President Akufo-Addo yesterday said that Ghana does not deserve to be ‘toyed’ with by perpetrators of violence when he delivered his address to commemorate the country’s 62nd independence celebration in Tamale.
Touching on election-related violence and the determinants of success, he said “success should be counted by how many young people go to school and get skills and jobs, and not by how many young people can be marshalled to disrupt elections or how many broken bones we can count.”
“The people of Ghana do not deserve to be toyed with in such a reckless manner. The very concept of political violence is offensive, and shames us all who are in politics. That is why I am determined that hopefully the impending dialogue between the two major political parties, the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress, who between them, regularly take more than 95% of the votes in elections, who have provided all the seven governments of the 4th Republic, and who are the only two parties currently represented in Parliament, should succeed,” he affirmed.
It was the first time that the anniversary was marked outside the nation’s capital, and so it attracted a lot of attention to the residents of the regional capital.
The city of Tamale wore a changed ambience of light and colour, as it hosted guests from various parts of the country and even beyond.
Adding to splendor was the presence of the major traditional rulers in the Northern Region; there was double celebration due to the recent restoration of peace in Dagbon.
Present during the celebration was the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, who the President acknowledged in hospitable words.
He also said many Zabrama migrants from Niger have lived in Ghana for over a century in harmony.
Former Presidents, Jerry John Rawlings and John Mahama, and other dignitaries were in attendance.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated that he was prepared to come out with the relevant legislation to ensure that the country is rid of political violence if the NPP-NDC talks failed.
The President said the process of reconstructing the ‘Ghanaian state’ through devolution of power to the people was on course, adding “the creation of six new regions and 38 more districts, and the decision to expand full democracy to local government, are part and parcel of this process of reconstruction which will be the bedrock of the fairer, freer, more efficient and prosperous Ghana we want to construct.”
All Ghanaians, he said, are obliged to work towards the establishment of a progressive and happy nation.
“We must look after the land, the trees, the rivers, the mountains, the animals, all of God’s creatures that represent this nation of Ghana. This is at the heart of the fight against ‘galamsey’ to which I am irrevocably committed.”
He had charitable words for the people of Tamale for being gracious hosts, adding that “this has never been done before, and doubtless, we shall learn from the experience.”
He added “the success of the Tamale experience may, however, set the trend for the rotation of this ceremony.”
Why Tamale Was Chosen
Tamale was chosen for this year’s anniversary to underline the unity of our nation, but also to express the appreciation of the nation for the peace and the process of reconciliation that have engulfed Dagbon since the enskinment of Yaa-Na Mahama Abukari II as Overlord of Dagbon, on 25th January.”
The President welcomed the former Regents of Dagbon, the Kampakuya Na and Bolin Lana, who were recently enskinned as Yoo-Na Yakubu Abdulai Andani, Savelugu Na, and Mion Lana Mahamadu Abdulai, respectively.
He had a special welcome for the Nayiri, Naa Bohugu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, Overlord of Mamprugu and the Yagbonwura, Tuntumba Boresa Sulemana Jakpa, Overlord of the Gonja State, two of the members of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs who, together with its Chairperson, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, were instrumental in designing the roadmap which has restored normalcy to Dagbon.
Chieftaincy, he said, has sadly generated more disputes and disharmony than any other institution, saying “the tragedy is that by chieftaincy’s very nature, only people from the same family can lay claim to the same stool or skin.”
He announced that efforts would be intensified by the Chieftaincy Minister to resolve long-standing chieftaincy disputes in other parts of the country.
Tamale has never seen such a display of colours and choreography.
Although military parades are not new to the regional capital, the scale displayed was alien to the people, especially, a naval parade commander on horseback.
The cultural displays and the march past by local schools in the city were outstanding.