Help me build a prosperous nation - President urges Ghanaians
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged all Ghanaians, irrespective of their backgrounds, to fully support his administration in order to build a strong, happy and prosperous Ghana.
Building a happy, prosperous nation, according to the President, would be achieved through hard work and the conscious attempt to protect the public purse.
“I urge you to lend your wholehearted support to this government and the efforts we have just begun to build a happy and prosperous nation. Hard work and a consistent fight against corruption in public life would bring the transformation we look for. Make your presence felt by setting the example of hard work and incorruptibility,” the President stated at the 90th Anniversary Celebration of the Achimota Senior High school.
According to President Nana Akufo-Addo, Governor Guggisberg’s aim of establishing the school was to put it at par with the best schools in America and Europe. He believes that aim has been achieved, with the calibre of important people the school has produced over the years.
“In many ways, Achimota has fulfilled its promise. We have heard the roll-call of presidents, 4½ of the 8 civilian presidents, I say half because my predecessor was at primary school here; vice chancellors and other high level officials who have been through this school. You have produced presidents and prime ministers, not only for Ghana, but for other African countries, and you have a reputation that is unmatched,” the President stressed.
President Nana Akufo-Addo acknowledged that the school had over the years laid claims as the rulers of Ghana as a result of the number of Presidents it had produced. He, therefore, asked, “shall we accept responsibility, then, for the state of affairs in our country? Is it worth our while to ponder where we went wrong? Should we ask why with leaders, like you, we are where we are?”
He continued, “Why is it that 60 years after our independence, so many of our compatriots are still so poor and the state of our infrastructure is still so abysmal? Do such questions come up when you are preparing people to go and rule? Is the Achimota that we have today what was envisaged and what the Susan Ofori-Attas attended? I think these are legitimate questions that we should think about, and, hopefully, find some answers.”
The president bemoaned the fact that most of the activities that used to make the school what it was years gone by had all been stopped, adding that the number of years spent by the children in school also played a factor.
“Young people used to spend a minimum of five years in Achimota and other secondary schools, quite a number of them spent seven years here in Achimota. There was time and room to mould young lives and influence behaviour of those who passed through the schools. Achimota was probably the best example of a school that recognized that education went beyond the passing of exams.”
Sporting activities played an important part of school life. Achimota school’s playing fields were famous; many athletes emerged from this school; competitive cricket and hockey teams were part of the Achimota legend; children learnt to swim and the basics of gardening. Arts and craft and music were not limited to only children who wanted to offer them as examination subjects. There was room for carpentry and pottery, and there was room for theatre,” he said.
While admitting the fact that the conditions that prevailed in the 1920’s cannot be compared to what pertain now, the president urged the school authorities to “ build on what we have and constantly improve our institutions, but it is also important that we try to maintain the characteristics that gave places, like Achimota, the winning formula.”
With regards to the issue of encroachment of Achimota school lands, the President assured the school that the problem “will receive urgent attention from my government, not only attention, but, even more importantly, a satisfactory solution.”
To President Nana Akufo-Addo, the problems confronting the school ought to be tackled as a national one since the school is an asset to the country
“Achimota is a national icon, it belongs to the people of Ghana, and the conversation about what happens to Achimota cannot be limited to a discussion within these walls,” he stressed.
Present at the occasion included First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, former President JJ Rawlings, his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, and KB Asante, a diplomat in the Kwame Nkrumah administration, who are all old students of the school.