The President of Ghana , Nana Akufo-Addo, has revealed why his cousin turned Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has been quoting the bible upon the least public interactions, including Budget Statement and Economic Policy presentations in Parliament.
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, the conduct of the Finance Minister, is as a result of the “critical Christian upbringing drilled into” them “in the Ofori-Atta and Akufo-Addo homes”, adding “my religious faith, is an integral part of my legal and political calling”.
Delivering the Inaugural Africa lecture by the Museum of the Bible in Washington, USA, Mr Akufo-Addo, stated that as a result of this critical religious values imbibed in him, his faith in God as a Christian, has shaped his professional life as a lawyer and politician, and this has heavily influenced his vision for Ghana and Africa’s transformation.
In the last six years that he had been in charge of the economy, Ken Ofori-Atta, never spares any opportunity to quote a passage in the bible to either justify a tax policy or give hope as result of the economic hardship Ghanaians are experiencing.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga Central Constituency in the Upper East Region, Isaac Adongo, has not been happy with the Finance Minister’s ways, saying his constant white outfit and bible quotations are calculated tricks deployed by him, to give a false impression of piety to deceive Ghanaians into believing he is working for their interests.
But President Akufo-Addo, is reported as saying that the critical part of the Christian upbringing drilled into them, was that Christianity was a way of life, an everyday experience meant far more than going to church, which by the way was obligatory in the Ofori-Atta and Akufo-Addo homes.
“My own parents, as you can imagine, were staunch Presbyterians. I was baptised a Presbyterian, and became an Anglican, much to the vehement protests of my parents, as a result of the secondary school I attended in England. Let us say I became enamored with the rituals, daily Matins and Evensong, and the additional Sunday Eucharist, which were constant features of my four-year stay at school in Lancing”, he recalled.
These, according to him, have thoughtfully affected his practice as a Lawyer and Politician.
He thus conveyed in his lecture that, “often in law practice, things are not quite as cut and dried as they would seem or as one would wish. There would be times when no amount of experience or intellectual rigour would prepare you for the vicissitudes of the legal playground. On such occasions, it helps to be able to hark back to your faith and maybe the sound of your mother singing that ancient hymn: Who is on the Lord’s side? It helps to be on the Lord’s side, when you purport to seek or arbitrate for justice among humans.”
Citing sections of Sir Walter Beasant’s legal novel, “The Ivory Gate”, in which the author paints a most optimistic view of a lawyer in refreshing contrast to the way lawyers are usually portrayed in other books, he agreed with Sir Beasant’s quote that “the solicitor knows more than a Roman Catholic priest and carries greater responsibilities. It certainly helps to be a Christian and have an anchor that steadies you as you manoeuvre the turbulence of the everyday life that is legal practice.”
On his political trajectory, President Akufo-Addo said, the story of my struggles to become president of my country, are well known. My experiences have been a testimony of God’s love, and a vindication of the words of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter 19 verse 26, which says “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”.
Recounting, he said, “It took three tries between 2008 and 2016 for me to get elected. By which time, the popular catch phrases of “Akufo-Addo cannot be President”, “God does not want Akufo-Addo to be President”, “Akufo-Addo is short, and does not have the stature to be President” had become so prevalent, you had to be firmly rooted in your faith to have had the courage to persist”.
Placing emphasis on his true faith, President Akufo-Addo, told the gathering that, as a result, “I committed that third election campaign to God, and indicated to the Ghanaian people that “The Battle is the Lord’s”. By God’s grace, I won a famous victory against an incumbent President by a gap of nearly a million votes, the largest margin of victory for two decades. And, by the same Grace, I won re-election in the December 2020 elections, and I am now in my second and last term as President.