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Politics of Monday, 6 August 2007

Source: Peter Abban

Akufo-Addo's new Ghana - Be each other's keeper

New Patriotic Party presidential aspirant, Nana Akufo-Addo, is calling for a new Ghana, where partisanship does not get in the way of nation-building. A new Ghana where enmity, bitterness and vengeance do not frustrate our collective efforts towards improving the lot of each and every Ghanaian. He wants Ghanaians to be each other's keeper, irrespective of political, religious or ethnic backgrounds.

"We are building the new Ghana where there is respect for human rights and the rule of law,” he said. “To that end, we are constructing a humane society in which each is the other"s keeper.”

Nana Akufo-Addo was speaking in Koforidua Friday at a special presentation ceremony to formally outdoor the Ghana Muslim Education Fund. The Ghana Muslim Education Fund was set up two years ago to raise funds to help cater for brilliant but needy students within the Muslim fraternity to make it beyond the basic school level.

Nana Akufo-Addo remarked on the excellent coexistence among the religions in Ghana.

“I am excited as a Christian to be on a Muslim platform and contributing my quota to the development of the Muslim community,” he said. “After all the Qur’an assures Muslims that the closest to them 'are those who say we are Christians’”. Beyond that, the Presidential hopeful stated, “solidarity is the foundation of civilisation and social progress.”

He also said that Ghana is a secular state in which all faiths can exist side by side in a collaborative manner that ensures the development of the nation. "Thankfully for us, we live in a secular state where there is religious freedom and where we have succeeded in ensuring that the great faiths of humankind, Christian and Muslim, and the other faiths live in peaceful co-existence and mutual respect", he said. "Let us strive to maintain this situation."

On education, Nana Akufo-Addo encouraged the Muslim community to pursue it as of right. Giving hints of his knowledge of the Holy Qur’an, Nana Akufo-Addo said it was for very good reasons that the very first verses of the Qur’an to be revealed to the Prophet Muhammad charged him and by extension humankind in general to read.

The Presidential hopeful quoted verbatim from Qur’an chapter 96 verses 1-5 to support his argument.

"Read in the name of your Lord and Cherisher, who created- He created man from a clot of congealed blood. Read and your Lord is Most Bountiful. He taught man by the pen and he taught him what he did not know…"

Nana Akufo-Addo stressed home the point that the Qur’an sees the pen as a powerful weapon. So, rather than taking away the pen from the hands of our compatriots and replacing it with other instruments, we should strive to complement whatever instruments they wield with the pen.

"Education is the key to our progress and that is why the educational reforms and financing schemes of the Kufuor era, such as the capitation grant, will represent perhaps the most important legacy of the Kufuor-led NPP administration."

The chairman of the Muslim Education Fund, Alhaji Abdul-Karim, otherwise known as ‘Abrewa Bebo Ball’ thanked Nana Akufo-Addo for his support for the fund since its establishment.

He said using his good offices as then Foreign Minister, Nana Akufo-Addo introduced the fund to all foreign missions in Ghana, a gesture that has proven to be very beneficial to the fund. He prayed for Allah to grant Nana Akufo-Addo his desire of becoming Ghana’s next President.

Nana Akufo-Addo again donated an amount of GH¢2,000 (¢20 million) to the fund. Also in attendance were the National Chief Imam, Shaykh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, the Chief Imam of the Ahl-Sunna community in Ghana, Shaykh Umar, the Paramount Chief of the Juaben Traditional Area, Daasebre Prof Oti Boateng and Muslim Chiefs in the Eastern Region.

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