NANA AKUFO-ADDO WOWS HOUSTONIANSWhen Nana Akufo-Addo arrived in Houston on Friday February 3, the weather was damp and wet. What lay ahead, on the other hand, was anything but damp; for the next day and a half, Nana Akufo Addo hopped from one speaking engagement to another eloquently detailing his vision for Ghana and enjoying the company of the people he aspires to lead. By the time he boarded the United flight from Houston to Washington DC to catch his return flight to Ghana, Houstonians had had such a healthy dose of intellect, vision, and mastery of the issues in Ghana that many wished the elections were scheduled for this week so that they can do now what they plan to do in December – change the government.
Nana Akufo-Addo was invited by the United States Congress to join President Obama and other world leaders for the Annual Congressional Prayer Breakfast held last Thursday at the Washington Hilton. Before returning home from that august engagement, Nana Akufo-Addo visited Houston on an invitation by the Houston Business community to articulate his economic vision for the country. With Houston as the energy capital of the world, and Ghana having added an oil dimension to her economy, it was imperative that Nana Akufo-Addo made an impressive entrance into the Space City. And he did.
From the first round of healthy applause and the pleasantly surprised look worn by members of the audience, it was clear that Nana's speech, carried live in Ghana by Oman and Citi FM stations, was set to receive positive acclaim. The NPP presidential candidate promised to make education the centerpiece of his administration by "putting the teacher first."
In particular, Nana touted his plan to redefine 'basic education' in Ghana as being from Kindergarten level to senior secondary level. The current definition fails to prepare the youth because many are under the impression that after completing junior secondary school, they have completed basic education and therefore do not need to continue. The emphasis Nana Akufo-Addo places on education is no accident. He recalls the quality public education he received in Ghana and how it prepared him to compete with his English peers when he attended prep school and public school in England, and promises to return the quality of Ghana's education to those good old days.
Later in the evening at the Petroleum Club, an Executive Dinner was held in his honor. The 43rd floor banquet facility provided an amazing view of Downtown Houston, but the guests paid little attention to it. The laser focus on the man who many believe to be the next president of Ghana was akin to that trained on innovators announcing a new invention. Furthermore, the relatively intimate setting provided an avenue for Nana Akufo-Addo to captivate the guests with his patently complete grasp of the issues facing Ghana. And just like he did at the corporate luncheon, he offered complete responses to questions posed by members of the business community. One guest remarked how unusual it was that an opposition leader was actually stomping for business for a country he does not yet lead.
On day two of Nana Akufo-Addo's visit to Houston, he held a town hall meeting with the Ghanaian community in Houston in an abbreviated overseas version of his listening tour. The open forum allowed him the opportunity to hear what issues are important to Ghanaians in the Diaspora. Surprisingly, however, traditional Diaspora issues like voting rights and dual citizenship did not dominate the question and answer session as much as corruption, jobs and economic growth did. One by one, Nana Addo answered questions on a wide range of issues from health care to oil revenue.
NPP-USA – Public Relations Committee