President Mills congratulating Zita Okaikoi, Minister of Information DR. MOHAMMED Ibn Chambas, President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was among many dignitaries who thronged the Credential Hall of the Castle to witness the swearing-in of the 3rd batch of Ministers of State.
His presence at the Castle generated a lot of excitement among government officials including the yet-to-be sworn-in Ministers and media personnel against the backdrop of rumours that he was penciled to be the running mate to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party in the last presidential elections.
The Ministers who were sworn in were Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration; Stephen Amoanor Kwao, Minister for Employment and Social Welfare; Alexander Asum-Ahensah, Minister of Chieftaincy; Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, Minister for Health; Mrs. Sabah Zita Okaikoi, Minister for Information.
The rest were Albert Abongo, Minister for Water, Resources, Works and Housing; Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister for Food and Agriculture; Ms. Hanny-Sherry Ayittey, Minister for Environment, Science and Technology; Hajia Rafatu Alhassan Dubie, Minister at the Presidency; Alhassan Azong, Minister of State at the Presidency and Mark Wayongo, Minister for the Upper East Region.
President John Evans Atta Mills administered the Oaths of Allegiance, Minister of state and Secrecy, and later presented their instruments of work with a copy each of the 1992 Constitution.
The Ministers in turns signed the oath books amidst applause from scores of family members and spouses with Mr. Wayongo, receiving the biggest of the applauses for his tortuous moment at the Vetting Committee.
Addressing them, President Mills reminded them of the sacred responsibility they have towards the people of Ghana, especially meeting the great expectations of the people.
He re-echoed his resolve to cut down state protocol activities, seminars and workshops and other traveling to cut down cost.
President Mills assured Ghanaians that the cutting down of the budget would save the nation huge financial cost, and that money could be invested in the development of Ghanaians.
He urged the ministers to be humble, honest and be time conscious, stressing that he was not going to tolerate late coming.
The president cautioned against the Ministers opening their doors to people who want favours, and that such people should not be tolerated.
Alluding to the president's words of advice, the vice-president John Dramani Mahama noted that their government inherited an asset declaration regime that does not encourage probity and accountability and that at the appropriate time, measures would be taken to make such exercises very transparent.
He reminded the ministers to be apostles of transforming the President's vision of making life better to many Ghanaians whose expectations were beyond bound.
Vice-president Mahama told the Ministers of working without 'Special Assistants', and that the duties of the deputy Ministers were to assist the Ministers.
He urged them to be circumspect and operate an open door policy to accommodate people of different shades of life and political leanings.
Dr. Chambas on his part expressed high hopes in the ministers appointed and urged them not to let the president down.
He described the performance of the National Democratic Party's (NDC) in the last elections as encouragement to the people of the sub region.
Dr. Chambas intimated that the success of the election, the peace and maturity of Ghanaians were indications that Ghana had come of age.
The ECOWAS Chairman advised them to be result-oriented so as to meet the expectations of the people of Ghana, especially the youth.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Alhaji Mumuni pledged to exhibit the best of attitude to merit the confidence placed in them.
He said the dramatic and tortuous moment some of them had to go through at the Vetting Committee ought to remind them of the hard times ahead of them which should strengthen them to work hard.
By Wisdom Peter Awuku