The Volta Region retains a towering significance in the history of our great party the NDC. It is no coincidence that we are holding this launch here as a tribute to the many illustrious sons and daughters of the Volta Region who have toiled and continue to work tirelessly for our great party.
I have officially joined the race to contest for the flagbearer slot of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2024 elections, which I consider to be the most important and defining poll of our time.
I have not taken this step lightly. It has been the product of months of prayer, broad consultations, and sober reflection. I have searched my soul and paid close attention to your voices, to your daily struggles, to our present predicament.
Ghana demands experience, not experiments! Ghana demands togetherness, not divisiveness! Now is the time for bravery of heart and clarity of purpose.
This government has been clueless and, in many cases, callous. Ghana is bankrupt. We are saddled with debt we simply cannot pay, and we have suffered the global humiliation of defaulting on our debts and being downgraded by credit rating agencies to the lowest levels in our history.
Our economy is in its worst ever shape, with suffering and pain on an unprecedented scale. Parents are being forced to make hard choices between seeking prompt health care for their sick children and providing meals with their meagre resources for families.
Our middle class stands the real risk of being wiped out on the back of an obnoxious debt restructuring programme. The poor who depend on the middle class for employment and sustenance are on their own and uncertain of their fate.
Who would have thought that Ghana would come to a juncture where a government would mete out such shabby treatment to our senior citizens whose only crime is that they put their life savings in what is considered the safest financial instruments in the world – Government Bonds.
We are at this most depressing phase in our history where our economy has been destroyed because of the systematic mismanagement, misguided and clueless policy choices, and incompetence of President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Bawumia.
While our people struggle to keep their heads above water, government officials continue to exhibit high levels of greed, corruption, arrogance of power, dishonesty, blatant state capture and conflict of interest.
They continue to lay blame for their economic disaster on external factors whose relationship with our present sorry circumstances are at most tenuous. We all know that this economic collapse has been years in the making just as we know it was entirely avoidable.
The national decay of the last six years has not been limited to the economy. It extends to all aspects of our lives. Our hitherto trusted state institutions today stand as pale shadows of themselves, undermined, and politicized to the point that they consider themselves an extension of the governing New Patriotic Party.
The youth see no future in their country of birth. They see no silver lining at the edge of the clouds, which often appears dark and gloomy, with no ray of sunshine seeping through. Who will blame them when after years of struggling to earn an education, they are condemned to unemployment and acute lack of opportunities?
If not remedied, through my agenda to Build the Ghana We Want Together from 2025, some graduates and post-graduate degree holders may hit the pension age and would never be employed in their entire lives, save for national service.
Our present state and its effects on our people trouble me a lot. This is why, as you have observed, at every significant wrong turn taken by government, I have, with the benefit of experience, provided alternative solutions and even offered the expertise and knowledge of some of my party’s members to help get us out of the challenges.
There is an increasing gap, right now, between the Ghanaian society and Ghana’s political system. It is one of the reasons why a change has become, absolutely, necessary.
Off course, I know how to deliver that badly needed change because, during the last three to four years, I have studied our problems, I have continued to listen to each and every one of you, and to a variety of scholars and experts – I can say with full confidence that I learned a lot during the period and I am ready to be the President Ghanaians are looking for.
I am coming before you, in all humility, and in response to calls from my party and the generality of the people of Ghana, to offer myself, to serve this country and its people that I love so dearly, by first putting myself up for election in the NDC Presidential Primaries.
There are many who say that my words, just before leaving office in 2016, that posterity will be my judge, have proven prophetic in the face of the disastrous performance of the NPP government and their harrowing dismantling of our country’s prospects.
I am offering myself for public office at this time because I appreciate the enormity of the task ahead, owing to the level of damage done to our country by this government.
Our country urgently needs a leader with an unwavering desire to get things done in a no-frills, no thrills, business-like manner. Not one enamored with sloganeering, excessive partisanship, personal comfort, and shallow populism.
Ghana’s next leader should exercise sound judgement and be able to make the right calls and at the right time. A leader who accepts responsibility and works to fix the problem and not shift blame onto others.
The leader should be one whose heart is filled with compassion for the people and who has the humility to connect with and understand the needs of the people he serves.
He should not be a leader who views the public purse as a family heirloom or even the mandate given him to govern as the manifestation of a birthright. A leader who has his sights on leaving a legacy for posterity.
With all the humility I can muster, I believe I possess these qualities and that I am uniquely placed, having sat back the past few years to take stock of our country’s path.
