General News of Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Source: GNA

Ghana's time, once again, for greatness

The Independence Square, the Accra Sports Stadium, the Parliament House, the Ministries and parts of the Osu Township were resplendent with the rich colours of the national flag.

Red, yellow, green and a black star in the yellow decorated the Independence Arch and festoon the walls and poles along principal streets of the square, under hazy harmattan clouds.

Thousands of Ghanaians thronged the Independent Square to witness the swearing-in of historian and communicator John Dramani Mahama and leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as President of Ghana.

President John Dramani Mahama is the fourth John to be sworn-in as President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, and had promised to continue the vision of Building a Better Ghana, having taken over last July after the demise of President John Evans Atta Mills to complete the remaining four and half months of the first term in office.

Sporting an all white traditional three-piece attire and a pair of black shoes to match, President John Dramani Mahama walked on the red carpet and took the oaths that made him president for the next four years.

His arrival was preceded by Mr Hassan Ayariga, leader of the People’s National Convention, who attracted cheers as people stretched their necks to have a view, thinking President John Dramani Mahama had arrived.

Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, immediate past Speaker Justice Adeline Bamford Addo, newly elected Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho and former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor and several African leaders attended the ceremony.

Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur took the Oath of Vice President and at exactly 1030, President John Dramani Mahama swore the Oaths of Allegiance and Presidential Oath administered by Chief Justice Theodora Georgina Wood.

“I, John Dramani Mahama, having been elected to the high office of the President of the Republic of Ghana, do in the name of the Almighty God swear, that I will be faithful and true to the Republic of Ghana; that I will at all times preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, and that I dedicate myself to the service and well-being of the people of Ghana and to do right to all manner of persons.

“I further solemnly swear that should I at any time break this of office I shall submit myself to the laws of Republic of Ghana and suffer the penalty for it,” President John Dramani Mahama swore holding the Bible.

He was then presented an all-gold State Sword which he showed to the ecstatic crowd that waved admiringly with mini flags and party paraphernalia shouting the slogan of the governing NDC “John Mahama Dey Be Keke”

As the police band played the National Anthem, there was a 21 gun salute by a detachment of the 66 Artillery Regiment and simultaneous fly past by two Ghana Air Force fighter jets.

Celebrants used the occasion to parade custom made fashion in the colours of green, black, red and white.

The President promised to work towards making Ghana "less polarized" even as the New Patriotic Party has started a court suit challenging the results of the presidential poll declared by the Electoral Commission on December 9.

"There's no denying the fact that even after 55 years Ghana is still a young country,” he said in his speech read on a tablet adding, “every young country goes through its share of instabilities and difficulties."

In the inaugural statement, watched by his countrymen, a variety of African leaders and diplomats, and people from the Diaspora, President John Dramani Mahama promised to make Ghana’s economy an envy of all.

Former President Rawlings led high powered dignitaries to salute President Mahama shortly.

They included former President John Agyekum Kufuor, Former United Nations Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan and wife, and former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.

After paying compliments, former President Rawlings embraced President Mahama, an act which attracted loud cheers from the enthusiastic crowd. Mrs Rawlings also embraced President John Dramani Mahama.

Former President Kufuor majestically walked and shook hands with both President John Dramani Mahama and Vice President Amissah-Arthur and dramatically waved to the crowd.

African Heads of State attending the ceremony, led by African Union Chairman Thomas Yayi Boni, paid compliments to the President.

They include Allasane Ouattara of La Cote d’Ivoire, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Nigeria, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Faure Gnasingbe of Togo, Macky Sal of Senegal and Prime Minister of Burkina Faso Luc-Adolphe Tiao.

To round it all, the wife of President John Dramani Mahama and the wife of Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur gave their husbands a warm embrace as a way of congratulating them for their assumption to the highest offices of the land.

Elated President Mahama and Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur waved to the crowd as they were driven out of the Independence Square, the symbol of Ghana’s Freedom and Independence attained on March 6, 1957.