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Ladies and gentlemen of the media, dignitaries and members of the New Patriotic Party, fellow Ghanaians.
Good morning and welcome. Thanks for accepting my invitation, even though I am told most of you claim to know already what I am going to say. I do hope I don’t disappoint you.
As you may recall, I said on August 29, 2013, the day of the Election Petition verdict, that I would take some time out of the hurly burly of politics, get some rest, reflect and then announce what I envisage for my political future.
Shortly after I made that statement, my wife and best friend, Rebecca, and I travelled to the United Kingdom, where we stayed in London for some six months. This gave me a lot of time to think about things. Such a long period of reflection inevitably meant taking a hard look at my life and what I have done, particularly in the period since the mid-70s when I have been active in political life.
I am humbled by the opportunities that I have had to contribute to the development of our nation, from the struggle against military dictatorship, through protecting the rights of ordinary Ghanaians in the law courts and on the streets, to the consolidation of our democracy and the projection of our national interest, first, in building the New Patriotic Party, and, also, as a member of parliament and cabinet minister.
Even though I will forever regret the fact that I could not lead the party to victory in 2008 and could not secure a declaration of victory in 2012, the party can be proud of what we have been able to achieve together for Ghana and, by extension, Africa, as a whole. Despite all the controversy that bedeviled the 2012 presidential election, we, in the NPP, showed responsible citizenship and put the nation first before our desire for power, because of our love of Ghana. We showed that it is possible and, indeed, desirable, to play by the rules even if it leads to unfavourable results for you. We might have lost that 2012 battle, but when the history of this period is told, I am confident that it will be most favourable to the NPP. Already, Ghana’s image as a peaceful, stable democracy has been greatly enhanced by the path the NPP took, after the controversial 2012 elections, to settle the electoral dispute in court and accept the decision of the court as final. I am proud to be a member of this great party and I am grateful to have been given two opportunities so far to lead it.
In trying to come to a decision, I asked the Almighty for his continuing guidance.
I thought about the battles we as a people have fought to get us to where we are today in a nation governed by a constitution. I thought of the many people with whom I have been in some of these battles and the loyalty and hard work that we came to take for granted from each other.
I thought especially hard about the 2008 and 2012 elections, when I was privileged to be the presidential candidate of my party. I thought about how lucky I was to have this brilliant economist, MahamuduBawumia, as my running mate in those two elections. I have been humbled by the loyalty, the confidence and trust that millions of Ghanaians gave to me. I thought about the huge disappointment that our loss brought to us all.
I thought about the passing of time and the fact that I shall be seventy years old in a few days time. I have asked hard questions of myself and of my body and I have taken the opportunity to see my doctors both here in Ghana and in the United Kingdom. I examined my commitment and the fire that burns in my belly with the desire to lead Ghana.
I had time to think about the lessons of history and the examples of other countries and how such lessons might impact on the current state of Ghana.I had long discussions with Rebecca and my daughters and some of the people who have been a source of unflinching support before coming to a decision.
I was in constant contact with Ghana whilst I was away in England.I received daily phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook messages, and regular visits from Ghanaians from different parts of the world, from every region in Ghana, young and old, men and women, great and small. Themessage was unanimous: they all urged me to remain in frontline politics and to seek the candidacy of my party for the 2016 presidential election of Ghana.
The message from NPP members was along the lines: “You, Nana Addo, remain our best chance for 2016; Ghanaians are telling us we should bring you back.”
The message from Ghanaians who are not NPP members, including supporters of other political parties, can be summed up as: “We have heard your message, we know who you are and what you stand for and we are ready to vote for you in our numbers in 2016.”
In spite of all the disappointments of the last few years, I cannot ignore these calls, especially when, among those urging me to run,arethose who admit to supporting my opponents in previous contests, whether within the NPP or in national elections.
My wife and I arrived back in Ghana a fortnight ago, sure of the decision that we have taken regarding my future in politics.