President J. A. Kufuor has explained that Ghana's pioneering role in the formation of the then Organisation of African Unity and its current democratic credentials largely contributed to his election as Chairman of the African Union.
The President who arrived in Accra from Ethiopia on Tuesday after attending the just-ended extraordinary summit of the AU, said the African leaders also remembered the role Ghana played in the continental struggle against colonialism in the early 1960s.
An elated President Kufuor speaking at a grand welcoming ceremony at the airport, said the honour was bestowed on him because it was realized that Ghana was leading the way to modernisation on the continent.
'My peers also thought that Ghana was leading the way to modernity on the continent and that was why they gave us that honour', he said.
He expressed gratitude to the African leaders for acknowledging the efforts being made by Ghana in the forward march of her development process.
President Kufuor said that most of the African leaders have promised to join the nation on March 6, to celebrates the 50th anniversary of independence and called on all to adequately prepare to receive them.
President Kufuor called for unity among all Ghanaians as the country celebrates her Golden Jubilee, saying that 'with fellow feeling and one vision of destiny, the nation cannot fail in whatever it does'.
Responding to a message of gratitude from a delegation from the Ga Traditional Council (GTC) for mourning with them on the death of the Ga Mantse, Nii Amugi II, the President said 'it was a duty to do so'.
The delegation, led by the Acting President of the GTC, Nii Adote Obour, was at the airport to welcome him back home and to congratulate him on his election as AU Chairman.
President Kufuor noted that Ghana was evolving as a nation with Accra, or the Ga State, being the nerve centre of it.
He said it was therefore incumbent on the government to show dignity and reverence to the King of that land, whether he was dead or alive.
'It was a duty to do so. We don't want to adulterate culture. We acknowledge you because we are one people'.
Later in an interview with journalists, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, NEPAD and Regional Integration, Nana Akufo-Addo, called on Ghanaians to be happy with the honour bestowed on the country through the election of President Kufuor as AU Chairman.
He said the African leaders unanimously elected President Kufuor as the AU Chairman because of the President's excellent performance as a chairman of ECOWAS for two terms.
He said the President's leading role in championing the course of the new Africa which is full of confidence and focused also added more impetus to the leaders' resolve to elect him as the chairman of the AU.
With the President's excellent democratic credentials and his respect for rule of law, Nana Akufo-Addo said the unanimous endorsement demonstrated the AU's commitment to democracy and development.