General News of Friday, 24 February 2017
The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caucus in Parliament has said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) did not match the promises he made during the 2016 elections.
The address took a little over an hour, and the NDC Caucus said the President “hid behind the brevity” to avoid touching on many critical and vital sectors.
“Also, the address was fraught with inaccuracies, and signalled a horrendous failure of the Nana Akufo Addo Administration, to fulfil the many campaign promises, signalling rather tougher economic times ahead for Ghanaians.”
Addressing a news conference, at the Parliament House in Accra, Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South Haruna Iddrisu, pointed out that President Akufo-Addo did not speak about the provision of water, housing, roads, ”and a host of other critical social investments which were important for the survival of our people.”
Other areas, the Minority noted, which did not feature in the President’s address were housing, sports, tourism, and the tension and security situation in Bimbilla, among others.
“Even on the things that he touched on, he was high on platitudes and short on substance. Lofty rhetoric and propaganda dominated vast segments of his delivery and in the end, an opportunity was missed by him to carry Ghanaians along on his much-vaunted promises,” Mr Iddrisu said.
The Minority Leader wondered why President Akufo-Addo chose to talk about events in The Gambia and rather did not seize the moment to call for peace in the wake of the carnage and insecurity which had claimed innocent lives in Bimbilla, within Ghana, and continued to threaten the lives of the people in that area.
Mr Iddrisu said: “Nana Addo created an omission when he said charity begins at home, but failed to utter a word on the Bimbilla clashes, so we remind him that it is not just about what happenings elsewhere but in his backyard.
“He is concerned about developments in The Gambia, and we are also concerned about the insecurity in Bimbilla, and we have already put them on alert that let nobody come tomorrow regretting that there is an incident in Bawku or in Yendi and now we are coming to single out life and property to be lost. I think they must act on their intelligence.
“We heard practically nothing about Brexit and its implications on our trade relations with the UK. On health, he only decided to talk about the NHIS.
Mr Iddrisu said President Akufo-Addo was more on a statement of problems than suggesting solutions.
The Caucus said the President must act and move beyond condemning post-election violence and seizure of properties.
Citing an assault on a senior police officer ASP Nankan Bruce at the Flagstaff House, the NDC said: “the President must ensure a cessation of the unwarranted harassment and seizure of property belonging to leading figures of the NDC.”
Mr Iddrisu observed that “platitudes and exhortations will yield no results. Only stern action against persons violating Ghanaian law with impunity because their party has won elections is required.”
On President Akufo Addo’s announcement of his Administration “initiating”, this year, the rail-line from Takoradi to Paga with connection from the Western to the Eastern Corridor, Mr Iddrisu said the President failed to acknowledge that some work had already been done by the NDC under former President Mahama.
“The John Mahama Administration completed the beginning of the Western Rail-line by constructing the Sekondi Takoradi via Kojokrom Rail-line. In addition, a Railway Master plan which would form the basis of any further development of that sector was drawn up,” Mr Iddrisu said.
The Minority noted also that President Akufo- Addo did not say how the free Senior High School would be funded, to clear the confusion different statements by two Ministers as to the funding, and also was silent if the free SHS would cover continuing students in addition to fresh entrants next September.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, former Deputy Minister for Education, and MP for North Tongu debunked the President’s stance that the NDC left the economy in crisis.
“If you read the full State of the Nation Address, you will come to the conclusion that this economy cannot be a broke economy. This is the same economy that President Akufo Addo is saying that he is able to provide allowances to teacher trainees and nursing trainees.
“He is able to begin his free SHS programme and we should look forward to the Minister of Finance presenting his budget which will give us details on how he is going to do that. He is also upbeat about implementing a lot of his promises.”