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Information available to the New Statesman indicates that seats have been oversubscribed for tonight’s special programme in London to mark Ghana’s independence.

The organisers, the Royal African Society and the SOAS Centre for African Studies, have been overwhelmed by public interest in the programme which will feature, the man voted Ghana’s most influential personality in 2013, Nana Akufo-Addo. Tonight’s event will mark Akufo-Addo’s first major public speech since August 29, 2013, the day Ghana’s Supreme Court dismissed his election petition with a controversial 5:4 split decision.

The theme of the programme is “Ghana, 57 Years After 1957: Recalibrating the Course of Progress”.

This evening’s popular event is expected to be aired live on a couple of Ghanaian radio stations and shown on Vox Africa, which airs on both DSTV in Africa and Sky in Europe. A GTV camera crew has also been sent to cover the event. The programme is from 6pm to 9pm.

The organisers had originally invited the 2012 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo, and Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK, Prof K Danso-Boafo, as the main speakers for the programme, which takes place at the School of Oriental Africa Studies, University of London, where the late President J E A Mills obtained his doctorate in the 1970s.

But, when information reached the Flagstaff House in Accra that Akufo-Addo had confirmed his participation, President John Mahama stepped in personally and decided to send his best General to London to face Ghana’s former Foreign Minister.

On Sunday morning, Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Hannah Tetteh, duly arrived in London, as the second main speaker for the event. Also in London are Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Seth Terpker, Communications Minister, Edward Omane Boamah, and Deputy Information Minister, Felix Ofosu Kwakye.

The programme will be chaired by former UK finance minister, Lord Paul Boateng of Kyebi & Wembley. Other speakers on the night are Dr Michael Amoah, Research Associate, Centre of African Studies, and Manji Cheto, Analyst and Vice President, Teneo Holdings.

According to sources at the Presidency, Government expects Nana Akufo-Addo to focus his speech on his 2012 campaign theme of Free SHS. “The Minister will announce to the world that the NDC government is already implementing it. We want to make sure that after Nana has spoken eloquently about his so-called vision for Ghana, the Minister will come and say that President John Mahama is already doing all that the opposition is dreaming of doing,” a senior source disclosed to the New Statesman with a chuckle.

Nana Akufo-Addo set the agenda for the last presidential election with his popular promise to extend basic education from kindergarten to secondary school, and to offer free education in all public schools for every child, including boarding students, who make up over 70 per cent of SHS students.

Free SHS and a comprehensive programme to transform the Ghanaian economy from being exporter of primary products to producer of value-added goods and services were his flagship manifesto promises in both his 2008 and 2012 presidential election campaigns under the ticket of the NPP.

Ghana’s respected statesman, Nana Akufo-Addo, left Accra with his wife, Rebecca, for London in September last year to take time off active politics to contemplate on his future. He is finally due back this month and there is a growing expectation within his party and among Ghanaians, generally, that he will be persuaded by his party members to run for the presidency for the third time. He is yet to speak on his political future. Sources close to him suggest that he will return to Accra in the early hours of Independence Day, March 6.

They, however, insist that he does not wish to be met by a crowd at the Kotoka International Airport that morning. His aides are, therefore, advising his supporters to come to his house later on in the day where he will be happy to receive people. Thursday, March 6 is a public holiday.

Meanwhile, at the weekend in London, the Young Executive Forum of the NPP UK branch held a home-going breakfast for Nana Akufo-Addo, where he was roundly urged by his party members in the UK to offer himself to lead the party again when he returns home. The NPP chooses its 2016 presidential candidate this year.
Source: thestatesmanonline.com

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