President John Dramani Mahama has stated that he will respect the verdict of the Supreme Court on the petition challenging the results of the December 7 presidential election.
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Such a disposition, he said, stemmed from the fact that he and members of his government remained committed to the oath they had sworn to abide by the Constitution.
President Mahama was responding to a call by the Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, on all political parties and Ghanaians to respect the Supreme Court ruling on the election dispute at the Flagstaff House, Kanda in Accra, Tuesday.
The Okyenhene, who is also the President of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, led a delegation of chiefs from the Eastern Region to congratulate the President on his election victory at the Flagstaff House.
The delegation also used the occasion to discuss some challenges facing the region.
The petition challenging the validity of the 2012 presidential election was filed by the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2012 elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, against President Mahama and the Electoral Commission.
President Mahama condemned increasing insults to his person by some politicians who were contesting his victory in the 2012 presidential election.
He said some individuals in responsible positions at every stage held rallies and insulted the President because of their disagreement with the election results.
He, therefore, asked chiefs, religious leaders and civil society groups to be bold and identify the people and talk to them directly.
President Mahama said he had never insulted people in his political life and still remained committed to not engaging in any insults.
He said the people engaged in the insults were known, saying, "We know who those people are."
The President said the fact that people belonged to different political parties did not make them enemies, adding, "We are all Ghanaians; we are not enemies."
He said it was the electorate and God who decided who should govern a country at every point in time and indicated that aggrieved parties had the right to go to court to have their grievances addressed.
He said once the issue of disagreement over the election results had been taken to court, "let us leave it to the court to decide".
On developments in the Eastern Region, President Mahama said the government would improve the road network, build a regional hospital, clinics and schools in the region.
He gave an assurance that the Eastern Region, by its size and contribution to agriculture and gold production, would be given its due share of national development.
On illegal mining, he said the government would continue to encourage legal and responsible small-scale mining by citizens who would reclaim the land after mining.
He said foreigners were not allowed to engage in small-scale mining, since that area was reserved for citizens of Ghana.
Earlier, the Okyenhene had underscored the need for political leaders and all Ghanaians to be prepared to respect the Supreme Court ruling on the election petition.
He again asked political leaders to impress on their people to refrain from insulting their political opponents.
The Okyenhene asked the government to consult with chiefs when it came to the appointment of regional ministers and district chief executives because chiefs lived in the communitiess and knew those who could address the challenges in the districts and the regions.
He asked the government to facilitate the decentralisation process to allow the people to determine their own development needs.
He mentioned poor roads as one of the challenges facing the Eastern Region and asked the government to work on the situation.
The Okyenhene wished President Mahama well and long life on his assumption of office as President of Ghana.
He expressed the hope that the team that the President had put together would assist him to run the affairs of the country to bring about success and development.
In a related development, members of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs, led by the President of the house, Nayiri Naa Bohagu Abdulai Sheriga, also called on the President to congratulate him on his election victory.
Speaking on developments in the Northern Region, President Mahama said the three regions of the north lagged behind in development because of the lack of education occasioned by the country's colonial past.
He gave an assurance that the government would promote education in the three regions, develop infrastructure and create economic opportunities.
The President, therefore, asked the people to embrace the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) which sought to create economic opportunities in the Savanna ecological zone and close the poverty gap between the north and the south.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Nayiri congratulated President Mahama on his success in the election and expressed appreciation for the inclusive posture adopted by the President.
He asked President Mahama to continue in his effort at building bridges, irrespective of people’s political, ethnic or gender orientation.
The Nayiri asked the President to have an open-door policy for chiefs to have regular sessions with him to discuss issues of national importance.
He asked Ghanaians to continue to work in harmony for the development of the country.
Story by Musah Yahaya Jafaru