President John Agyekum Kufuor has urged Ghanaians to hold together and collectively defend the political stability and economic progress made by the nation within the last eight years.
So much, he said, was going for the country and that the people owed it a duty to themselves and to the future generation to ensure that the clock of progress was not turned backwards.
Addressing this year's “Eid-ul Fitri” Celebration at the Independence Square in Accra on Tuesday, President Kufuor gave an upbeat assessment of the performance of the Government, stating that, the economy was resilient with all indicators pointing to stability and growth.
There was also the refreshing news about the discovery of more oilfields, announcing that, just only yesterday he was informed by the management of COMOS Energy, the first Company to strike oil in the country, that they had made additional huge discoveries.
The future could therefore only be brighter and what the people needed to do now was to bid their time and resolve to worker harder to sustain the growth.
“Eid-ul-Fitri” festival is held by Muslims across the world to mark the end of the Ramadan and in Ghana this was President Kufuor's last address at such celebration as he would be ending his term of Office on Januray 7, 2009.
Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, and the ruling New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Presidential running mate, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, joined the celebration.
He used the occasion to encourage all Ghanaians to show interest in the electoral process in order to make the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections free and fair, whose outcome would be acceptable to all.
“Nobody should stand-by to allow anybody to hijack the election. The vote must be exercised without fear.”
He re-assured the nation that the Government on its part would never do anything to undermine the polls.
President Kufuor appealed to Muslim parents to give both their male and girl-child good chance to life through formal education.
He said fortunately in the country, there were lot of female role models to inspire girl-child education, citing the nation's first Chief Justice, women Ministers, pilots and those in other professions.
He said putting girls in school, was the surest way to equip them to take advantage of the growing opportunities in the society.
President Kufuor, who drew attention of the Muslim leaders to see to it that this year's pilgrimage was made “problem-free”, acknowledged the contribution of the Muslim community to the success story of his Government.
He singled out for praise the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharabutu, for his “noble voice of wisdom and advice” to not only Muslims but the entire nation on the need for national peace.
He asked that they extended the same level of co-operation and understanding to his successor.
The National Chief Imam warned that there was much the nation stood to lose if the people did not stand together against the growing tendency of violence.
He also admonished them to avoid leaders, who pandered to parochial tribal and religious interests to achieve their selfish political ends.