondering what I envisage for my political future. I intend to take some time out of the hurly burly of politics, get some rest, reflect and then announce whatever decision I come to in the not too distant future.

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In Ghana’s 56 year history, this is the first time a presidential election petition of this kind has been filed and pursued through the courts. The whole world has watched us in wonder and admiration. Our reaction to this judgment will be watched keenly in Africa and beyond and will set a precedent for generations to follow.

It is now up to all of us Ghanaians to put the dispute behind us and come together to iron out our differences, ease the tensions among us, and come together to build our country.

There are myriads of problems facing us as a people. This is the time for us all to come together and work to find solutions to the challenges that confront our people.

To my party, the NPP, I say we have a lot to be proud of; there are more than three years left in this political cycle to be a worthy opposition, and also position ourselves for the battle of 2016.

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Today, let us wish our President well and thank the Almighty for His mercies to our nation. The battle continues to be that of the Lord’s. God bless Ghana.”

[Speech delivered by Nana AKufo-Addo on 29 August 2014 after the Presidential Election Petition judgment was delivered.]

Akufo-Addo’s magnanimous statement that day was greatly received by all Ghanaians and the international community. Accepting such a decision in those circumstances was most admirable. The truth is that he had no other option than to accept the decision as it was. Any other option would have thrown his life long struggle for democracy and the rule of law right into the mud. Throughout his life and professional career, he had advocated from stronger institutions and for the rule of law to be the guiding principle of Ghana’s democracy. His name in this regard is firmly etched in the law reports of the Ghanaian courts.

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It therefore came as no surprise when he was nominated as a candidate for the prestigious award, “Ghana’s Most Influential Personality for 2013” and he subsequently receiving that award. At ceremony where he received award, Akufo-Addo told audience present at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel the very lifelong factors that had led him to accept the election petition judgment even though he disagreed with it.

He said:

“I thank etv-Ghana for this initiative and I thank the public for the great honour done me by voting me as Ghana’s Most Influential Personality for the year 2013. I congratulate my fellow winners for their service to our nation. I am deeply humbled by the award and I accept the challenge that it poses in what the public expects of the leadership of our nation.

I understand that what earned me this award is the now famous election petition and my reaction to the majority verdict of the Supreme Court, a reaction which helped reinforce the peace and stability of Ghana.

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Obviously, I would have preferred to get such a prestigious award under happier circumstances, but to quote Shakespeare in “As You Like It”: “Sweet are the uses of adversity,

Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in his head; And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.”

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