General News of Monday, 11 February 2019
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has rallied the support of Ghanaians and the Christian community in the diaspora to support the construction of the National Cathedral.
Speaking as the special guest at the maiden fundraising ceremony for the cathedral in Washington DC, United States, President Akufo-Addo emphasised the importance of the ceremonial multi-faith landmark edifice as a unifying monument for the Christian community in Ghana.
The president is convinced that when completed, the cathedral will not only serve as a rallying point for the Christian community to worship, pray and to promote deep national conversations on the role of faith in building Ghana, but also an iconic national, regional and international infrastructure fit for pilgrimage and tourism.
The National Cathedral, when completed, will house a series of impressive chapels, a baptistery, a 5,000-seat two-level auditorium, a grand central hall, a music school, choir rehearsal space, art gallery, shop and multi-use spaces.
“That is why we are trying to mobilise the Christian community, home and abroad, to join in partnership to raise the needed resources to build the cathedral.”
The president expressed gratitude to the gathering, the members of the board of trustees, as well as the fundraising committee, for expressing such high levels of enthusiasm towards the project.
“You have demonstrated your determination and willingness to join the historic coalition which is going to build the national cathedral of Ghana to the glory and honour of the almighty God.”
Responding to concerns raised by a section of Ghanaians as to the importance of the cathedral, the President explained that since the country gained its freedom and independence from British colonial power, Ghana has been spared civil war, famine and epidemic, unlike its neighbours, thus it was befitting to build a monument as a thanksgiving to God.
“We are certainly no better than the other nations in our neighbourhood who have been confronted with these challenges, and I believe it is by the grace of God that we have been preserved and sustained. The construction of the cathedral will be an act of thanksgiving to the almighty for His blessings, favour, grace, [and] mercies on our nation.”
Secondly, he explained that 71 per cent of the Ghanaian people adhere to the Christian religion under the various persuasions of the Christian faith, hence the inter-denominational national cathedral will help unify the Christian community and thereby promote national unity and social cohesion.
Furthermore, he said, the construction of the cathedral was a pledge he made to the almighty God “that if he was gracious enough to grant my party, the New Patriotic Party, and I victory in the 2016 general elections after two unsuccessful attempts, I will help build a cathedral to His glory and honour. I am determined to redeem this pledge,” he added.
He was hopeful that Ghanaians in the diaspora and all well-meaning friends of Ghana will support in bringing the project to fruition.
President affirms faith in God
Earlier, the President also delivered the keynote address at the 67 National Prayer Breakfast leadership luncheon, where he reaffirmed his faith in God and the importance of waiting on God’s appointed time.
Giving an account of his three-time attempt at the presidency Nana Addo noted that his journey to the highest office of the land is testimony of the favour, goodness and faith in God’s appointed time.
“As a Christian, my own life’s journey has been a testimony of God’s love, and a vindication of the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter 19 verse 26, which says, ‘with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’. Some of you may know that I sought the highest office of the land on three occasions, being successful on the third. Between 2008 and 2016, if any of you had had the opportunity to visit Ghana, you would have certainly heard catchy phrases like, ‘Akufo-Addo cannot be President’, ‘God does not want Akufo-Addo to be President’, ‘Akufo-Addo is short and does not have the stature to be President’. Perhaps, if you lost your first election by some 40,000 votes in a poll of some 10 million voters, as I did in 2008, and lost your second election after a controversial decision by the Supreme Court four years later, as I did, you would be tempted to believe that these comments had some merit. However, my faith in God would not let me give up. At my third attempt, I committed the election campaign to God, and indicated to the Ghanaian people that ‘the battle is the Lord’s’. By God’s grace, I won a famous victory against an incumbent President in the 2016 election by a gap of some one million votes, the largest margin of victory for two decades.”
He emphasised that it is this belief in God’s power to transform difficult situations into beacons of hope that has animated his vision for moving Ghana to a situation beyond aid and putting the country onto the road of sustained progress and prosperity. Our march to a brighter future is underpinned by a firm attachment to a governance system that respects human rights and individual liberties, the rule of law, and the principles of democratic accountability.
He reiterated his vision into effectively utilising the country’s human and natural resources to transform the Ghanaian economy into a prosperous nation.
“In spite of our current circumstances, I believe our lot is not to be a poor nation. God has blessed our Ghana. We have some of the most dramatic, natural scenes on the planet. We have almost every mineral that mankind lusts after and which is required to run a modern economy. We have an abundance of arable land and a young, enterprising, hardworking population. The Book of Proverbs, in chapter 10 verse 22, tells us that ‘the blessing of the LORD makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it’. The negative characterisations of Ghana, and indeed most of the countries in Africa, depicted largely by stories of disease, famine, hunger and poverty, can, therefore, not be our portion. God’s blessings on our land means that we can, we should and we must, shed this cloak of poverty and chart for ourselves a path that will lift up the masses of our people into prosperity and enhance the quality of their lives.”
He told the gathering how his government has over the last two years in office began the implementation of policies and programmes to the realisation of the vision that would propel the Ghanaian economy onto the path of prosperity and make it less dependent of aid and handouts.
“Since my government took office some two years ago, we have, with God’s support, restored discipline in the management of the economy and have become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. We are guaranteeing entry to education to all school-going children up to a minimum of senior high school, and have strengthened access to healthcare for all. We are becoming increasingly self-sufficient in the production of food, and as opposed to the difficulties of recent years, we are now exporting food to our neighbouring countries in West Africa. “Ghana, today, has become the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in West Africa, with some of the world’s largest automobile manufacturing companies deciding to establish assembly and manufacturing plants in Ghana. I am hopeful that in the coming years, and to paraphrase the words of Hanani the Seer, in 2nd Chronicles chapter 16, God will continue to show Himself strong on behalf of a country whose heart is fully devoted to Him,” he noted.
The President, as part of his visit, held a private meeting with Senator Inhofe, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, as well as attended a dinner hosted by Archbishop Duncan-Williams and Mrs Rosa Whitaker.