President Akufo-Addo responding to cheers from the crowd after the service
Activities in Saltpond in the Central Region came to a standstill when President Akufo-Addo arrived there yesterday with a high-powered government delegation.
It was a day set aside to commemorate the birth of United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), the first political movement in the country some 70 years ago. It was formed on August 4, 1947.
A memorial and thanksgiving service had been organised at the Saltpond Wesley Methodist Church in honour of the gallant men – including Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Edward Akufo-Addo, Ako Adjei, Obetsebi-Lamptey, William Ofori-Atta and Paa Grant – who led the struggle that eventually gave the country independence on March 6, 1957.
But when President Akufo-Addo and members of his entourage arrived in the historical town, the natives went into wild jubilation amidst chants of ‘Nana oo, Nana oo,’ while he acknowledged the cheers from people who had lined up the streets to welcome him.
With him were Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo; Ministers for Interior, Ambrose Dery; Regional Reorganisation, Dan Botwe; Works and Housing, Atta Akyea; Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta; Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful; Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Kofi Adda; Railway, Joe Ghartey; Youth and Sports, Isaac Asiamah; Fisheries, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye; Gender and Social Protection, Otiko Djaba and a host of others.
Acting National Chairman and General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay and John Boadu respectively; National Treasurer, Kwabena Abankwa Yeboah, as well as Chairman of the NPP’s National Council, C.K Tedam, were also in attendance.
President Akufo-Addo gave the first scripture reading which was taken from the book of Isaiah 4:25-31.
Former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana, Reverend Asante-Antwi, who preached the sermon, stressed the need for Ghana as a country and Ghanaians to learn to acknowledge the efforts of those who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for the nation.
He used the opportunity to make a passionate appeal to the Invisible Forces – a vigilante group aligned to the NPP – to bring to an end acts that would tarnish the name and image of the party, calling for permanent stoppage to all acts of lawlessness.
Reverend Asante-Antwi equally had cause to advise government officials against extravagance, stressing that the country’s forebears lived modest lives.
With the discovery of oil on the high seas of Saltpond, the man of God prayed for the commencement of exploratory activities in order to create job opportunities for the people of the area.
Intercessory prayers were said for God to bless the country with incorruptible leadership, quality education, job creation, unity and consensus building and for the successful completion of the National Cathedral building that President Akufo-Addo has committed himself to construct for the country.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent