President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that the abundant blessings God has showered on the nation provide enough justification for the construction of a National Cathedral.
“Since independence, God has blessed our nation by sparing us the horrors of civil war that have afflicted virtually all our neighbours. It is in recognition of these blessings, and in order to redeem a personal pledge that I made to God prior to the 2016 elections, that I have decided to build an interdenominational National Cathedral of Ghana to His glory and honour,” he said.
Speaking at the International Luncheon of the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, in the United States of America last Thursday, the President said God’s blessings meant that the nation could do more to better the lives of the people.
“God’s blessings on our land mean that we can, we should and we must shed this cloak of poverty and chart for ourselves a path that will lift up the masses of our people into prosperity and enhance the quality of their lives,” he said.
The President said the characterisation of Ghana and other African countries by the West as being replete with hunger, poverty, diseases and famine “cannot be our portion”.
He told his audience that the country was blessed with natural resources and a hardworking population.
He added that Ghana’s march to a brighter future was underpinned by a firm attachment to a governance system that respected human rights and individual liberties, the rule of law and democratic accountability.
President Akufo-Addo said the government, since the assumption of power in 2016, had continued to be inundated with the blessings of God which had seen it restoring discipline in the management of the economy, resulting in Ghana becoming one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
“We are guaranteeing entry to education to all school-going children up to a minimum of senior high school and have strengthened access to health care for all. We are becoming increasingly self-sufficient in the production of food, and, as opposed to the difficulties of recent years, we are now exporting food to our neighbouring countries in West Africa,” he explained.
He said as a result of the prudent management of the economy, Ghana was becoming the largest recipient of foreign direct investments in West Africa in the last two years, with many of the leading names in the automobile industry trooping in to the country to establish manufacturing plants.
Christianity and development
Touching on the role of Christianity in national development, the President said it was enormous.
“The role of Ghanaian Christians in the development of the country cannot be overemphasised, as the churches in the country has, over the years, continued to render to the Ghanaian populace invaluable assistance in the areas of education, health and agriculture.
“All of us, who have taken Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal Saviour, have, also, a great deal of work to do to win the contemporary battle against the spread of religious extremism, intolerance and persecution, bigotry and terrorism,” he stated.
Emphasising his strong Christian principles, President Akufo-Addo said he was born into a family of deep Presbyterian convictions, adding that his faith in God was reinforced by the belief that without God one could not do anything.
Using his political journey to the Presidency as a good example, he said his political opponents wrote him off as someone who could never become President.
“Between 2008 and 2016, if any of you had the opportunity to visit Ghana, you would have certainly heard catchy phrases like ‘Akufo-Addo cannot be President’, ‘God does not want Akufo-Addo to become President’, Akufo-Addo is short and does not have the stature to be President’.
“Perhaps if you lost your first election by some 40,000 votes in a poll of some 10 million voters, as I did in 2008, and lost your second election after a controversial decision by the Supreme Court four years later, as I did, you would be tempted to believe that these comments had some merit.
“However, my faith in God would not let me give up. At my third attempt, I committed the campaign to God and indicated to the Ghanaian people that ‘The Battle is the Lord’s’. By God’s grace, I won a famous victory against an incumbent President in 2016 by a gap of some one million votes, the largest margin of victory for two decades,” he told his audience.
The President expressed his appreciation to the to co-Chairs of the National Prayer Breakfast, Senators Christopher Coons and James Lankford, and the entire membership of the Host Committee for making him the first Ghanaian leader to ever speak at the Prayer Breakfast.
But he added that he did not speak for himself alone but for the men and women who were very instrumental in the fight against “totalitarian ideas, such as Nazism, fascism and communism, ideas that posed direct threats to freedom”.
Year of Return
He applauded the United States for its defence of freedom in the 20th century.
The President also touched on the upcoming celebration of the “Year of Return”, which commemorates the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first West African slave in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
President Akufo-Addo explained that the “Year of Return” was aimed at bringing the African American and people of African descent together.