SONA 2017: 'I have utmost respect for Akufo-Addo' – Mahama

Outgoing President John Mahama says he respects incoming President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his contribution towards Ghana’s democracy.

He said he has served along side the new President from the day they both entered Parliament in 1997 and admired his work ethics as well as his respect for due diligence.

Delivering his final State of the Nation Address Thursday, President Mahama said that although they both belong to different political parties, they share the same ambition which is to bring prosperity to Ghanaians.

“Given our history, especially that we have each had our turn on each side of a presidential election, It would seem only natural for us to be considered opponents…[but] we are all on the same team,” he said.

“We worked together when I served as Ranking member on the Committee of Foreign Affairs at a time Nana Addo was the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration,” he said.

The outgoing Ghana’s leader remarked that the only time he had crossed swords with his incoming successor was when some Ghanaian youth were murdered in Gambia.

“This is how long I have known the President-elect and worked with him. I have the utmost respect for him,” he added.

President Mahama entreated Ghanaians to rally behind the incoming President to contribute his quota towards the development of the country.

“Political opposition and differences of opinion are vital to the health and growth of a democracy,” he said, adding political actors have to priority the national interest over partisan interest in their actions.

He said “Partisanship for its own sake, in the end, is no better than dictatorship.”

According to him, there are many countries in the world with deep political divide because of partisanship. “We can see, too, the divide that it is threatening to create in ours if we are not careful,” he warned.

“We cannot afford as a nation to wish or hope for the failure of any president and his or her government.”

Although it is important to insist on accountability, President Mahama said it is “not the same as leveling insults or encouraging apathy.”

“We have history as proof that we have been better and we have done better. And we will, we must, do better once again.”

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