President J.A. Kufuor has acknowledged the various roles played by former heads of state of the country, including Flt. Lt. J.J Rawlings, in the nation's socio-economic development during the past 50 years of the country's history.
He was however quick and emphatic to say that the government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), under his leadership, had performed creditably since the party took over the reigns of government about seven years ago.
The President made the acknowledgement when he addressed a grand durbar of people chiefs and people of the Brong Ahafo region to mark the celebration of the Region's Day at the Jubilee Park in Sunyani on Saturday, as part of the year-long Ghana @ 50 celebrations.
The theme for the celebration was "Our Region, Our People".
The President pointed out that the achievement of the NPP government had won the admiration of the international community, hence their preparedness to assist the government in its development programme.
He therefore urged the people not to be swayed by the detractors of his administration but to renew the mandate of the NPP, to continue with its good work even when he left office, adding that his government had created "a good path” in the socio-economic development of the country.
The President emphasised that good governance, free speech and transparency were some of the hallmarks of his government and that be would ensure the democratic process, which has gained root and had been acclaimed in Africa and the world as a whole, would not be derailed.
He said every Ghanaian should feel proud and happy about what had been achieved so far in the past 50 years of Ghana becoming a sovereign state, saying that 50 years of nationhood was a long journey, which the people should not forget.
President Kufuor stressed that Ghana had become a beacon of hope for Africa and across the world owing to the strong democratic principles it had embarked upon and that was why the government was not toying with democracy and constitutional rule.
The President, however, expressed his disgust at the way some people went about saying all sorts of things about the government, and stated hat the government would now deal with those who took the law into their own hands.
He noted that the development of every nation depended on the training and proper upbringing of the people, and that was why the government had embarked on a drastic educational reform in which every child who attained four years was to enter Kindergarten and continue at the Primary through to Junior High School (JHS).
President Kufuor also gave the assurance that under the new reform, teachers were to enjoy several packages and benefits so that they would offer their best in the training of the child, adding that the children were the future hope of the country.
On health, President Kufuor urged the people to embrace and enrol with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHLS), stressing that the aged and children under 18 years were to enjoy free medical care under the scheme.
He said the government was committed to developing all parts of the country and assured the people that it was not the intention of his government to discriminate against any section of the people on the ground that they did not vote the NPP to power.
He said employment opportunities and loans were being given to the youth, to enable them to engage in small-scale businesses so as to reduce poverty levels.
President Kufuor observed that there were as many as 53 chieftaincy disputes in the Brong Ahafo region and therefore urged the Regional House of Chiefs to, as a matter of urgency, find amicable solutions to all the disputes.
On the current energy crisis, President Kufuor gave the assurance that the government was working tirelessly to solve the problem, saying it was for that reason that he went to Nigeria a couple of days ago to meet with President Olusegun Obasanjo for further discussions.
He urged the people to be patient with the government as it sought to provide only what was good for them, adding that even though the process of development might be slow, there was still hope.
President Kufuor paid glowing tribute to the late Dr K.A. Busia, who became the Prime Minister when his Progress Party formed the government in 1969, describing him as "an illustrious son of Wenchi in the region", and as his mentor and teacher.
The President of the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, Okatakyie Agyeman Kudom IV, urged the people to sacrifice their personal interests for unity, peace, stability and tranquillity, which, he said, were basic ingredients for development.
He commended the government for the provision of a number of infrastructure in the region but made a number of requests to the President in the areas of education, roads and sports, among other needs.
The Brong Regional Minister, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, indicated that the region contributed 30 per cent to the country's food requirements, describing it as the "bread basket" of the country, and that it had the largest agricultural markets, which were patronised by traders from all corners of the country and neighbouring Burkina Faso, Togo and Niger.
Credit: Daily Graphic