State Of The Nation Address Delivered By H. E. the Former President J. A. Kufuor in Parliament On February 14th, 2008.
Mr. Speaker, for the 8th and final time, I have come before this august House, in accordance with the Constitution of the 4th Republic, to give Honourable Members an account of the State Of The Nation.
Today is National Chocolate Day. It is also Valentine Day, the day of love. Mr. Speaker, I should assure you that I did not choose the day for my address. Should I call it a manifestation of the love between the Executive and the Legislature? On my part, I will say fate brought me here because I want to leave this House with an effusion of love for both sides of the divide. So, in that spirit of love, let me wish each of you a Happy Valentine Day. Consult with the leadership of the House to ensure adequate supply of the food of love- our own chocolate.
Mr. Speaker, when I was preparing this address, my attention was drawn to some speculations on the comparative performances between my government and previous regimes. Such speculations, Mr. Speaker, are futile. To me, it is useless to pretend to be the inventor of the wheel. Rather, the mark of the successful leader is what to do with the wheel that one finds.
My account will therefore be restricted to the State of the Nation as I found it on my assumption of office, and how it has influenced the decisions and policies that I have enunciated in my bid to better the nation. So, what I say today should not be thought of as an attempt at belittling what others did. Rather, it should be appreciated as a report of my government’s performance over the past seven to eight years in office, to improve the conditions of our people. My abiding principle in life has always been to leave a place better than I found it.
Mr. Speaker, on balance, Ghana has been doing progressively well under my watch, and enjoying tremendous goodwill both from within and from the international community, as a result of the performance of the government over the past seven years.
Since the commencement of the Golden Jubilee celebrations last year, the pulse of the nation has become very vibrant and the people’s outlook positive and upbeat. Increasingly, Ghanaians are displaying a strong yearning to be the best or with the best in Africa, as was manifested clearly during the just-ended soccer Tournament.
Ghana did not lift the trophy as we had all wished, but the country should be proud of winning the bronze and, above all, for hosting an exciting and successful soccer fiesta adjudged by many of the continent’s football officials and enthusiasts to be the best so far in the history of the Tournament.
Mr. Speaker, the House will be happy to learn that new FIFA rankings were released just yesterday, with Ghana ranked first in Africa and 14th in the world. This is the first time ever that Ghana has been ranked this high in the FIFA listings.
Let me therefore use this occasion to congratulate the Black Stars and the technical team for doing their best and for being good sportsmen, and the Local Organizing Committee for their contribution. I should also acknowledge the unalloyed support which Ghanaians from all walks of life gave to the Stars and the patriotism they displayed so passionately in the country.
Of course, I am not forgetting government’s initiatives in bidding for the tournament and also the investment in the beautiful stadiums of which we are all so proud. But even as we pat ourselves on the back, let us not forget that maintaining structures and expanding the facilities to all regional capitals should be the responsibility of present and future governments and of the entire society.