President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday paid homage to Ghana’s forebears, expressing optimism that their struggle, vision and dreams that gave the nation independence would be achieved.
“I am confident that we can achieve the dreams of our forebears. I am hopeful that we will be worthy inheritors of this land.
“Let us mobilise for the happy and prosperous Ghana of tomorrow, in which all of us, including our youth, our women and the vulnerable in our society, will have equal opportunities to realise our potential, and build lives of dignity. Then, our independence will be meaningful.”
President Akufo-Addo expressed the optimism when he delivered his speech at the Black Star Square in Accra to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Ghana’s independence.
The theme for the anniversary is: “Mobilising for Ghana’s future.”
The programme was attended by foreign Heads of State including President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo, Prime Minister of Mali, Madiba Keita, Vice President of the Gambia, Fatoumata Tambajang and Zambian Vice President Inonge Mutukwa Wina, as well as former Nigerian Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo.
There were also delegations from Algeria, Morocco, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Guinea.
Also in attendance were Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and his wife Samira, the Speaker of Parliament, Mike Aaron Ocquaye, Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, the Chief of Staff, Frema Opare, former President Rawlings and his wife, Nana, the Chairperson of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, members of the diplomatic community, members of parliament, and senior government officials.
President Akufo-Addo noted that though Ghana’s forebears won the country political freedom with the expectation that the country would develop rapidly, that prospect had not yet materialised.
He observed that the economic dividend that should have accompanied the freedom that independence brought had been elusive, stating: “We have run out of excuses and it is time to set Ghana to rights and get our country to where it should be.”
“The challenge before us is to build our economy and generate a prosperous, progressive and dignified life for the mass of our people. Hard work, enterprise, creativity, discipline and a consistent and effective fight against corruption in public life would bring the transformation we seek,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said for Ghana to achieve those goals there ought to be unity of purpose by all and sundry, saying: “We must take pride in our diversity by all means, but the Ghanaian must always rise above the ethnic or sectional interest.”
“We have a bright future, and we must mobilise all our resources and all our strengths, here and in the… Diaspora, to get to that promised land of prosperity faster.”
The President used the occasion to also draw attention to the need to protect the environment from degradation, as the country’s water bodies, varied trees, plants and fauna were being largely wiped out.
“It is turning out to be a constant refrain, I know, but, on a day like this, we cannot ignore the state of our environment. We are endangering the very survival of the beautiful and blessed land that our forebears bequeathed to us.
“Today, we import timber for our use, and the description of our land as a tropical forest no longer fits the reality. Our rivers and lakes are disappearing, and those that still exist are all polluted.
President Akufo-Addo said: “It bears repeating that we do not own the land, but hold it in trust for generations yet unborn.”
He said though Ghanaians had the right to exploit the bounties of the earth and extract the minerals and even redirect the path of the rivers. “But we do not have the right to denude the land of the plants and fauna nor poison the rivers and lakes.”
He said there was no better homage to give the nation’s forebears than to dedicate the 60th independence anniversary to protecting the environment, and regenerating the lands and water bodies.