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31.07.2004 Regional News

Ghanaians urged to have sense of national self-consciousness

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Tamale, July 31, GNA - The Most Reverend Gregory Ebo Kpiebaya, Catholic Archbishop of Tamale, has called on Ghanaians to develop a sense of national self-consciousness towards nation building. He said the country needed citizens who could translate national consciousness into a sense of fellowship and acceptance of one another as equal people.

Rev Kpiebaya said: "When there is national consciousness, no group of people will consider itself to be more Ghanaian than others." He called on Ghanaians to rise above ethnicity and divisiveness and unite towards attaining national objectives.

Most Rev. Kpiebaya was addressing a four-day workshop on good governance organised for assembly members from the Tamale Metropolis, Savelugu/Nanton and Tolon-Kumbungu Districts.

The Tamale Ecclesiastical Provincial Pastoral Conference (TEPPCON) organised the workshop, which was sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) of Germany, a non-governmental organisation and the Catholic Diocese of Munster, Germany, as part of its civic education programme.

About 50 participants are attending the forum, which is under the theme: "Religion, Culture and Politics in Nation Building."

Archbishop Kpiebaya said TEPPCON had initiated a programme to sensitise members of the Catholic Church in the Upper West, Upper East, and Northern Regions on their civic and political rights.

He said: "At this stage of the growth of the Church, there is the need to create greater awareness of the social responsibility of Christians, to make them see themselves as agents of challenge and transformers of the social milieu."

Rev Kpiebaya said the workshop was the second phase of the TEPPCON civic education programme to create political and civic awareness among assembly members and other people who play important roles in the political and civic lives of the districts.

The Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive, Alhaji Iddrisu Adam, said the Government had adopted good governance as one of its strategies to create wealth for the benefit of all Ghanaians.

He said the accelerated poverty reduction strategy of the Government was to ensure that "poverty is reduced to the minimum". "This can be achieved by ensuring that all Ghanaians have access to information, government and public office-holders uphold transparency in decision-making, accountability and zero tolerance for corruption in both the public and private sectors."

The Metropolitan Chief Executive urged the participants to take the workshop seriously so that they could bring the issues of governance closer to the people.

He said, "It is only when the people are well-informed about governance that they can participate in creating wealth to reduce poverty."

Alhaji Adam told the forum that, the government repealed the criminal libel law to enable Ghanaians to use the airwaves and the print media to promote good governance but "unfortunately, however, the way some people are using the media, especially the radio, leaves much to be desired".

He called on Ghanaians, especially residents of the Tamale Metropolis, "to use the radio to promote things that unite us and not things that divide us".

On the state of emergency imposed on Dagbon and it implications, Alhaji Adam noted that the situation necessitated the suspension of the district level elections but said, "We as an Assembly in our present state, have in recent times been wrongly criticized by a section of citizens in the metropolis."

"Though the state of emergency has been lifted in some districts in Dagbon, it has not been lifted in Tamale and Yendi, a situation, which has attracted a lot of comments and some have wrongly accused us of not involving the public in decision-making process."

"But I wish to state here that, this is a wrong perception. The fact that elected members are not in place does not mean that decision is taken arbitrarily; on the contrary, we are in touch with the people at the grassroots and all projects in the communities are reflections of the felt needs of the people," he said.

The Metropolitan Chief Executive said, "While we pray that peace is restored to the metropolis and elections held so that we can have proper meaning of good governance, I wish to assure the people of Tamale that we will always guide against any form of decision that will not be in their interest."

A manual for development work at the local level for District Assembly Members of Northern Ghana, aimed at empowering Christians to influence politics with religious values, was launched at the workshop.

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