My fellow citizens, my brothers and sisters; good evening.
History defines us. It determines who we are as individuals as families and communities, and as a nation.
Whenever I watch images of our past, it is clear to me that it is our shared history that has guided us through our most critical periods. It has defined, and continues to define our mission as a nation.
Whenever I watch images of our past, it is clear to me that it is our shared history that has guided us through our most critical periods. It has defined and continues to define our mission as a nation.
In our 56 years of Independence, throughout the times of celebration and the times of sorrow; throughout the times of frustration and the times of joy, the heart and soul of our mission as a nation has remained steadfast: to create a free and just society for our citizens, to create a Ghana that we can be proud to hand down to our children and grandchildren and all future generations.
Ghana exits today not by accident but by providence.
We exist today because of the vision, hardwork and sheer determination of our foremothers and forefathers. They built the institutions of our government and designed our very democracy with our nation’s future in mind.
This country, our country, has always been fuelled by patriotism.
It is patriotism that is visible all around: as we rally together at football matches, as we join hands at the funerals of loved ones, as we support each other-even strangers – in times of emergency and disaster.
It is a patriotism that is also expressed in our everyday lives; in the respect we show for one another’s differences of opinion and religious beliefs, in the tolerance we display for the different political persuasions, ethnic and cultural traditions. Indeed, Ghana is known the world over for the richness of our diversity and our harmonious embrace of it.
We have always held fast to the fact that we are; first and foremost, Ghanaians, with an abiding love of country.
We have always held firm to our conviction that Ghana will work, that Ghana must work.
My fellow citizens; my brothers and sisters, history has shown that Ghanaians have always possessed a distinct political maturity, one that has promote stability in our own country, and has inspired it in other countries on this continent and, even, throughout the developing world.
“We are going to demonstrate to the world, to other nations” Dr Kwame Nkrumah, our founding father and member of the Big Six, declared at the dawn of our Independence, “that we are prepared to lay our own foundation. Our own African identity.”
Since our rejection of colonial rule, Ghana has endeavored to shape a system of governance that would be suitable for self-rule, a system of governance that would reflect our particular history, our particular African cultural inheritance, and our particular union of African people.
Today is an important moment in the life of our nation. Over the course of the past eight months, we have witnessed the evolution of the democratic process this nation utilizes to fulfill our mission of creating a free and just society.
Dr. J.B. Danquah, another member of the Big Six, once said: “The freedom to express an opinion, and to act in terms of that opinion, is not an abuse of power in a democracy…Free exercise of opinion on a political issue is the maximum expression of liberty and is never an abuse of power”.
The political maturity with which we have received the verdict announced today by the Supreme Court coupled with our ever-present patriotism will ensure that Ghana is the ultimate winner, not any one individual or political party.
Victory must always speak to the success of our nation. Victory must always be for the people of Ghana.
The challenge that was issued to the Supreme Court, and the discussions, debates and even disagreements that it has inspires can only strengthen our institutions. In a democracy, fair, compassionate and decisive leadership must operate within a framework that is fully functional. Strong institutions are the bedrock of strong nations.
We must allow this exercise, this experience to move us forward.
If we allow it to do otherwise; if we allow it to be destructive, rather than constructive, then we would have failed as a nation to learn the lessons that were imparted; we would have turned our backs on this rare and critical opportunity for our nation and its institutions to evolve; we would have allowed ourselves to become enemies of our own progress.
My fellow citizens; my brothers and sisters, since becoming the first sub-Saharan nation to gain its independence, Ghana has earned praise and respect in the international community for its leadership on the African continent. We once again find ourselves in a position to set a standard for the rest of Africa to lead by practicing and perfecting.
For the first time on our continent, there are more democracies than dictatorships, more free and fair elections than coup d’etat. We must support our African brothers and sisters who have yet to enjoy the due process we are seen today, and the freedoms we cherish here in Ghana. We must pursue a day when democratic governance and independent judiciaries are the norm all across Africa, not the exception.
It is with the utmost respect and highest regard that I commend the Supreme Court of Ghana, on my own behalf and on behalf of all Ghanaians, for the dedication, integrity and professionalism with which they adjudicated this case.
We have all been captivated by the proceedings, and it is with awe that we have watched the advancement of the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of Ghana. We have also, in the process, managed to turn ourselves into a nation of pocket lawyers and armchair judges, and, in typical Ghanaian fashion, let the language of law enter our daily vocabulary.
It is not uncommon now to hear teachers, professors, and senior citizens referred to as “My Lord, My Lord;” for taxi drivers, contractors and seamstresses to discuss “pink sheets”; for farmers, doctors, and market women to make mention of “further and better particulars.” Even children are now familiar with the term ‘amicus curiae’.
This is yet another example of the interest we Ghanaians take in issues of importance to the betterment of our nation, of how deeply we are willing to invest in our self-education on these matters.
Ghana is our home.
We cannot afford to by cynical. We do not have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines. We must all work to make Ghana work.
I know that in the last eight months, we have had several hurdles to overcome-issues of Governance, Labour, Energy, Economy and Education.
I know, too, that because the world does not stand still when a goal is met or a mandate is delivered, over the coming years, from time to time, we will continue to face our fair share of challenges. There are various reforms that must take place and bold decision that must be made. I assure you that I am prepared and committed to make those decisions and to ensure that those reforms are implemented.
I would like to thank my legal team for the hard work and long hours that went into this case. I would especially like to thank them for their unwavering faith in the rule of law and their belief that in the end, come what may, justice would be served.
I thank the media for their diligence, for constantly striving to meet their own-ideal of accurate and responsible reporting and, not least of all, for holding government accountable for the promises that we have made, promises that, despite the hurdles and setbacks that were faced, we have begun to deliver and will continue working to deliver.
Most of all, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to the good people of Ghana for your patience, especially through the stretches of darkness and uncertainty. The days ahead of us will be brighter and the opportunities for prosperity will be many.
My fellow citizens; my brothers and sisters, this afternoon (Thursday) Nana Akufo Addo and I had a conversation, and I am assured that with this court case over and the verdict announced, we can now, all of us, put this behind us and turn our full attention back to building this great nation.
This government is ready to work for you, for all Ghanaians.
It is my expectation that all Ghanaians are also prepared to work to uplift our nation, because Ghana must succeed.
And if, together, we face whatever challenges come our way, our systems and our institutions will continue to be strengthened; our democracy will continue to grow, and our homeland, Ghana will succeed.
May God bless you and may God continue to bless this beloved nation of ours.