Let me take a few moments of your precious time to spell out my vision for this great country.
It is a very simple one: To identify with the important changes that the average Ghanaian yearns to see in Ghana, make those changes the hallmark of the New Patriotic Party’s agenda and provide the strong leadership we need to translate those changes into action.
You could put it down to three familiar words: change, agenda and action.
What do I mean by change? Our great party’s agenda has been warmly accepted by the people of Ghana. We are not just a party. We are a tradition- and a great tradition too.
The United Party (UP) Tradition is the only correct and true label for it embraces all the nine (9) entities which subsumed their individual identities into one; the United Party, one and true and not the string of names that some want to impose as the false label for the United Party (UP) Tradition. A tradition that must be put on a winning spree. As you know, winning traditions do not have a reverse gear. They only change a gear to spring them further up the road to success. By change I mean raising the bar of our expectations so that we can hand over good jobs to those who want jobs. By change I mean closing the gap that divides us as a country so that we can give poor families power and control over their lives. By change I mean making free enterprise count so that exports will count. By change I mean making our party more united so that we can keep on winning and become the dominant political tradition of Ghana.
But how do we do that?
That is the question we are here and now to answer. The recorded victories of yesteryear are not enough for the great country that we want to build. Every generation of the New Patriotic Party has to make those good arguments all over again. Acquiring power is a difficult task, but keeping power is an even more difficult thing. We need to understand why we have succeeded as a party, but we also need to understand why we have to succeed again tomorrow and decide on the important changes and a new hope we can bring to the people of Ghana. This is the only way to keep our tradition going.
There is one thing I want to make clear to the followers of this great tradition. We have won four general elections not only because the people of Ghana distrusted the bad politics of our opponents. We have been winning because we have always presented convincing alternatives. Our policies have produced good results for Ghanaians and the world is watching.
There are good signs that we are succeeding, but signs alone will not do it. Neither will good policies alone or the charismatic leadership of one person get us to where we want to take Ghana. Well, come to think of it, it will not be such a bad idea if the visionary leadership I hope to provide went as far as that. Now, more than ever, we have to open greater avenues of change to the advantage of the people of Ghana. Now, more than ever, we have to commit to meeting the very basic needs of the majority of our people, who have for long yearned for something new. Now, more than ever, we have to make sure that our democracy is a ‘property-owning’ one, where people will be free to do the things they want to do, and be happy to enjoy what their efforts have produced.
Now, more than ever, we need to give the people of Ghana a good reason to continue to believe in the inspirational leadership possible only under the NPP, and the new frontiers of change. The people of Ghana have kept faith with us all these years. We need to reward their faith with good progress and good development. We need to raise the stakes of our present agenda, but we also need to change the pace.
You and I know that our vision and dreams as a party must go beyond the known territories of economic policy and manifesto promises. We need to demonstrate that we mean what we say and we say what we mean. This is how to get Ghanaians to think what we are thinking.
What do people in politics think? Well, I can tell you what I think, because I have been in politics for some time now, and I think like a retail politician. I have been with this tradition for long enough, and I have always been in our stream of thoughts. I have interacted with the good people of Ghana well enough to know what they are also thinking.
Everywhere I go in the country, I resist the temptation of listening to only the good things I want to hear about our great party and our effective policies. I seek to delve into the inner recesses of the thinking of the average Ghanaian, and I can tell you that Ghanaians are thinking what we are thinking. But they want something more. People want to see a leader who will put a high premium on their lives and make their lives count for more than anything else. People want to see a leader who knows how to put a decisive finger on their everyday instincts, so he can feel what they feel. People want to see a leader who talks like a human being, not messianic policy wonks who prophesy above their heads. This is what my brand of politics is all about.
This is what I stand for
The kind of politics I don’t believe in is the one that simply spreads money to win trust. That is dangerous for the health of Ghana’s democracy and our rich tradition. I believe in earning trust. Everywhere I have served in a leadership capacity, both home and abroad, my top priority has been how to look into the hearts and minds of the people I lead. That is the responsibility of those who seek to lead. Those who seek to lead must in turn open their hearts and minds to the people. It is a partnership that cannot be bought with money. It must be earned. I don’t spread money, I spread the vision and the ideas needed to make money. I doff my hat to the foot soldiers of our great party. Those working so hard in the various constituencies. Those making great sacrifices for the good of this party. They know how far money can go, and they know how far great ideas can get us. And I am only happy that they are the ones who are going to decide on who leads our party to win the next election.
I don’t have a naked ambition to be president. Well, maybe, it wouldn’t be a bad thing if that is the only way you could see the true picture of the passion and the determination I have to serve Ghana. I am privileged to belong to the NPP. I am proud to live for it.
Together, let us dare to be great.