Ex-President John Agekum Kufuor has expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for giving him the opportunity to serve the nation as president for eight years.

He said he was very grateful to the party for honouring him as its presidential candidate on two occasions and more importantly, working hard for him to become president of the country.

Against this background, the Gentle Giant, as he is affectionately called, promised to continue to work hard for the party to ensure that its ideals and vision are fulfilled to the fullest.

Ex-president Kufuor pledged to get involve in all democratic interactions in the party and also bring on board his experience in a decorous manner to ensure that the party grows from strength to strength.

He made these observations in a speech read on his behalf by Kofi Jumah, NPP Member of Parliament for Asokwa, on Saturday in Kumasi during the extraordinary conference of the NPP Foot Soldiers Club (NPPFSC).

The conference which was under the theme, “Uniting for victory in 2012” was attended by over 2000 activists including constituency co-coordinators from all the 230 constituencies.

Also in attendance were former ministers, District Chief Executives (DCEs), party gurus from the constituency, regional and national level.

He expressed optimism that the NPP would definitely recapture political power from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2012 elections.

He underscored that he was optimistic because the NDC had demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that it was incapable of managing the affairs of the country.

Stressing that the next NPP government would have the capability to repair any damage the NDC government would cause the nation, ex-president Kufuor cautioned the party to be mindful of the 2008 electioneering mistakes.

Noting that the members should be united and focused, the immediate past president cautioned the party members to desist from being lured into creating factions in the party.

“I don’t want to be part of any faction in the party, I don’t want a J.A Kufuor faction, Aliu Mahama faction, Nana Akufo Addo faction, Alan Kyerematen faction or whoever faction,” the ex-president stressed.

He observed that what he wants to be part of is a united NPP that is focused and determined to recapture political power so as to manage the affairs of the country competently once again.

Ex-president Kufuor emphasized that members of the party were one people with a common destiny, therefore they should not at any point in time do anything that would divide the party.

He urged the party members to continue to work hard towards strengthening democratic institutions in the country and also resist autocratic rule.

“We’ve moved beyond arbitrariness, let’s help the government to stay within the confines of the law by not allowing it to trample on the rights of the people,” ex-president Kufuor noted.

He stressed that the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in the country was not by accident but rather through hard work of his government and the total support of the citizenry.

Acknowledging that the country was presently enjoying goodwill in the eyes of the international community due to the exemplary leadership of his erstwhile administration, ex-president Kufuor hoped that the current government would take the baton and move the nation a nudge forward.

“I expect that our democratic credentials will be further enhanced, particularly in respect for human rights, due process of the law and commitment to build strong institutions that will conduct its work in a purely non partisan manner,” he indicated.

Concluding, ex-president Kufuor commended members of his erstwhile government for their dedication that saw a vast improvement in the country’s road network, agriculture, telephone communication, financial institutions and more importantly, credit for the ordinary people.

Among the speakers for the well-attended conference were Hon Mathew Opoku Prempeh, MP for Manhyia, Mary Brobbey, Ashanti regional women’s organizer of the party and the party’s Ashanti regional chairman of the council of elders, Akenten Appiah-Menka.

From Morgan Owusu, Kumasi/Ghana