Speech By The President Of The Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, At The 62nd Independence Day Celebration Parade, At The Aliu Mahama Stadium, Tamale, On Wednesday, 6th March, 2019
It is with much joy and pride that I join you to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of our nation’s independence at this stadium, named, appropriately, after one of the outstanding figures of the 4th Republic and a native of this city, the late Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, who left us so prematurely, and whose dignified widow, Hajia Ramatu Mahama, is with us here. We continue to honour his memory.
I extend hearty congratulations to all Ghanaians from the vibrant and dynamic city of Tamale, capital of the Northern Region. This is the day we justifiably celebrate the collective energies and sacrifices of our forebears that led to that joyous night, when our historic first leader, Kwame Nkrumah, uttered the immemorial words “Ghana, your beloved country, is free forever”. We will defend that freedom with the last drop of our blood, as we remain dedicated to its preservation.
I extend also, on behalf of all Ghanaians, a warm welcome to our guest of honour, a good friend of mine and of our nation, His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the brotherly Republic of Niger, fellow Member State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and his delegation. Many of his compatriots, whom we call Zamramas, have been living amongst us in peace and solidarity for over a hundred years, contributing positively to the growth of our economy. His presence on this day, in our midst, will be a source of considerable pride to them. We are delighted that he has accepted our invitation to share this special day with us. Akwaaba, Your Excellency, is our word of welcome. We say, also, nakayooo, as the Zamramas say, and Jabbama in Fulani.
I am glad to see that all the high officials of State – the Vice President, the Speaker of Parliament, the representative of the Chief Justice, the Chairperson of the Council of State, the Chief Staff at the Office of the President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State, the Majority and Minority Leaders of Parliament, Members of Parliament, the Chief of Defence Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, the Inspector General of Police, and Service Commanders, are all present here for this ceremony. And it is heartening to note that the former Presidents of the Republic, their Excellencies, Jerry John Rawlings, 1st President of the 4th Republic, and John Dramani Mahama, the 4th President of the 4th Republic and 2020 presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress, and the former 2nd Lady, Her Excellency Hajia Ramatu Mahama, are, also, present in this Stadium. Today is, indeed, our national day. We welcome also the dean and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Fellow Ghanaians, for the first time in our nation’s history, this ceremony is being held outside our national capital city of Accra. Tamale was chosen as the venue not only to underline the unity of our nation, but also to express the appreciation of the nation for the peace and the process of reconciliation that have engulfed Dagbon since the enskinment of Yaa-Na Mahama Abukari II as Overlord of Dagbon, on 25th January. I welcome him to this event, as I do the former Regents of Dagbon, the Kampakuya Na and Bolin Lana, who have recently been enskinned as Yoo-Na Yakubu Abdulai Andani, Savelugu Na, and Mion Lana Mahamadu Abdulai, respectively. I say a special welcome, too, to the Nayiri, Naa Bohugu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, Overlord of Mamprugu, and the Yagbonwura, Tuntumba Boresa Sulemana Jakpa, Overlord of the Gonja State, two of the members of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs who, together with its Chairperson, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, were so instrumental in designing the roadmap, whose implementation has restored normalcy to Dagbon. I salute them all.
After decades of being identified with unrest and disharmony, Dagbon has good reason to celebrate, and it is fitting that we use the opportunity of our independence anniversary celebration to converge here and celebrate with them on the theme of peace and unity.