Accra, Ghana - Ghana’s President John Mahama on Thursday led the country to celebrate its 57th independence anniversary by rallying the population to move together in building a prosperous nation.
Addressing a parade of school children and security agencies at the Independence Square in Accra in pouring rain, President Mahama said inequality was a potential source of tension that had engaged the attention of world leaders and stressed that the gap between the rich and the poor must be bridged to ensure equality.
Ghana became the first country south of the Sahara to be independent when the late Dr Kwame Nkrumah led the West African country to independence from Britain in 6 March, 1957.
This year’s celebration, which had the Guinean president Alpha Conde as Guest of Honour, was under the theme, “Building a better and prosperous Ghana through patriotism and national unity”.
President Mahama, who was born after Ghana’s independence, said his government would ensure that the ideals of the founding fathers were followed to the letter by providing the basic necessities to build a decent life for every citizen.
He said his government would strive to provide equal access to quality education for all children irrespective of location, as well as skills training to equip young people for the job market.
“Every child in Ghana must have access to quality education, whether they are male or female, or whether they live in the village or they live in the city. Young people must also be afforded the skills needed in order to find gainful employment. Proper health care must be available to all our people.”
The president said these were realistic goals which must be met because the lives of Ghanaians depended on them.
The parade was disrupted by a rainstorm which hit the capital just as the function was getting under way and this forced the organsisers to march the school children off.
However, the security forces remained and marched past in the rain.
President Mahama, who inspected the parade and lit the perpetual flame while the rain poured down, said the storm was another example of climate change as the country was not used to storms early in March.
“It means we must implement climate change adaptability so that we will be able to predict the weather,” he said.
He reiterated his call on the people to give true expression to the country’s independence by patronising and consuming indigenous Ghanaian products.
“If we are truly independent we cannot allow our destiny to be determined by others outside the borders of our country. That is exactly what we do when we abandon our locally manufactured goods and go in for imported ones,” President Mahama said.