Nana Akufo Addo Inaugurated as President of Ghana
by Kwabena Opong
Accra, Ghana, January 7 Ghanaians gathered at the fa- mous Independence Square in the nation’s capital to inaugurate the country’s new President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and his running mate Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia Saturday, January 7. In his premier speech to the nation after taking the oath of office the president paid trib- ute to the founding fathers of the West African nation that included Archie Casely Hayford through the famous Big Six.
The three-time presidential contender bemoaned the rate of development as a nation in his country’s 60 years of inde- pendence and lamented, “I suspect that those early na- tionalists will be disappointed if they came today and saw the level of development we have achieved in 60 years of independence.”
He reiterated his campaign message to return Ghana to a promise of ensuring that poli- tics should enable freedom, economic prosperity and the rule of law. Quoting Dr. J. B. Danquah, his grand uncle, President Addo Dankwa said, governance is obliged “to liberate the energies of the peo- ple for the growth of a property owning democracy in this land,with right to life, freedom and justice as the principles which the government and the laws of the land should be dedicated in order specifically to enrich life, property and liberty of each and every citizen.”
He appealed to Ghanaians to regard their citizenship more as a call to duty in joining to build the nation. Citizens must be central to the change that he and his party called for.
Nana Addo Dankwa also recalled late Prime Minister K. A. Busia’s call to regard “… politics as an avenue of service to our fellow man. We hold that political power is to be exercised to make life nobler and happier. Our success or failure should be judged by the quality of the individual, by his knowledge, by his skills, by his behavior as a member of society, the standard of living he is able to enjoy and by the degree of harmony and brotherliness in our community life as a nation.” President Akufo Addo repeated his campaign message of integrity in public service adding that “we must restore integrity in public life, state coffers are not spoils for the party that wins an election,” a veiled reference to the misappropriation of public funds by the former ruling NDC. Public service, he explained was just that: public service, and not an avenue for making money. He exclaimed, “I shall protect the public purse, by insisting on value for money in all trans- actions.” It is in this vein that he called for a review of parts of the constitution to insure decentralization and the citizens’ commitment to good governance. A review of the Constitution, he said, should also strengthen the legislature and the judiciary. A strong judiciary, he said insures the rule of law as enshrined in the principle of the separation of powers. As an assurance to the youths of the nation, the president acknowledged the bountiful talent inhered in them that need to be tapped and utilized for the development of the nation. Ghana, he said was open for business again and that the climate would be enabled to stimulate a vibrant private sector. Among other measures, he reit- erated his campaign message to reduce taxes. He assured the nation of his government’s com- mitment to create wealth and to embrace science and technology in achieving the desired results.
The legal luminary assured visiting African leaders that the continent would continue to be the cornerstone of his country’s foreign policy. “We will work with our neighbors and friends on the continent to enhance peace, democracy and political stability in our part of the world. We will reassert vigorously, the Pan-African vocation to which our nation has been dedicated – integration of our region and our continent will be a strategic objective of Ghanaian policy,” he averred.
The colorful event was attended by twenty African presidents and heads of state including the Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Governments of the AU; H.E. Idriss Deby, President of the Republic of Chad and the Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS; H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia. Alassane Dramane Ouattara of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire was the special guest of honor. Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Maky Sall,the Republic of Senegal; Faure Gnassingbé, the Republic of Togo; Professor Alpha Conde, the Republic of Guinea Conakry; Patrice Jalore, the Republic of Benin; Ernest Bai Koroma, the Republic of Sierra Leone; Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the Republic of Mali; and Roch Marc Christian Kabore, the Republic of Burkina Faso were also present.
From East and Central Africa came Presidents Denis Sassou Nguesso, of the Repub- lic of Congo, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Ali Bongo, of the Republic of Gabon, and Edgar Lungu of the Republic of Zambia. Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, as well as former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan together with representatives from various African and other countries also witnessed the investiture.