Remain steadfast President Charges Ghanaians
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on Ghanaians to remain steadfast in defence of the country’s democracy.
Quoting Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s Independence Declaration: ‘Ghana, your beloved country, is free forever’, the President stressed: “We will defend that freedom with the last drop of our blood, as we remain dedicated to its preservation.”
Addressing the 62nd National Independence Day Parade at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital, yesterday, President Akufo-Addo admonished Ghanaians to remain steadfast and united and work hard towards achieving the goal, as "the goal is within reach".
He said on March 6, every year when Ghanaians celebrated the independence anniversary, “we celebrate the strength that comes from speaking with a united voice; we celebrate the coming together of different peoples to make the united and strong nation of Ghana”.
President Akufo-Addo observed that the diversity that went into weaving the fabric of Ghana “is a source of strength and not of weakness; it is a source of pride and not of shame”.
He reminded all that being a Ghanaian put an obligation on everybody to work at establishing a progressive and happy nation, and that “calling yourself a Ghanaian must mean we look out for each other.
It means also that we must look after the land, the trees, the rivers, the mountains, the animals, all of God’s creatures, that represent this nation of Ghana”.
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That obligation, he said, underlay the fight against galamsey, to which he was irrevocably committed.
Ghana Beyond Aid
President Akufo-Addo reiterated the fact that in spite of the challenges and difficulties that the nation was confronted with, the government was on course to reaching its goal of a Ghana Beyond Aid for a free, fair, democratic, self-reliant and prosperous Ghana governed by the rule of law and respect for human rights.
That, he said, was in line with the vision of the founders of the country who fought tirelessly for the liberation of the country and the continent from foreign domination.
"As we celebrate our nation's 62nd birthday, we should be fortified in the knowledge that, despite our challenges and difficulties, we are on course to reaching our goal of a Ghana Beyond Aid," he stressed.
A total of 61 officers and 602 men and women from the security services, comprising the Navy, the Army, the Air Force, the Ghana Police Service, the Prisons Service, the Immigration Service, the Fire Service and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), formed the parade.
Some 551 teachers, students and pupils from selected basic and second-cycle schools in the Tamale metropolis and the Sagnerigu municipality also took part in the parade.
It was under the command of Naval Captain Samuel Ayelazono, with the mass band, comprising the GAF and the police, in attendance to dish out regimental, patriotic and inspirational songs for the march past.
President Akufo-Addo expressed regret that besides the chieftaincy institution, politics had been the source of friction in the country, adding that the political parties had a greater responsibility to set a proper tone for political discourse in the country.
He said it took a long time for concensus to emerge on multi-party democracy as the form of governance for the country, after years of a deliberate campaign to give competitive politics a bad name to justify military or authoritarian rule.
He said although there was necessarily divergence of opinions under multi-party democracy, as democracy thrived on debate, in the midst of the arguments there must always be mutual respect for opposing viewpoints.
The President said while multi-party democracy produced keenly fought elections, “there is no room, and there should be no room, for violence in this whole process”, adding that success should be counted by how many young people went to school and got skills and jobs and not by how many young people could be marshalled to disrupt elections or how many broken bones we could count.
“The people of Ghana do not deserve to be toyed with in such a reckless manner,” he stressed.
While admitting that political violence was offensive and brought shame on politicians, he expressed the hope that the upcoming dialogue between the two major political parties, the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress, who between them had provided all the seven governments of the Fourth Republic, would succeed.
“I will spare no effort, including the initiation of the relevant legislation, to ensure that we rid our nation of politically related violence, "President Akufo-Addo indicated.
He called for public collaboration and support for the Ghana Police Service, saying: “The co-operation starts with giving respect to the police and encouraging them to earn the trust of the people by serving the public with dedication.”
President Akufo-Addo acknowledged the reforms in the Ghana Police Service (GPS) which had so far led to its own rules and regulations reviewed to reposition it to become a world-class service, capable of delivering planned, protective and peaceful services to meet the standards of international best practice.
He reaffirmed the government's resolve to retool the Police Service to effectively fight crime and protect lives and property.
“I congratulate the security agencies on their work and their readiness to put their lives on the line for the rest of us.
I urge them to continue to be professional at all times,” he said.
Peace in Dagbon
He said the commemoration of the 62nd Independence anniversary in Tamale was not only to underline the unity of Ghana but also express the appreciation of the nation for the peace and reconciliation that had begun in Dagbon since the enskinment of Yaa Naa Mahama Abukari II as the Overlord of Dagbon on January 25, 2019.
“After decades of being identified with unrest and disharmony, Dagbon has good reason to celebrate, and it is fitting that we use the opportunity of our independence anniversary to converge here and celebrate with them on the theme of peace and unity,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo, however, turned the spotlight on the chieftaincy institution in the country, saying: “When it works, our chiefs provide the cohesive link to our past and what defines us as a people.”
Chieftaincy must work, he said, because it was an embodiment of culture and the rock on which the people leant for support, including being the custodians of lands in many parts of the country.
Special Guest of Honour
The President of Niger, Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, who was the Special Guest of Honour, commended Ghana for being the first African country in West Africa and Africa to attain independence and was now a shining democracy on the African continent.
He congratulated the people of Ghana on upholding peace and stability, which he said was the envy of many countries in the sub-region.
He expressed his country’s desire to deepen the existing relationship between it and Ghana for the betterment of their citizens.