President Akufo-Addo on the dancing floor with Justice Theodora Wood at a farewell dinner in Accra
President Akufo-Addo has stressed the need for the country to honour its sons and daughters who distinguish themselves exceptionally in the service of the nation.
He believes it is the best way to crown their efforts.
This was when he held a farewell dinner for the immediate-past Chief Justice (CJ), Georgina Theodora Wood at the presidency last Friday.
Chief Justice Georgina Wood was not just the first female CJ of the land, but was also the longest-serving leader of the country's judiciary in recent past.
Speaking at the event, President Akufo-Addo noted that “it is important for our country that we recognize and acknowledge exceptional service to our nation; and that is what our guest of honour has rendered to our people.”
He was full of praise for the former Chief Justice who has since taken her place on the Council of State.
For him, “It has been an outstanding career which saw her rise to its greatest heights in its later years,” for which reason he said “we owe her a debt of gratitude for the manner in which she confronted her greatest crisis, the judicial expose' that the extraordinary Anas Aremeyaw Anas revealed to a stunned nation.”
That, he said, was because “the measures she put in place and the way she worked methodically to regain the confidence of the skeptical population will always stand her in good stead when the history of the Ghanaian judiciary is recorded.”
Apart from that, the President also commended Justice Wood for helping to restore public confidence in the judiciary, describing it as “an important contribution to good governance in our country.”
“For myself, and I hope you will forgive me for dwelling on this, her decision to broadcast the proceedings of the celebrated election petition in which I was a plaintiff together with the Vice President and our late Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey was an important moment in our nation's political evolution”, he recounted.
He was of the belief, “it [election petition hearing] exposed the vagaries of our electoral system and compelled greater vigilance on the part of activists of my party which undoubtedly helped us achieve the famous victory of 7th December 2016.”
Nana Akufo-Addo therefore considered his current place as President of the Republic as an unintended consequence of her decision and thus expressed his gratitude to her, saying “I've every reason to be grateful to you.”
He could not but proposed a toast in her honour.
Having taken her place on the Council of State, Nana Akufo-Addo prayed that Madam Georgina Wood would bring her rich experience to bear.
He equally thanked her husband Edwin Wood who has always stood behind her for being there for her all these years.
On her part, the former Chief Justice could not hide her joy and gratitude to President Akufo-Addo for the honour, given that a state dinner is not included in the package for retiring Chief Justices.
She expressed profound gratitude to former President Kufuor, who appointed her as Chief Justice, an indication of the confidence he had in her.
Former President Kufuor was also in attendance.
Mrs Wood equally appreciated the roles the late President Mills and former President Mahama played in her career during their tenure of office.
“Yet of the career joys that I have attained, nothing comes closer to the joy of completing my mandate in public service and carrying the baton beyond the finish line; the joy of serving at the pleasure of my country in the endless pursuit of true justice according to law have inspired me to rise every morning and worked for this noble cause,” she noted with excitement.
In so doing, she indicated “I had drawn inspiration, courage and strength from many countless Ghanaians, including many of you who are here with me tonight.”
She therefore thanked all who made her career a success, especially President Akufo-Addo for the public honour and support.
“He has not failed to speak in glowing terms of my contribution to Ghana's democracy; sometimes I believe he is selling me above the controlled price,” she said to the admiration of all who had gathered.
“Mr President, I thank you and the people of Ghana for the trust reposed in me for the decade long opportunity to serve and as you have counted me worthy to serve or to continue to serve in a different capacity, I remain in your service and in the service of Ghana and will continue to faithfully discharge the task assigned me; may God bless us all and may God bless the country Ghana.”
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent