President Akufo-Addo has narrated how he helped to secure victory for former Secretary to President John Dramani Mahama in the recent election for African Union (AU) top job during the just-ended 28th Summit of the AU.
Diplomat and former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, Thomas Kwesi Quartey, contested and won the position of Deputy Chairman of the AU Commission (AUC).
But that did not come on a silver platter as he himself has admitted and has since been thanking President Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for the support offered him.
Quartey, who contested the election with five others, was not certain of victory without the backing of the new administration.
At a meeting with the Ghanaian community in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa Tuesday evening, the president narrated how he defied even the counsel of his own party faithful to throw his weight behind Mr Kwesi Quartey.
Present at the meeting was Ghana’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Albert Yankey and members of the mission; Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey; Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo; Deputy Chief of Staff, Francis Asenso-Boakye; Minister-designate for Aviation, Cecilia Dapaah and Minister-designate for Information, Mustapha Hamid.
The rest included former Foreign Minister, James Victor Gbeho; former National Security Coordinator, Lt Col. Larry Gbevlo-Lartey and former anti-corruption crusader whose subtle defence of corruption under President Mahama government made people to doubt his credibility, Daniel Batidam.
Nana Akufo-Addo recalled that immediately after the 2016 general election which saw him becoming president, his predecessor, President Mahama, informed him about the candidature of Mr Kwesi Quartey, who was contesting as Deputy Chair of the AU Commission.
“I think he was a little bit hesitant; thinking that his association with Quartey will put me off,” Nana observed.
But when he [Mahama] told him and asked of his view, President Akufo-Addo recalled telling then President Mahama, “That’s a very good idea; I know the man and I know his competence and I know he is capable of the job and that he will fly the flag of Ghana very high so I have no hesitation in my mind the idea of supporting his candidature.”
The president said when he told a few of his colleagues [obviously referring to his party men], “their responses were a little bit different; the idea being that he has been deputy minister in an NDC government; he has been Secretary to the President.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, he could not but stand his ground and supported the man, claiming, “I said no; he is a Ghanaian and he has the ability and we have to mobilise all the talents; so I have no hesitation, I’m going to tell the Foreign Minister-designate at that time to make sure that our service here and around the world is mobilized to support his candidature.”
That, he said, was due to the fact that “I’ve never believed in uniformity of ideas…I don’t believe that I’m president and everybody should agree with me. No! I don’t think that’s correct.”
Instead, he indicated, “I think we should have our differences in opinion; what we need to do is to as much as possible find a way of building consensus so that the various opinions can harmonise.”
He could not but thank Ambassador Victor Gbeho, who went from country to country campaigning for Kwesi Quartey, saying, “At least your work was not in vain; it has been crowned with resounding success. We are all grateful to you.”