And Fulfil The Hopes And Aspirations Of Ghanaians – Prez Assures
By Frank Amponsah
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has indicated there are better days ahead if Ghanaians would continue in the spirit of reconciliation, fairness, integrity and hard work.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “our goal has to be constant – to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of Ghanaians, who yearn for improvements in their living standards, in conditions of peace, security and solidarity, and to put Ghana onto the path to sustained progress and prosperity.”
He said “We can hope for a brighter future, because we are blessed with enormous wealth and human potential.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known yesterday at the inter-faith thanksgiving service held at the Independence Square in Accra to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the establishment of the 4th Republic.
With the country experiencing the longest, uninterrupted period of stable, constitutional governance in our history, he stated that this period had banished the spectre of instability that disfigured the early years of Ghana’s existence, and the benefits are showing.
Mentioning some of the benefits, the President noted that Ghana has witnessed sustained growths in the size of the economy; rising levels of per capita real incomes; systematic expansion of the private sector; and taken strong measures to try to protect our lands, water bodies and environment from the menace of environmental degradation.
Additionally, over the last 25 years, efforts to meet the most basic elements of social justice, including education from kindergarten through to secondary school, and accessible healthcare to all our citizens, are on-going.
The President indicated further that the under the 4th Republic, media freedom has been entrenched; attachment to the rule of law, probity and accountability, respect for individual liberties, human rights, the principles of democratic accountability and social justice have been deepened; and an environment in which government and regulatory policies attempt to enhance, rather than inhibit or frustrate, trade, commerce and investments is being created.
Democracy, equality of opportunity and respect for human rights, ideals which have stood the test of time, President Akufo-Addo said, have now found firm anchor in the country’s body politic.
This, he added, is evidenced in the election of 5 Presidents in the history of this Republic, and “even when there was disagreement with the outcome of an election, it was the Supreme Court, rather than the streets, that determined its result.”
Despite all these gains, the President indicated that Ghana has not reached the potential she should have.
“The biggest challenge we face continues to be eradicating widespread poverty. We still have challenges in the performance of our public services; we face threats, traditional and contemporary, to our nation’s security and social stability, in the form of chieftaincy conflicts, land disputes, ethnic conflicts, vigilantism, cyber security issues, youth unemployment, economic hardships, and corruption in our public life,” he said.
In addressing these challenges, the President told the gathering that “we have begun to take a deep look at the structure of our economy, and transform it, from a raw material producing and exporting one to a value-added, industrialised economy, with a modernised agriculture, to serve better our needs.”
He maintained that the era of Ghana’s industrialisation has dawned, so that we can trade in the global marketplace, not on the basis of raw materials, but on the basis of things we make, inspired by our sense of enterprise, creativity and innovation.
“It is the most effective way we can generate jobs and wealth for the masses of our people, and join the ranks of the developed, prosperous nations of the world.” he said.
With Ghana’s obligation to the unity and integration of the region and continent remaining, President Akufo-Addo stressed that achieving functioning, common regional and continental markets will help consolidate the process of structural transformation of our economy, on which we are engaged, and will, thus, help open up the space for accelerated development.
The day was celebrated with all past president’s reading scriptures from the Bible in turns at the ceremony.
Mr. Rawlings read first followed Mr.Kufuor and Mr. Mahama in that order.
Mr. Rawlings was the first president of the fourth republic which began on 7 January 1993 after the 1992 elections.
After two terms, he was succeeded by Mr Kufuor who in turn was succeeded by Prof John Evans Atta Mills after also serving two terms. Prof Mills, however, died before the end of his first term, thus, paving the way for then-Vice-President Mahama to inherit the presidency. Mr Mahama won elections in 2012 and lost to Nana Akufo-Addo in 2016 making him the first-ever living Ghanaian president to have served just a term.
Meanwhile, the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) has also congratulated the country for marking her 25th Anniversary as a Republic.
The CCG said 25 years under a Fourth Republic, in peace and stability, was no mean achievement.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Sunday, the Reverend Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, General Secretary of the CCG, said: “We give thanks to God for how far He has brought us.
“We want to give thanks to God for his grace and mercy towards us, especially in leading us to a new year in 2018.”
He said moving forward as a nation, and with 25 years without any military interference, the people and the Government of Ghana must glorify the Lord and use the lessons learnt to guide the present and the future, especially during elections.
“We have a lot to learn, especially during elections. Whenever we are close to an election, it is like our country is about to break due to instances of violence, which cause fear and panic,” Rev. Opuni-Frimpong said.
He said Ghana could have peaceful election devoid of fear and panic while the political parties must demonstrate to the people that they had learnt something as leaders over the 25 years.
Rev. Opuni-Frimpong said the vigilante groups must be talked to, to channel their energies into productive ventures rather than engaging in vandalism, which retarded progress.
The CCG has, meanwhile, commended the current administration for its resolve to better the lots of Ghanaians through the laudable social intervention programmes.
It however, advised the Government to depoliticise those interventions and make them national ideas and projects, especially the Free Senior High School Policy.