Lt-General E.A. Erskine, the first Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), has endorsed the flag bearer of the Convention People's Party (CPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, for the presidency of Ghana.
Sharing his view on the 2008 election with the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra, the accomplished soldier said Dr Nduom had proven beyond all reasonable doubt that if he was given the opportunity to lead Ghana as President, Ghana would be much better under his adminstration.
He, however, conceded that the other Presidential candidates representing the New Patriotic Party, the National Democratic Congress and the People's National Convention were all excellent presidential materials who, if given the chance, "can lead this great nation and I have respect for all of them".
Lt. General Erskine, however, indicated that Nduom's distinguished public service and exposure made him unique among his colleagues in the presidential race.
To be an effective leader, Lt Gen Erskine said one needed to be intimately aware of the challenges facing the people at the grass roots level, particularly the rural folks who constitute the majority of the population.
Consequently, he said, he was very impressed with Dr Nduom's progression because he commenced his political career by seeking election into the district assembly, and for a period served as an Assemblyman in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo Abirem District (KEEA).
Following up on that he said, Dr Nduom contested and won a seat in Parliament and through the sound, nationalistic policy of inclusiveness of the NPP government under President Kufuor, Dr Nduom served in three ministerial portfolios on merit.
Dr Nduom, the General said, had equally been highly successful in the corporate world, having utilised his management and business skills, acumen and expertise to head consultants, as well as lead Ghana's team to negotiate and secure the $540m Millennium Challenge Account for the country.
"I am personally confident that Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom has fully demonstrated in both public and private life that he has the professional competence and enduring mental capacity and physical ability to pursue the noble aspirations of the country, " Lt Gen Erskine said.
Lt Gen Erskine, who is a member of the CPP's Council of Elders, formed and led the People's Heritage Party to contest but lost the presidential race in the 1992 general election.
He said the CPP was a major party in Ghana until its disbandment, following the military overthrow of its founder and leader, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, in 1966.
The party resurrected briefly in 1979 as the People's National Party (PNP) under President Hilla Limann but was overthrown on December 31, 1981 after which the Nkrumaist party became dormant until the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution.
The CPP in 1992 resurrected again but was totally fragmented with its attendant challenges of lack of cohesion, the lack of well identified and articulate party direction and most importantly lack of sound leadership.
Lt Gen Erskine said though the handicap still prevailed in the re-invigorated CPP, under Dr Nduom, he had "continued to soldier on, largely using his own resources and with the support of some committed members and well-wishes".
"The CPP is now back with a forward-looking, extremely hardworking, well-experienced, tested, youthful, exuberant and vibrant leader with a highly motivated and nationalistic hope for Ghana and her future," General Erskine stated.
Story by Kobby Asmah