Nana Sworn In
Despite NDC Boycott
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent
President Akufo-Addo yesterday took the oath of office to commence his four-year second term mandate.
This was in spite of a boycott staged by the Minority side of Parliament, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), in protest of his election as declared by the Electoral Commission (EC).
Moments after taking the presidential oath, which was administered by the Chief Justice, Justice Enin Yeboah, in the presence of the new Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the President delivered his inaugural speech in which he promised to better the lives of Ghanaians having laid a solid foundation in his first term of office.
This was at a short but colourful ceremony in the House of Parliament.
He said that his election was a demonstration of the confidence and trust the Ghanaian people had reposed not only in him in appreciation for the achievements chalked throughout his first four years, but more significantly for the considerable amount of work that was to be done over the next four years, in the drive to take the nation firmly onto the path of progress, prosperity and development, following the havoc wreaked by COVID-19.
“This is a task I wholeheartedly accept, and I assure all Ghanaians that I will do my utmost to deliver on this mandate,” he said.
That, he said, was because “the accomplishment of this mandate is going to take place within the context of Ghana’s maturing democracy” since “the Ghanaian people have manifested, time and again, in these 28 years of the Fourth Republic, their determination to build a free, democratic and peaceful nation, which is respectful of individual liberties and human rights, the rule of law and the principles of democratic accountability.”
A governance structure built on the separation of powers, according to him, provides the best vehicle for the protection of these values, with a well-resourced Judiciary and Parliament as the principal accountability organs of the State.
That, he said, “has been the main thrust of public policy in these past four years, and will continue to be so in the next” and that “the unity and stability of our country are the welcome outcomes of such a development.”
“This is how we can ensure, in the words of one of the great figures of Ghanaian nationalism, the illustrious Joseph Boakye Danquah, that we have “a system of government under which those who are in control of government are under the control of those who are governed,” he emphasized.
For him, “the sheer can-do-spirit of the Ghanaian, which I have witnessed all my life, is the bedrock on which we can build the Ghana of our dreams.”
He recalled how four years ago, at his first inauguration, he urged all Ghanaians to be, ‘citizens and not spectators’ and appealed to his countrymen to be active participants in the effort to help build the democratic, free, prosperous and united Ghana envisioned by the nation’s founding fathers as the Black Star of Africa.
“In my first term as President, I was able to count on the contribution of all citizens in attempting to create this Ghana. What I have seen these last four years is further evidence, if any were needed, that the Ghanaian will no longer accept poverty and deprivation as his or her portion, but is rather determined to work to chart a path of growth and development for himself or herself,” he said.
His reason was simple, “today, our economy, even in the face of the global pandemic of COVID-19, continues to show resilience and a much faster rate of recovery than originally envisaged, and was, indeed, one of the fastest growing economies in the world in 2020.”
The President noted with pride that “Ghana remains one of the most attractive destinations on the continent for foreign direct investment, with the presence in the country of some of the world’s largest conglomerates attesting to this fact.”
To that end, he insisted that “establishing a strong economy, undergoing structural transformation to value-added activities, which will generate jobs for our young people and enhance their living standards, will be the main preoccupation of my second term.
Together, he said “we are ensuring that the basic tenets of social justice are met.”
Even though many said it was beyond his government, he noted that “we have ensured that financial considerations no longer determine the fate of the Ghanaian child” and that “because of the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, once willing and able, senior high school education
is the minimum education to be received by every Ghanaian child.”
Aside that, he indicated that “access to quality health care is no more a luxury ordinary people cannot afford, following the revival of the National Health Insurance Scheme,” saying “our aim is to reach Universal Health Coverage as soon as possible.”
Also, he noted that “food production has increased significantly, and a conscious effort has been made to improve the living standards of our farmers,” while “the newly constructed warehouses dotted across the country are storing the surpluses for export to our neighbours, and the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs has become the veritable rock on which the successful future of our agriculture is being built.”
“Our roads are being constructed at a much faster pace than before, and, yes, I acknowledge there are still many more kilometres to construct. We defined last year as ‘The Year of Roads’. This year will be the second ‘Year of Roads’, as we continue with our focus on dealing with the deficit in our road infrastructure,” the President said.
He was confident that “the development of our rail sector, on which considerable resources and energies are being devoted, will open up the country, and lead to the creation of a more connected society, and will, also, help realize the goal of regional and continental integration.”
He stressed the fact that the arrival of COVID-19 drove home the lesson to all Ghanaians to be self-reliant hence the need to set up buffers of protection in all aspects of the economy.
“So, when there was a shortage in the supply of personal protective equipment, at a time when they were being sold at extortionist prices on the world market, the enterprise of the Ghanaian shone through. We produced, right here in Ghana, our own sanitizers, face masks, medical scrubs, gowns, liquid soap amongst others. We can, indeed, build a Ghana Beyond Aid, if we make full use, as we must, of the enterprise and ingenuity of our people, especially our young people,” he emphasized.
He thus noted that “the prominent role being played by young people in the digitization journey of our nation is strong proof of the feasibility of this objective, and Ghana is set to become one of the most digitized economies in Africa in the next few years.”
In this same vein, he said “I expect the locally produced Eku juice, one of the results of government’s “One-District-One-Factory” flagship policy, to replace rapidly the imported fruit juices on the shelves of our supermarkets, not because anyone will so decree, but because the quality of the locally produced one is as good, if not superior.”
Even though he could not vouch for the taste and potency of the locally manufactured gin, Akpeteshie, since he gave up on alcohol several years ago, President Akufo-Addo insisted, “I can say that the Made in Ghana and beautifully packaged ‘Apio’, I have recently seen, can compete in the most sophisticated markets in the world.”
“My boundless confidence in the energy of the Ghanaian makes me believe that we can become the prosperous nation we aspire to, and soon. We have good reason to be proud of what we have been able to achieve so far,” he said.
“I pledge before this august House and the good people of Ghana that all I do will be for the common good, and with the firm foundation laid in my first term of office, we shall take a significant step towards reducing the infrastructure deficit that has plagued us all throughout our nationhood,” was his commitment to duty and care.
Going forward, he indicated that “the remaining 15% of our communities without electricity would be covered by the end of my second term,” saying “we have already begun constructing hospitals in the remaining districts that do not have one – a process which will be completed within a year.”
Apart from that, he said “the percentage of Ghanaians without access to potable water is set to reduce significantly, following the commencement of work on a number of water supply projects across all parts of the country” since in his own words “the majority of our people live in unacceptable housing, and we shall tackle the problem with vigour.”
He has therefore invited all Ghanaians to join in the exciting business of developing the country.
“There are endless opportunities if we remain united. What our forebears dreamed of, we will achieve! If we inherited dreams and visions from our founding
fathers we should leave legacies of achievements and realities to our children and their children. For, I believe in the limitless prospects of Ghana and of us, its people. So, let us be up and doing, and with faith in the Almighty, seize our destiny,” was his charge.