Outgoing President John Dramani Mahama has said he has respect for incoming president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo dating back to their days as Members of Parliament.
Mr Mahama, delivering his last State of the Nation address in Parliament on Thursday January 5, described his opposite number as a worthy opponent especially because they have both contested and won a presidential election.
Mr Mahama told parliament: “I first entered this house as MP for Bole Bamboi in January 1997. It was, perhaps not coincidental, the same year that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo entered as MP for Akyem Abuakwa.
Taking breaks from the business of the house to grab something to eat at the snack bar, Nana Akufo-Addo always stood at the end of the counter, his signature white handkerchief tucked into his sleeve. ‘Johnny’, he would shout in greeting as he preferred to call me. Incidentally we both served three terms in this house, departing together in January 2009.
“This is how long I have known the president-elect and worked with him. I have the utmost respect for him.
“Given our history, especially that we have each had our turn on each side of a presidential election, it would seem only natural for us to be considered opponents – ‘worthy opponents’ is the description generally used in the world of sports.” Mr Mahama added.
Mr Mahama wished the incoming Akufo-Addo administration well and advised other political opponents not to wish failure for the NPP.
“We cannot afford as a nation to wish or hope for the failure of any president and his or her government. Ensuring accountability is not the same as leveling insult or encouraging apathy. We have history as prove that we have been better and that we have done better and that we will and we must do better once again,” he noted.
Mr Mahama will hand over power as president to Nana Akufo-Addo on Saturday January 7, having lost the 2016 election to the NPP flag bearer.