A Presidential aspirant of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, has called on delegates who will elect the flag bearer of the party in December this year to consider the track record of any of the aspiring candidates in order to make the right choice.
Dr Apraku said the failure to do this would invariably have serious ramifications for the party in the 2008 general election.
He made the call at the end of the tour of the Ashanti Region to present himself to the party executive and other functionaries to solicit their votes in the forthcoming NPP delegates' conference.
Dr Apraku, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Offinso North, said some members of the party, including him had sacrificed their lives and contributed in kind and in cash to make the party what it was today, and urged the delegates to be more circumspect in their choice of a flag bearer for the party.
He stressed that being a bureaucrat, a technocrat or a professor alone could not make one a politician and that anyone who wanted to be a politician should have the guts to go through the mill.
This was because only those who had been tried and tested through an election and come out victorious could articulate their views and ideas and engage in mature discussions both at the local and international levels.
He said in this globalised world, it was prudent for any leader to have both a broad horizon and outlook in order to meet the challenges ahead.
In academic field, Dr Apraku said he taught in three American Universities as an Economics and Finance Professor from 1983 to 1996.
At the University of North Carolina, he said he was granted a tenure position in 1995 and was also the runner-up to the Teaching Excellence Award in 1995.
He said in 1991, he published his first book, “African Émigrés in the United States: A Missing Link in Africa's Economic and Social Development.”
He said the seminal book published by the Greened Press, New Jersey, outlined the economic and social contributions that could be made by Africans in the Diaspora to help push Africa's development, efforts forward.
The aspiring flag bearer said the book caught the attention of the late Professor Adu Boahen, who was then a visiting professor at the Cornell University, and invited him for a meeting at Itaca, New York City, to discuss a future economic agenda for a post-Rawlings democratic Ghana.
Dr Apraku said it was decided after the meeting that he should proceed to Ghana to join in the struggle for democratic change that had started and to provide an economic input into the agenda for change.
Consequently, he said, he took a one-year sabbatical leave from the University of North Carolina and came to Ghana, where he served actively on a research committee that wrote the constitution, the manifesto and selected the name and symbol of the party, now the NPP.
On his international achievements, Dr Apraku told the delegates that it was in 1994 that he was appointed by the United Nations (UN) as one of the team leaders to a UN Election Monitoring Team to South Africa to help prepare and conduct the first all-race democratic elections.
He said he distinguished himself in the six months he spent there and received the highest staff evaluation there.
The presidential aspirant said after being acknowledged by the UN for his high leadership and professional skills on his return from South Africa, he was again sent to Croatia to help in the reconstruction efforts of the UN after the war.
He said he was initially selected as an economic officer and eventually appointed as the head of the economic reconstruction unit.
He added that after the 2000 elections, he was appointed by President Agyekum Kufuor as the Minister of Trade and Industry.
Dr Apraku said at that ministry, he truly demonstrated his commitment to the development of the private sector.
He said he established and operationalised the Export Development and Investment Fund, which provides credit to the private sector operators, especially those in the export sector.
The MP said he restructured the Ghana Export Promotion Council which gave an added impetus for export of non-traditional products. He added that initiative increased the non-traditional exports by about 20 per cent each year between 2001 and 2003.
Dr Apraku said he also worked for the passage of the Ghana Investment Fund Bill, which was to assist and reactivate distressed companies in Ghana, adding that even though it had been passed by Parliament, it was yet to be operationalised.
Story: Nana Yaw Barimah, Asante-Mampong