As the November 7 general election draws closer, Ghana’s former Attorney General and minister of Foreign Affairs, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is the Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – one of the West African country’s main opposition parties – speaks to Adedayo Adejobi on his third attempt at the Presidency, why President John Mahama should not get another term, and why his country needs peaceful elections to ensure positive change that would make life better for Ghanaians. Excerpts.

His take on President John Mahama
Sometimes, I wonder if President John Mahama has any idea about the unprecedented levels of economic difficulties and hardships the Ghanaian people have been plunged into under the two-term government of the National Democratic Congress. President Mahama’s assertion in the State of the Nation Address delivered late last month, that the country’s healthcare delivery system had seen massive levels of improvement under his tenure proves that the President has lost touch with the concerns of the ordinary Ghanaian, and the realities on the ground. I can’t but ask: Is Mahama living in Ghana with us? Or, perhaps, he is living in a different country. We all know the difficulties and hardships that confront us in this country. He has no idea what Ghanaians are going through!

On the importance of this election year, and the future of the Ghana
The importance of this election year is all about the future of Ghana, and I cry for my country as they seem swayed by handouts aimed at influencing their choice on Election Day. This is a special year for Ghanaians. This election is not about GH¢10 or GH¢20 (handouts).

It is about our future as a country. At this moment, access to education for all school-age children has become a headache for parents, because they cannot afford to pay fees for their children. When someone is sick, it becomes a heart-wrenching moment because our healthcare system is in a mess. This is not the Ghana we want. We have done it before. In order to tackle the difficult economy the NPP inherited in 2001, President John Kufuor put up an able team together and, before very long, Ghana had become the success story of the continent. I will turn the dwindling fortunes of Ghana around, so the country could be returned onto the path of progress and prosperity.

That my party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), would disrupt an attempt at peaceful elections
Ghana needs peaceful elections to ensure positive change that would make life better for Ghanaians. The NPP would therefore never do anything bad that could spark off political violence or plunge the nation into war. All through my campaigns, I have always, and will continually urge party members, supporters, chiefs, religious bodies, civil society groups and other relevant organisations to make sure that no negative things are done to cheat or create room for rigging. Ghanaians are expecting to see change in the 2016 elections for resuscitation of the fragile economy. When Ghanaians vote for me and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), good governance coupled with massive infrastructure in the areas of education, health, better conditions of service for workers, and others would be seen. Ghanaians will benefit from good roads, quality health and other development interventions when the party is voted into power.

Despite the difficulties she currently faces, under the right management, there is hope in the future of Ghana
Ghanaians need not despair in the face of hardships and difficulties, because there is hope for a brighter Ghana. What we need is that, with the help of the Almighty, our nation remains stable, united and at peace. 2016 is a difficult year for us in Ghana, which will lead to the choosing of a new government for the people. This difficult year, is summed up by insecurity, fear, inexplicable deaths, joblessness, and economic hardships for our people. I am hopeful that the election, itself, will be conducted in a satisfactory manner whose outcome will bring us together, and not tear us apart. I am praying for Ghana, for the NPP, and for myself because Ghana deserves good governance, a leader with strength of character, courage, wisdom and the good heart of a servant-leader.

I never accused Kufuor of being a thief…
It is rather unfortunate the way and manner the opposition have swung at me such an untrue and uncoordinated media blitz, all in a bid to score cheap points. My clear vision for Ghana and my character will not be soiled or marred by the evil etched to de-stabilise me, through a terribly negative opposition party. I have never drawn ex-President into the fray nor accused Kufuor of being a thief, neither am I going to steal Ghana’s money when I become President of the Republic of Ghana.

I am unashamedly anti-corrupt, and have no ties with drug dealers. If I had funding from drug dealers, my campaigns for the presidency since 2008 would have seen a rather dramatic twist. I have so far been self-funded till date from proceeds from my business ad a few associates who have supported through their widows might. Those who throw baseless accusations at me are very desperate to hold onto the reins of power by hook, crook and weird means. They are so desperate that they would say anything just to get re-elected. In any case, any serious-minded Ghanaian or voter should not take them seriously John Mahama has nothing good to offer Ghanaians.

