The 4th President of the Fourth Republic, President John Dramani Mahama has taken the oath of office, rallying the citizenry to take responsibility for the development of the nation and recognize that the destiny of the nation lies in their hands.
President John Mahama, whose inauguration has been boycotted by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) over what it calls electoral fraud, recounted the contributions of some of Ghana’s heroes and said their stories should inspire the current generation to contribute their quota to make Ghana the vibrant, economically secure and prosperous nation that she aspires to.
The story of Tetteh Quarshie, the man credited with bringing cocoa – which is one of Ghana’s major export commodities - to Ghana in 1876, the president said, should demonstrate to Ghanaians the impact a single individual’s efforts can have on the nation.
“Complacency and frustration can entice us into believing that we are insignificant players stuck somehow in the background of a bigger picture or that as individuals we are incapable of making a difference but history itself has proven that nothing could be further than the truth;…each and every one of us has a role to play in the growth and development of our beloved mother Ghana; in our hands – yours as well as mine – rests the success or failure of Ghana’s future,” he said.
He said even though the country had made significant strides in the past five decades, some intractable problems continued to plague the people, requiring hard work on the part of all Ghanaians.
“More job must be created, more roads must be built, bridges, schools, and hospitals must be built; the infrastructure that we have already expanded must be strengthened and made better able to withstand increased usage; equipment should not be the only thing that is state-of-the-art in our institutions, systems, procedures and staff must be brought up to standard; best practices must be implemented,” he maintained.
The president assured he would work hard to put the nation on the right pedestal, insisting that he will keep his promises to the people.
In an attempt to temper with people’s expectations, Mr. Mahama warned change will not come overnight.
“Despite whatever progress we make, it will appear to be darkest before the dawn of a new day makes that progress visible. In such a time, I will be counting on you to maintain the faith and the trust that you have placed in me as president and I promise I will not let you down,” he said.
The president also paid glowing tribute to his predecessors – Jerry John Rawlings, John Kufuor and the late John Atta Mills, eulogizing them for achieving what seemed impossible during their tenures of office.
Not only is he inspired by their achievements, Mr Mahama said he was also blessed to have the benefit of their collective wisdom.
Panelists on the Joy News Channel on MultiTV described the president's speech as largely uninspiring and failing to touch on critical areas.
Apart from faulting the President for failing to recognise the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho and regional leaders present at the function, Political Scientist Kwesi Jonah said he was surprised the speech did not say anything about foreign policy.
Play the attached audio for excerpts of the address