A former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Lawyer Joseph Ayikoi Otoo has intervened in the ongoing controversy bordering on the qualification of the 2012 Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as a professional lawyer.
In an interview with Kwame Nkrumah “Tikese” on Okay FM on Thursday, Lawyer Joseph Ayikoi Otoo sought to explain the circumstances through which a person in pursuit of law can be called to the bar.
Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo further elucidated from the Legal Profession Act which regulates activities of legal practitioners in the country, stating that before a person can be certified as a lawyer, he or she should have a first degree in law and also obtain a Qualifying Certificate of Law (QCL).
He explained that any person who aspires to be a lawyer should meet these requirements, and also have his or her name entered in the Roll of Lawyers before Ghana’s legal system can give him or her right to be enrolled in the bar.
He further expounded that an opportunity is also created for law students abroad who want to practice law in Ghana to pursue a three-month course in the Ghana School of Law before proceeding to the law courts.
Reacting to the ongoing standoff over whether Nana Akufo-Addo can hold up his name as a qualified lawyer or rather an impersonator, Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo who is also the former General Secretary of the Ghana Bar Association described the argument as “petty” and so, enlightened Ghanaians about Nana Addo’s name change in the law firm.
According to him, the argument that Nana Addo may be impersonating W.A.D Akufo-Addo who is on the roll of lawyers as No. 1190 is of little substance.
He noted that during the era of Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the use of local names became popular and therefore informed the decision by several lawyers to change their names.
Alluding to legal practitioners like Lawyer Samuel Okudzeto who changed his name to Lawyer Sam Okudzeto and the late Peter Ala Adjetey, he stressed that a name change may not provide enough grounds to disprove a person’s qualification as a lawyer.
He therefore sought to disabuse the citizenry of the misconception in Justice Kpegah’s suit against Nana Addo, stating that “I do not think that if you see a name like W.A.D. Akufo-Addo with Nana and a few things, then you say no, because I don’t see Nana Akufo Addo; therefore it is not a name. That one will create difficulties.”
“To me, I think it is a little petty because if the man was really called to the bar in 1970 or 71 abroad. Then he came to Ghana in 1975 and we find the name there, I think onus approved will be on anybody who is saying that he’s been impersonating the name W.A.D Akufo-Addo and that he is not the person. That onus approved should lie on whoever is saying it because I am not aware of any other lawyer going by that name W.A.D Akufo Addo.
“Akufo-Addo because I’ve known him for a very long time, know that he has some peculiar way of spelling his Akufo. He insists that it’s one “F” and not double “F”…I, myself, I changed the spelling of my name…I don’t think that it takes anything away from me being a Lawyer,”
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