Sporting a blue black suit, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, on Thursday, delivered his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) to Parliament, in Accra, amidst mixed feelings from the members of the House.
At the end of the more than one hour delivery, the President, bespectacled, gave hope to the nation by saying: “our nation is on the right path; we’ll be a Ghana beyond aid.”
However, members of the Minority Caucus of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who had embarked on a sit-down strike the previous day, and clad in mourning clothes, used the occasion to register their protest against what they called oppression from the Speaker and the Majority Leader.
The President’s delivery was in fulfillment of Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
From the main entrance to the chamber, the House had prepared itself to receive the First Gentleman of the Land and Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.
A cavalry of security personnel made of the Police and the Military, with their horses, stood sentry under the avenue trees, painted in the Ghana national colours of red, yellow and green, with the lawn beautifully manicured for the occasion.
Canopies were mounted on the lawns and fitted with television sets that fed the people outside with proceedings in connection with the events of the day.
Various forms of traditional cultural displays, especially the Kete dance, were performed in anticipation of the arrival of the President.
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, First Lady Rebecca Naa Okaikor Akufo-Addo; Samira Bawumia, wife of the Vice President were present to listen to the President speak.
The chamber, arrayed in an interior decoration of drapes in the national colours, played host, in the public gallery, to Traditional Rulers, Members of the Diplomatic Community, the Clergy, former Members of Parliament, former and present presidential aspirants across the nation’s political divide.
And in the guests’ gallery were Former President Jerry John Rawlings and wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, former President John Agyekum Kufuor; and John Dramani Mahama and his Vice Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur.
Chief Justice Sophia Akufo and other Supreme Court Judges were present for the occasion.
The entrance of the Speaker was announced with shouts of “Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker” after which the Marshall, in a tuxedo, with the national Mace on his shoulder, led a cortege of clerks and the Speaker into the Chamber.
And when the President arrived, he inspected a guard mounted in his honour, and walked through the sounds of traditional drumming and dancing.
And in shouts of Order! Order!, the Speaker announced his presence, and invited the members for prayers, in which he beseeched God blessings on the nation. Thereafter, he invited the Leaders on both Sides of the house to welcome the President into the chamber.
As the President entered the chamber, the giant drums, accompanied by the sounds from the ‘atenteben’ horns, throbbed gallantly to herald the arrival of the President in the chamber.
And when the Police Band sounded the National Anthem, Members of the Minority highlighted the part that said ” and help us to resist oppressors rule, with all our will and might for ever more,” repeating it several times before the President began his speech.
“I am happy to be here again in this august House, a place where I have experienced some of the most memorable moments of my political career, and made some cherished friendships across the political divide,” President Akufo-Addo, former member of the House, then representing the people of Abuakwa South in the Eastern Region, said.
Midway in his speech the president quoted an Ewe proverb; Nuveve la, wo da ne le ze veve me, to wit, “that which is important, you cook in an important pot, sending the whole House into laughter.
It was another sight at the MPs cafeteria when former President John Mahama, also a former legislator joined colleagues in a rice meal.