You are here: HomeNews1999 07 02Article 7776

General News of Friday, 2 July 1999

Source: --

Rawlings hosts Senior Citizens

Accra (Greater Accra), 2nd July 99 -

President Jerry John Rawlings on Thursday hosted some senior citizens to a luncheon at the Banquet Hall of the State House and said without their dedication Ghana would not have been where it is now.

These elderly men and women, most of them above the age of 70, had served Ghana in various capacities during their youthful days.

They included retired civil and public servants, educators, military and police officers.

Those present included Mr Ako Adjei, who together with late President Kwame Nkrumah, Mr Akuffo Addo, Mr Obetsebi Lamptey, Mr William Ofori-Atta and Paa Grant constituted the "Big Six" that were thrown into jail by the British during the fight for Independence.

Also present were Mr Kojo Botsio, a Minister in the First Republic, Mr Nathan Quao, an Adviser to the President, who Mr Ako Adjei said, was four years his senior at Accra Academy Secondary school.

Those of them who had been honoured with national awards for services rendered to the state wore their sash and medals. They smiled, shook hands and embraced friends they had not met for years.

Four years ago the government designated Republic Day, July 1st, Senior Citizens' Day and organises luncheon for selected Senior Citizens.

President Rawlings said the senior citizens had served the country with dedication, loyalty and with integrity.

''Without your dedication Ghana would not be where it is now'.

''It is the duty of the present generation to build on this foundation'', ''why should we let you down," he said and asked.?

President Rawlings said it should be possible to bring back the values, which enabled these senior citizens to render useful service to the country adding that this could be done if political parties base their messages on the truth and refrain from saturating the populace with lies.

''The aged has done a lot for the country. It is our obligation to show them respect'', he said and added that the aged also should share their experiences with the present generation by writing their memoirs.

The President said it was unfortunate that some of them have been neglected by their families, but said the government has put in place programmes, which would take care of those affected.

''We must not shirk our responsibility towards the aged. We should not allow our cultural values to be eroded.

Mr Quao said it is now clear that the extended family system cannot take care of most of the aged and that responsibility should be shared by the society.

''That responsibility should be shared by the family, the government and non-governmental organisations''.

Mr Ako Adjei said ''Ghana is our country. We have nowhere to go. This is where God has placed us and the earlier we realised this the better for all of us''.

He said the progress Ghana has made over the past years clearly shows that ''Ghana shall rise. Ghana is rising''.

Turning to his colleagues, Mr Ako Adjei said, ''there is no end to the good a person can render his country. This is our mission'', drawing prolonged applause from the audience.

Mr E. M. Debrah, a retired top civil servant, said most of the retired civil servants still have energy and that their services are still needed.

''We still have a lot to offer so go back and help with the pieces of advice you can offer in schools, hospitals and other institutions. Do not sit down''.

In a closing remark, the Vice-President John Evans Atta Mills said the example set by the senior citizens would be emulated.