I am set and ready! Very ready, to Build the Ghana We Want Together with you. Our mission is to get out of the current nightmare. And to get out of it together, reaching to one another, listening to one another, and providing hope for all.
The first order of business will be to reset our country to its default settings as envisioned by the founders of the 4th Republic. At the top of our priorities as the new government in 2025, God willing (Insha Allah), is to restore stability and inclusive growth to the economy.
We will strictly enforce prudence and responsibility in the management of public finances by cutting out waste and ostentation, which have become common place under this administration.
Together, we will build the Ghana we want. We shall restore faith in our almost collapsed financial system and embark on sweeping reforms at the Bank of Ghana.
We shall actively pursue policies to ensure robust local participation in our banking, financial, telecommunications, mining, agriculture, agribusiness, and manufacturing sectors. This will be anchored on our plan to grow the economy and create sustainable employment for our youth.
We will make investments in productive sectors of the economy like agriculture, industry, technology, digitilisation and tourism to spur growth and generate jobs for the teeming youth who continue to lose hope by the day.
With the limited fiscal space, we are likely to inherit because of the mismanagement of the economy under NPP, a new NDC Government will give priority to continuing and completing abandoned and ongoing projects.
I shall assemble and operate the leanest but most efficient government under our fourth republic. As I announced in my address at the UPSA late last year, I believe that given the present economic challenges confronting us, we can effectively run government with sixty (60) ministers and deputy ministers of state.
I will initiate and undertake the most far-reaching constitutional, political and governance reforms under the fourth republic aimed at restoring confidence in our democracy and governance systems while making life easier and better for our people.
In response to the concerns and calls from many of you, I will initiate and undertake the most far-reaching constitutional, political and governance reforms aimed at restoring confidence in our democracy.
We will continue and bring to conclusion the constitution review process began by President Atta Mills including a review of the controversial article 71 to reduce the number of officeholders and remove the disparities in privileges and emoluments vis a vis the public and civil service.
The payment of ex-gratia to members of the executive under Article 71 will be scrapped. The necessary constitutional steps to abolish that payment will start in earnest in 2025. I will also begin the process to persuade other arms of government to accept same.
We must end the chaos that now characterizes the Computerized School Selection and Placement System for BECE graduates. As a first step, we should allow students to only complete their applications for SHS after they receive their BECE results.
They will be in a better position to know their actual grades and match them with the cut-off grades and raw scores of the senior high schools they wish to be admitted to.
The anti-corruption agencies will be given unfettered space to do their work. The days of the infamous ‘clearing agent’ will be well and truly over. But to ensure efficiency and professionalism at this endeavor, institutions of state would be empowered to be independent in their work.
State owned enterprises will not be a gravy train for political apparatchiki. We shall re-introduce the hallmark of my previous administration – tolerance for criticism and the creation of a conducive atmosphere for the media to do its work without the fear of threats, harassment, and possible assassination.
I have heard many of my party supporters say that the next NDC government must also exact its pound of flesh. My brothers and sisters, I daresay, there is no use fighting for political power, if it is only to come and repeat the same mistakes of the NPP administration that have brought our dear nation to this sorry state. We must therefore engage our grassroots to work together with us to build the Ghana we want.
In Building the Ghana We Want Together, it will take grit. It will take determination. But we have what we did not have before – the benefit of hindsight and reflection from afar, and the benefit of experience – to improve upon our successes and avoid our mistakes.
As I roll out my campaign for the flagbearer slot of the NDC and subsequently during the national elections, I will engage as many of you in the public as possible and interface with various interest groups to tap into your views on how to fashion the Ghana we want.
I want to assure you, my fellow Akatamansonians, that I have heard your concerns on how to further strengthen our party. I will certainly make you proud by addressing your needs, as we work to position the party to be more responsive to your needs.
We shall build the most formidable political party that every Ghanaian will be happy and proud to associate with. Remember it was the NDC that provided the most road and water projects, educational, health and telecommunications infrastructure for you, across the country.
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things” are the wise words of Ronald Reagan that I subscribe to.
The next government would not be about me. It would not be about forming a cadre of family and friends to enrich themselves at the expense of our people. It would be about you.
In all humility, with a rekindled spirit, renewed energy, and sharpened vision to help save our dear country, Ghana, I formally announce my candidacy and launch my campaign.
Ghana needs experience, not experiments! Ghana used to be the shining light on the continent. I am of the strongest conviction that we can attain those heights again. I believe it. We will lead by example.