Before a roaring crowd including local and foreign guests, Nana Akufo-Addo yesterday took office as Ghana’s fifth president, promising to stamp out government corruption and kick start the private sector.
The 72-year-old former human rights lawyer declared that being a Ghanaian must come with a code of conduct.
“It is time to define what being a Ghanaian ought to mean. Being a Ghanaian must mean you sign up to a definable code of conduct,” he said in his inaugural address at the Independence Square.
“Being a Ghanaian is an obligation on each of us to work to building a fair and prosperous nation,” he added.
National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC),Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in a congratulatory message to the new president said it is a new dawn in Ghana.
Wearing a traditional robe draped over one shoulder, Akufo-Addo waved a gold sword — a symbol of Ghana’s presidency – and said "We no longer have any excuses for being poor.
“We must restore integrity in public life. State coffers are not spoils for the party that wins an election, but resources for the country’s social and economic development.
He vowed to put Ghana “back on the path of progress and prosperity” after an economic slump under Mahama that led to an International Monetary Fund bail-out.
The new president spoke of his determination to support entrepreneurs and attract investors to the country, which has suffered from lacklustre growth in recent years.
“We will reduce taxes to recover the momentum of our economy,” Akufo-Addo said.
Eleven African heads of state including Presidents Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria),Egdar Lungu (Zambia), Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (Equatorial Guinea) ,Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) ,Ali Bongo Ondimba (Gabon), Ernest Bai Koroma (Sierra Leone) attended the ceremony as were Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, Indonesia’s Joko Widodo and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan..
Also in attendance were Akufo-Addo’s immediate predecessor, John Dramani Mahama, and former leaders John Rawlings and John Kufuor,
President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire was the special guest of honour.
Accra police enforced tight security during the inauguration, with major roads in and around the venue cordoned off.
Traders set up stalls nearby hoping to cash in on the ceremony by selling Ghana flags and white, red and blue paraphernalia from Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party.
Asiwaju Tinubu in a statement described Akufo-Addo as a seasoned administrator and diplomat from a strong political family, saying, with him, Ghana is headed for greater heights.
Asiwaju Tinubu also congratulated Ghana for setting the right democratic example for Africa.
He said: “The people of Ghana have chosen right. Akufo-Addo is a seasoned administrator, diplomat and hails from a strong political family in Ghana.
“With him at the helm, Ghana is poised for greater heights. He has been in government before as Foreign Affairs Minister and comes prepared for the office he has sought for two times unsuccessfully. His election is a testament to perseverance, vision and commitment.
“I also congratulate Ghana for setting the right example for Africa. With transition not only from one leader to another but also from one government to another, from a governing party to an opposition party, that country’s democracy is maturing.
“Indeed, it’s a new dawn for Ghana. President Akufo-Addo must now join our President, Muhammadu Buhari, in the task of taking Africa to the next level.
“I must congratulate Ghanaians for the peaceful election and orderly transition. The conduct of all involved in the election shows that democracy has been firmly established in Ghana. As has been its tradition, Ghana has once again helped to lead Africa in the way it must go. The Black Star truly shines for all of Africa!
“I commend former President John Mahama for his courage and gallantry. He has helped to further stabilise democracy in Ghana. By conceding defeat even before the winner had been called, President Mahama had demonstrated that he is a true democrat and a progressive leader.”