President John Dramani Mahama on Sunday called on Ghanaians irrespective of their location or ethnic group, to eschew divisive tendencies that could undermine the development of the country.
He said irrespective of one’s political affiliation, religious differences and geographical location, Ghanaians were the same people with a common destiny.
“We may be many people and diverse, but we are the same people with a common destiny of fighting for the growth and development of our motherland.”
President Mahama made this call in his speech at a ceremony at the Black Star Square in Accra to commemorate the 59 anniversary of Ghana’s independence.
The theme for this year’s anniversary celebration is, “Investing in the youth for Ghana’s transformation”.
The programme was attended by foreign heads of state including President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau.
Also in attendance were Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, Former President Jerry John Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Former President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Others dignitaries present included Mr Edward Doe-Adjaho, Speaker of Parliament, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, Chief Justice, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, and Mr Ivor Greenstreet, Presidential candidate of the Convention People’s Party.
President Mahama said although the independence day celebration was used in measuring Ghana’s achievement from then, it was also an opportunity for Ghanaians to use the day to reflect on workable solutions to challenges the country was facing.
This, he said, Ghanaians could do by ensuring liberty and peaceful co-existence with unity to be able to parry some of the ills that could hamper the smooth and orderly progress of the nation.
The President said Ghana had over the years played a pioneering role in all aspects of democracy and self determination, and it was therefore incumbent on the youth to uphold some of the values that enabled the nation’s leaders to achieve those goals.
He mentioned the inspiration Ghana provided during Africa’s liberation struggle and African unity, Ghana’s influence in sports especially football, and the recent leadership role in making Ghana the centre for issues on the Ebola Virus disease in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, as some of the pioneering roles the country had played on the continent.
President Mahama said in spite of all those achievements there was a lot more to be done and therefore called for unity among Ghanaians, urging all to put their hands on deck to achieve those goals as a common people.
He appealed to the youth in particular to participate in the projects and programmes that could promote and protect the growth and development of the country.
President Mahama commended the school children and security agencies who participated in the parade for turning out in their numbers to make the programme admirable to audiences both at home and abroad.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated the government and people of Ghana for the independence celebration, and said Ghana had over the years been instrumental in the promotion of Pan-Africanism and self-determination.
He pledged to foster closer relations with Ghana and to increase trade volumes between Ghana and Kenya, as well as contribute towards peace and security in Africa as a whole.