THE State of the Nation address is a constitutional obligation enshrined in Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution which requires heads of state to address Members of Parliament (MPs) at the beginning of each session. Since the inception of the Fourth Republic, successive heads of state notably from the camps of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have been performing this constitutional mandate.
UNFORTUNATELY, this constitutional exercise, which is supposed to show the way forward for the country’s development agenda, has become a political “football or ritual” where a political party in power uses the platform to espouse its party’s agenda at the detriment of the whole nation. This has accounted for many failed promises made by past governments in their State of the Nation addresses making mockery of such a significant constitutional exercise.
THE irony is that no individual or institution holds our presidents accountable for the things that they say in their State of the Nation address. Our leaders have therefore found it convenient in treading on the path of promising heaven on earth when in parliament.
THIS, we find worrying especially as incumbent presidents have seen that as an opportunity to make unthinkable and unachievable promises. We therefore think that this trend ought to stop, especially where promises made are not fulfilled. We cannot continue to allow our leaders to ride on our backs for their political expediency while we keep on marking time hoping that things will be well in future for the country.
IT is time the State of Nation address became action-oriented where our leaders will be made to account for their stewardship by extension what they say in their State of Nation addresses every year as required by them by the constitution. For instance, President Mahama should have told Ghanaians the things he was able to do from his 2013 State of Nation address and what he could not do before giving us another litany of promises which were found to be a repetition of what he said in 2013.
AND until we begin to hold them [our heads of state] responsible and accountable we will continue to live in our shadows without making any positive impact as a nation. Let us all come together as nation irrespective of our political lineage and demand accountability from our presidents through the power of the thumb.