President John Dramani Mahama on Friday delivered the State of the Nation Address in Ghana’s Parliament with mixed feelings but on a positive note, to continue to build a “Better Ghana”.
The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) promised Ghanaians four years ago a Better Ghana, where there would be a strong economy, investment in people, expanding on the infrastructure and running an open and accountable government.
“This State of the Nation address at the end of a Government’s term in office I believe is to allow the President to place on historical record an account of his stewardship,” he said.
President Mahama’s appearance was in accordance the provisions of the 1992 Constitution Article 67, to appear before the august body to deliver a State of the Nation Address before the dissolution of a previous parliament.
He paid glowing tribute to late President Evans Atta Mills, who should have delivered the address but passed on last July, which pushed him up to be the president of Ghana from the evening of July 24, 2012.
“It is my wish that President Mills was here to report on the unprecedented achievements of this administration but the lot has fallen on me to give an account of the state of our nation,” President Mahama, sporting a navy-blue suit over a shirt and black and white striped tie to match, told the House.
He was ushered into the House by the Leadership, after inspecting a guard of honour mounted by the Ghana Navy at the Forecourt of Parliament House.
There was traditional music and dance, a mounted constabulary against a splendid backdrop of a fountain spewing water into the atmosphere and a phalanx.
With appreciation, the President, a former legislator himself, thanked the members of the House particularly for the rewarding experience they exposed him to in the last few months.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for playing a part in the realisation of the Better Ghana Agenda.
“Madam Speaker, I remain particularly thankful that this House showed foresight and a sense of common purpose in a number of critical instances. These instances have and will make significant impact on the fortunes of this country.
“To my comrades and very good friends, the Honourable Doe Adjaho, Honourable Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, Honourable Cletus Avoka, Honourable Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu, Honourable Rashid Pelpuo, Honourable Ambrose Dery, and of course many of you time will not permit me to name, your contribution to elevating the level of our constitutional democracy in this Parliament will be remembered for a long time to come,” he noted.
He described the achievements of the NDC Administration as “unprecedented” and added humorously that it could be called “gargantuan”, listing achievements such as improved macro-economic environment with the commencement of oil production, tackling issues of education, and improved access to health care.
As he spoke, the Majority Side shouted “John Mahama dey be keke,” in recognition of the performance of the Government, but the Minority who had wanted to put a brake on the Government’s performance on the economy, shouted “ Don’ t Go there”.
“There is work ahead, to anchor the nation’s constitutional and democratic legacy on stronger moral and cultural values and for the long term survival of our nation and to commit to a multi-partisan process to secure the future of Ghana,” the President said.
When he finished speaking all in the audience, including Vice President Paa Kwesi Amisssah-Arthur, Chief Justice Georgina Wood, former President Jerry Rawlings and wife Konadu, Members of the Council of State, Diplomatic Corps, Traditional Chiefs stood up, when the Ghana Police Band played the National Anthem to acknowledge the man who would be leading the nation for the next four years.
No one knew where it came from, but the lights suddenly went off on the Minority Side, when the President was exchanging pleasantries with Members of the Legislature, evoking shouts of ”dum sor, dum sor,” from the Minority.
The lights immediately came back when the President was seen off by the Speaker.
There was a semblance of unity as Members crossed from both sides with banters, pleasantries and handshakes for one another.
Members of the public who did not get access to the House stood at the fringes of the forecourt to catch glimpse of crčme de la crčme of Ghana’s politics.
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