My quest to probe the death of ex-President Atta Mills…
Even when our pet dies mysteriously we try to find out what could have been the cause of death. How much more the first gentleman of the nation, and no one can tell the cause of his death. It is worrisome not because we want to remember the pain and agony his family went through when they lost their brother. But to us as Ghanaians, we lost a precious jewel. That is why it is imperative for any leader in the opposition party who will emerge the winner in the 2016 general election to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding his death. People die through accident and their families can’t just go to the mortuary to take their corpses for burial. If I may ask them, what is the essence of the pathology test conducted in such situations?

Many Ghanaians would love to see what killed our late President so that in the near future, our sitting President will not die in such a horrible state. Unarguably death is inevitable, but the circumstances surrounding the death of the Commander -In- Chief of the Armed forces who had all the resources such as helicopter, ambulance with paramedic died mysteriously and these self -styled Politicians think it is weird to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of our late President who once called for an investigation into the death of an NDC member of Parliament’s wife who lost her life during child delivery at the hospital.

It is only a bad child who will run away from seeing his father coming from afar and if these self- styled politicians think circumstances surrounding the late Presidents death is normal why are they scared of a presidency who feels it could happen to him when he is given the mandate and would want to do a thorough investigations to know what led to the death of his best friend, playmate and classmate. The NDC with all their propaganda machinery could boldly show on Television and tell Ghanaians after the death of our late President that he has joined the angels in heaven and he has taken the place of Jesus Christ and he sits at the right hand side of God but they cannot tell Ghanaians what killed him. I leave it for Ghanaians to judge.

The scripture says that your good works will follow you, and in the same way bad works will also follow you. The so-called better Ghana agenda which has turned to be a bitter Ghana pill for Ghanaians to the extent that their own party members who are truthful and sincere enough when they meet me, say things are really getting worse under the stewardship of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama the President of the Republic of Ghana. Today, even lunatics on our streets when you ask them, are you enjoying the better Ghana? They will tell you, tweaaa, which better Ghana!

I boldly say that I am a credible Politician by all standards, a true democrat with respect for the rule of law. Although I was cheated in the 2012 general elections, but I did not take guns to fight to become the President of the Republic. I rather, petitioned the Supreme Court and accepted the Supreme Court verdict in good faith and that is why Ghana enjoys the peace and stability it enjoys today.

My kind of Politics….
My track records speak for itself. As a Member of Parliament, Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs, I refused to stay in government bungalow, neither did I accept free fuel and other allowances enjoyed by my political colleagues in the NDC. I believe politics is a noble vocation aimed at raising leadership for human development and like the good shepherd, I believe a leader must be ready to make sacrifices for his followers and also solve problems and not to amass wealth for himself and people around me. I do not want to eat fat while my followers continue to grow lean.

I have never been found wanting in the area of corruption and foul play, rather I have maintained an impeccable and transparent character in leadership. I believe Ghana will work again in my government; I am more than ever prepared to effect a positive change that will bring hope and prosperity to the suffering masses.

My strategic I governance when elected…..
My heart desire is to offer free SHS education to every Ghanaian, to reduce the burden of parents and strengthening Vocational and Technical education, removal of all schools under trees, building two hundred schools across the nation ,build infrastructure, enact policies that will positively affect the common man.

I never killed my first wife, these is a wicked allegation…..
When the Bible says the heart of man is desperately wicked, now I reckon that passage in the light of this wicked allegation.

The wild allegation leveled against me is “nothing but a vile, repugnant and tasteless fabrication.”
It is tragic that our politics should sink to such levels that there appears to be nothing sacred, nor any respect for our cultural values, human dignity in our society, and people find it easy to use death of a loved one to defame a political opponent. It is shameful!