Thank you for your support. President Mahama tells Ghanaians
President John Dramani Mahama delivered his last State of the Nation Address to Parliament yesterday, during which he thanked Ghanaians for their support to him and his administration in the last four years.
Barely 48 hours before handing over the baton to the President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President Mahama trumpeted some of his achievements in the areas of health, education, the economy, energy, road and transport and governance before expressing gratitude to all Ghanaians for their cooperation.
He particularly thanked the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, and Members of Parliament (MPs) for the passage of several pieces of legislation and called on the House to pass the Right to Information Bill before rising on January 6, 2017.
The presentation of the State of the Nation Address prior to the dissolution of the Sixth Parliament was in fulfilment of Article 67 of the 1992.
Unlike previous State of the Nation addresses which took at least two hours to present, President Mahama, this time around, spent about 40 minutes to “provide a snapshot information on the current state of the nation”.
The address witnessed very minimal heckling from the Minority in Parliament. On the occasions when the President mentioned Nana Akufo-Addo’s name, some Minority MPs asked the President to rather call him “Opana”, as he had referred to the President-elect on campaign platforms.
The Minority also expressed disagreement whenever the President mentioned some achievements of his government.
As expected, the Majority in Parliament cheered the President on as he delivered his address.
After the delivery, the Majority MPs waved sheets of paper with the inscription: ‘JM Ayekoo’, meaning ‘JM well done’, while the Minority MPs waved white handkerchiefs and shouted ‘goodbye’.
Present at the ceremony were the Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur; the First Lady, Mrs Lordina Mahama; former President Jerry John Rawlings, former President John Agyekum Kufuor, service chiefs, leaders of political parties and traditional and religious leaders.
Touting his achievements as Head of State, President Mahama said he had done his best, given his all and “done so with the best intentions” for the country.
He said his government had grown the economy, expanded infrastructure, increased school enrolment, improved health care and rolled out a number of social intervention programmes.
He said history would be his judge in terms of his contribution to the socio-economic growth of the country.
“I will allow history to be the judge of how I have served our nation, how well I have done my part in running my lap of the relay. What that verdict will ultimately be, I cannot say.
“I can only say that I have done my best, given my all and done so with the best intentions for my country, our country,” he said.
Continuation in government
President Mahama said the state of the nation, at any given time (where we are in the race), was the result of more than the visible gains made by one individual during his tenure.
“Every President inherits the unfinished work of his predecessor. Every President benefits from the seeds planted by his predecessor, seeds that could not be sown during his predecessor's tenure.
“Indeed, I believe if politics could be described as a sport, the one it would most closely resemble is a relay. It is a sport that relies as much on individual achievement as it does on teamwork and cooperative effort. The true test of that competition is in the passing of the baton. So, too, with politics,” he said.
For instance, he said, President Rawlings started the structural transformation of the economy under the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP).
That programme, he said, restored Ghana to a path of growth, which President Rawlings handed over to President Kufuor.
President Kufuor continued the economic adjustment programme and, under the HIPC initiative, achieved significant debt reduction.
He said President Kufuor, after implementing new social intervention programmes, such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), passed the baton on to President Mills.
“President Mills commenced the Eastern Corridor road project, the University of Ghana Medical Centre, which I inaugurated yesterday, the Kotokuraba Market, the Cape Coast Stadium and a host of others which I inherited and completed,” he said.
President Mahama said his administration commenced the construction of new community day senior high schools, a policy of progressively free secondary education, the construction of the eastern university, investments in many infrastructure projects that were ongoing and many others that would actually commence under President Akufo-Addo.
He said he was holding the baton of leadership, prepared to pass it on with pride, goodwill and determination to Nana Akufo-Addo and asked all Ghanaians to cheer Nana Akufo-Addo on as he ran his portion of the relay for Ghana.
“I am assured by his firm statements that he will continue these projects as enjoined by our Constitution. I wish him all success in this regard. As I have said many times already, regardless of whose tenure in which these visions come to fruition, its success belongs to Ghana. They belong to all of us,” he said.
President Mahama said political opposition and differences of opinion were vital to the health and growth of democracy.
However, he said, the well-being of the nation and the will of the people must always come first.
“Partisanship for its own sake, in the end, is no better than dictatorship. If we look around the world, we can so clearly see the deep divide that blind partisanship is creating in nations with democracies far older than ours,” he said.
The President cautioned that the political divide was threatening to create divisions in Ghanaians and indicated that already it had taken a toll on the morale and sense of optimism of the people and given way to cynicism that was dangerous to the incoming government as it was to the outgoing government.
“We cannot afford, as a nation, to wish or hope for the failure of any President and his or her government. Ensuring accountability is not the same as leveling insults or encouraging apathy. We have history as proof that we have been better and we have done better. And we will, we must, do better once again,” he said.
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