President Akufo-Addo stunned majority of his audience yesterday when he mounted the podium at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel during the 12th Convocation of Advocates in Africa.
For a good part of his speech as special guest of honour at the programme – which was held under the auspices of the Christian Lawyers Fellowship Ghana (CLFG) – the president quoted the bible to elaborate his points.
He recalled how some 15 years ago, then as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, he had the privilege to address the first convocation of the Advocates.
Speaking under the theme, ‘Awake, awake, O Zion, put on your strength and beautiful garments,’ he considered it a blessing to have attended the programme in his capacity as President of the Republic of Ghana. He quoted Zechariah, saying it was “’not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.’”
“I cannot claim to be a biblical scholar, but my own, little understanding of the entirety of Isaiah Chapter 52, from whence the theme came, is that it borders on the subject of the deliverance of the Jews from captivity in Babylon. The encouragement given to them, from verses one to six, was for them to hope that God would deliver them from Babylon in his own way and time, assuring that there would be great joy and rejoicing on the day of deliverance,” he noted.
President Akufo-Addo said, “We in Ghana have also had our ‘captivity in Babylon’ moments. We have had to overcome several trials and tribulations: slavery, imperialism, colonialism, tyranny and dictatorship. We have held elections that were questionable. We have had rule by law, without rule of law. We have lived in a society which did not institutionalise a culture of aspirations and opportunities. This history led to an apparent weakening of the sense of self-confidence amongst our people.”
Nonetheless, he indicate, “What our long, tortuous history has taught us is that the spirit of the Ghanaian, in his or her quest for peace, progress and prosperity, cannot be quenched.”
In view of that, he underscored, “We are a determined lot who cannot be deterred. We have had our failures as a nation. But failure is never fatal so long as our courage to persevere prevails. We have seen how important it is to have a society that respects human rights.”
“In all of your work and advocacy, I urge you respectfully to be at the forefront of championing our efforts at believing in our nation’s capacity to build a modern, developed, progressive society, and free ourselves from a mindset of dependence, aid, charity and handouts,” he charged, saying, “With your help, we will build a new Ghanaian civilization, where there is fair opportunity for all in education and health, where hard work, enterprise and creativity are rewarded, where there is an abundance of decent jobs with good pay, where there is a dignified retirement for the elderly, and where there is a social safety net for the vulnerable and disadvantaged.”
He continued, “Together, let us also promote a spirit of reconciliation amongst all of us for the sake of our beloved Ghana and Africa, her progress and prosperity.
“Speak out against decadence in our country and on our continent. If we think that moral issues are decided by the times we live in, then we have been blinded to the truth. The Second Book of Corinthians Chapter 4 verses 3 and 4 tell us that ‘But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
President Akufo-Addo said he was very hopeful that the Almighty would give Ghana the necessary strength, compassion, humility and wisdom to chart a course that will draw the nation and continent closer to Him.
“Finally, my friends, colleagues and compatriots, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise worthy, meditate on these things,” the president charged.