Nana Akufo-Addo was buoyant, shifting his body in his chair frequently with a boxer’s eagerness. His hands, a wand, directing his sentences as he eagerly gesticulated a point.
The energy didn’t feel 72 years; maybe much younger. His 72nd birthday was why Joy FM’s Kojo Yankson was at his Nima home to scan through the life of a man who has seen six presidents and wants to the seventh one – if Ghanaians bless the ambition in eight months’ time.
His sitting room is preserved, perhaps a nostalgic love for family history than a suspicion of new stylish interior designs. The walls hold history in simple-framed pictures. There is one with Rebecca – her radiant beauty banishing Nana Addo’s dark complexion into an obscure end of the photo.
The presidential candidate has a memory dating back as far as the day a four- year old Nana Addo sat on Kwame Nkrumah’s laps at around 1948 when UGCC leaders met at Betty House in Korle Wuko, Accra.
It was just after the ’48 riots. The UGCC leaders were hot. They had been blamed for city-wide disturbances.
“My father, grandpa Danquah, all of them moving around, coming in and out of the house. I knew something really dramatic had occurred… I was very excited”, he remembered.
Although he had no idea the unfolding demands for independence, a rush of adrenaline through Nana Addo was pretty career-defining.
“Whatever it was that my father was doing which brought this excitement was something that I would like to do” a wide almost baby-like enthusiasm plastered on his face as he remembered the context for his politics.
With a father who was Chief Justice, many believe a legal career was a matter of course for Nana Akufo-Addo. But he does not see it this way.
For a period, a desire for the cinemas fought for attention while his mind was still a floating voter as far as his career choices were concerned.
“There was a moment in my life when I wanted to be a film director. Yes, yes”, the accomplished politician relished a missed opportunity.
With a movie industry having a questionable qualifying word ‘industry’, the NPP Presidential candidate wants to see a vibrant movie going the Nigerian way.
“This is one of the things I really admire about what is going on in Nigeria. They are developing a home-grown film industry which is really beginning to take off and have wings and I am hoping that one day we too will be getting on to it”.
But while he contemplated a career choice, it took a riveting debate in court to ignite the passion for law in young Akufo-Addo.
The court drama was between the then A-G Victor Owusu and a lawyer Joe Reindolf representing a newspaper, the Legon Observer – which had written an article deemed scandalous –
“Watching him in court was something absolutely extraordinary…the sheer quality of his advocacy and I said to myself this is what I wanted to do. It was a very big moment of my life”, he conceded.
You could appreciate the influence of witnessing a fascinating court action because Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP whipped up a legal fever in this country when they went to court in 2013 to challenge the presidential results of the 2012 elections.
The election petition, beamed live on television, is believed to have translated into a significant boost in law school applications the following academic year.
Akufo-Addo’s sterling legal career has seen him rescue lovers of democracy from the hands of oppresive governments during Ghana’s tumultous path in going the democratic way and sticking to it.
His battle scars are known, his sweat sweetens Ghana’s democratic atmosphere and after seven decades and two years, the accomplished lawyer and the NPP colossus looks forward to leading the country into an era of prosperity.