Presidential travels: Akufo-Addo should be listening to concerns raised – Ayikoi Otoo
A former Attorney General and a leading Member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) , Nii Ayikoi Otoo has said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo should be listening to the concerns raised about his foreign travels if he really wants to hand over power to a government of the NPP after the 2024 elections.
Mr Ayikoi Otoo who is a former Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada during President Akufo-Addo’s first term, believes that the president would not act in ways that would jeopardize the chances of the NPP in the next elections.
Speaking in an interview with TV3’s Dzifa Bampoh, he said “Presidential travels are top secret matters and therefore, they do not think it should be handled by the public or what people are calling transparency, the president’s security is very important.
“It is because of the security aspects that is why the presidential jet is ran and handled by the Military. It is a policy matter, it is a security matter.”
He added “He is listening and he keeps saying he would love to hand over power to an NPP government. I don’t think that he will wish to do things that will rather jeopardize that opportunity, so he should be listening. I am sure within the shortest possible time we should find a solution to this problem that has to be tackled.
“If you endanger your future government, because he is doing his second term which means constitutionally, he can’t run anymore, and you want to hand over they will say because of these things that the President did we will not give you the opportunity, then your wish to hand over to an NPP government will fizzle out.”
It is recalled that the Minister of State at the Ministry of Interior who is also the Member of Parliament of Abetifi constituency, Mr Bryan Acheampong, recently that he advised the Minister of National Security Albert Kan Dapaah not to release information on President Akufo-Addo’s trips outside Ghana.
He said during the debate on the 2022 budget statement on Tuesday November 23 that information about the President’s travels could not be made public because of national security reasons.
He said “anytime our president travels he returns with goodies. He visited Germany and he came home with vaccines. Anytime he travels, he comes with goodies.”
Mr Acheampong added “I advised the Minister of National Security to keep the information on presidential travels secret.
“It is not every information that can be divulged to the public. Hitherto, it was information that can be shared but it is no longer information that can be played in the Political arena,” he said.”
The Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta had earlier answered Member of Parliament for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa on his urgent question regarding the cost of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s three-nation travel to France, Belgium and South Africa.
Mr Ablakwa who is the Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, said the entire expenditure of the travel could have been used to fix a lot in the country.
He questioned why the presidential jet was abandoned despite being in good condition for a luxurious aircraft owned by Acropolis Aviation based in the UK.
He filed the two-fold question in May.
The Finance Minister however, failed to be in the House, since then, to answer the question on the cost, requesting more time on the first occasion his attention was drawn to the question.
On Wednesday, July 21, however, Mr Ofori-Atta said he did not release any funds to the Office of Government Machinery (OGM) this year in line with the 2021 budget implementation instructions.
“The current practice is that the Ministry of Finance releases quarterly funds to the Heads of Department, in this case, Office of Government Machinery, Chief of Staff for all the operational activities of the office,” he said.
“To facilitate the safe coordination of the President’s travels, domestic and foreign, the Office of Government Machinery and the National Security Secretariat work together to achieve this.
“Mr Speaker, the President’s domestic and international travels are matters to do with National Security. The National Security Minister is best placed to furnish this Honourable House with the details needed,” he said.
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