The maiden State of the Nation Address, delivered by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to Parliament, on Tuesday, in Accra has attracted mixed reactions.
While some on the side of the Majority praised the President for a brilliant, inspiring and hopeful delivery, some on the Minority criticised the address, describing as lacking substance, and rather a repetition of old ideas.
The delivery of the State of the Nation Address is in fulfilment of a constitutional requirement for the President to address Parliament at the beginning of a new session.
The address touched on the economy, education, the nation’s debt, health, defence, and affirmative action to enhance the participation of women, in governance and leadership positions among, other others.
Wearing a black suit over white shirt with a flying tie to match, the President accompanied by wife Rebecca and Vice Mohamadu Bawumia, delivered the address in the presence of former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor.
There were also Traditional Rulers, the Clergy, both of Christian and Muslim faith, Service Commanders, Members of the Diplomatic Community and a cross-section of the public, who were in the House, and listened to the address which took one hour and five minutes.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr Bradford Adu, former MP for Okere (NPP) said President Nana Akufo Addo’s address touched on “almost everything”, and called on Ghanaians to put their hands on and support the President and government to implement the programmes to enhance the well-being of Ghanaians and “make the country very great.”
According to Mr Adu, the President’s highlight on the economy did not mean all was lost; and referred to Singapore, which he said had a worse situation, but was able to turn the economy around under the able leadership of Lee Kuan Yew.
Mr Kwabena Appiah Pinkrah, MP for Akrofuom (NPP) described the address as “very exact wonderful, which covered a lot, and the best State of the Nation Address in recent times.”
He said the address touched on every important aspect of the economy, adding that “let’s hope his team would work well. We know Nana can deliver.
“We pray and know God will help him and the approved team.”
Mr Freddie Blay, Acting Chairman of the NPP, described the address as “good and excellent,” saying it showed the “true state of the nation. It’s exciting, it brings a lot of hope.”
However, Mr Sam Nartey George, MP for Ningo Prampram (NDC) said the President’s address had no substance, and was superficial.
He took the President to task, saying despite his re-announcement of the take off of the free Senior High School education next September; he failed to indicate how the programme would be financed.
Mr Bernard Mornah, Chairman of the People’s National Convention, one of the parties that contested the NPP in the December 2016 elections, said he was totally disappointed by the address, and wondered why the Nana Akufo Addo government was planning to list the Volta River Authority and the GRICO on the Ghana Stock Exchange.
He described the intended move as sale of strategic national asset and wondered if the proposed sale would solve the human and managerial challenges of the two companies.
Mr Mornah was of the view that President Akufo-Addo should have worn a traditional attire rather the coat to give meaning to the idea of reviving local industries.
Alhaji A B A Fuseini, MP for Sanerigu (NDC) sounding furious said President Akufo-Addo’s State of the Nation Address was a “subdued speech,” and “litany of lamentations.”
“As he said, we expect him to fix the problems. Did he know of the problems before he made the plethora of utopian promises to Ghanaians to get elected into office as President?,” Alhaji Fuseini asked.
He also complained of the size of the number of Ministers, which he said would constitute a drain on national resources, arguing that some of the newly created Ministries were just to “offer jobs for the boys.”
“Thirty -six Ministries plus 10 Regional Ministers? Deputy Ministers are yet to come. Is this the lean government Nana Addo promised?, Alhaji Fuseini asked?
Dr Bernice Adiku Heloo, MP for Hohoe (NDC), and former Deputy Minister for Environment commended the President for his demand that “we adopt better and sustainable sanitation habits, and learn to protect and preserve our environment.”
She urged the law enforcement agencies to go beyond dealing with the ”boys” at the “galamsey” sites to politicians, traditional chiefs, foreigners among others who are the real culprits and beyond the “galamsey” business.
On the proposed affirmative action by the President to get more women into public office, Dr Heloo, a development consultant, said that was laudable.
She however said the process would not be easy because of cultural, religious, male ego; and suggested a national debate to be opened on the issue.
Mrs Eugenia Gifty Kusi, Presidential nominee on the yet to be inaugurated Council of State, said the President sounded very clear that his Administration would avoid “reckless spending,” adding that the 170 questions Vice President Bawumia asked governing NDC then in government still stood to be answered.