Let’s Stem Tide of Corruption — Rawlings
Some churches in the Volta regional capital, Ho, last Sunday were virtually left empty as hundreds of residents, mostly supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), abandoned church service to attend the 36th commemoration of the 31st December 1981 revolution which ushered in the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government under the chairmanship of Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings.
The ceremony, which brought many from far and near, commenced with a route march through the principal streets of Ho in the early hours of Sunday ahead of a durbar at the Capt. Nfojoh’s Park behind the Ho STC yard, attracted droves of residents, some of whom lined up the streets to catch a glimpse of the NDC stalwarts who were in attendance.
Some residents, in an interaction with the Daily Graphic, said even though it was the last day of the year 2017, they chose to trade off the morning church services and cover up with the watchnight service later that evening.
One resident who was seen scrambling with others for a commemoration T-shirt told the Daily Graphic that “We all know today is not just a Sunday but also the last day of the year 2017 and we’re supposed to be in church.
“But you also know events such as this do not always happen in town, so it was just fair that we forfeit the church service this morning for us to witness this occasion. Then in the evening, we can all troop to the churches for the 31st night service to usher in the New Year.”
After an over two-hour march which brought vehicular traffic to a temporary halt in town, attendees, including former Presidents John Mahama and Flt Lt Rawlings, assembled at the Capt. Nfojoh’s Park to lay wreaths and light the perpetual flame in commemoration of the uprising which was hinged on the principles of probity, accountability and social justice.
In all, six wreaths were laid, with the immediate past Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward
Doe Adjaho, laying one on behalf of the people of Ghana, and a former Ho Central Member of Parliament (MP), Capt George Nfojoh Retd, laying one on behalf of the Security Services.
Laying one on behalf of the Cadre Corps was Madam Jessey Akumemu, while a Senior Divisional Chief of the Asogli Traditional Area, Togbe Adzie Lakle Hiowusu XIV, and the
Chief of Adaklu-Kodzobi, Togbe Dzegblade IV, jointly laid a wreath on behalf of traditional leaders.
A chief fisherman, Mr Seth Keddey, also laid one on behalf of farmers and fishermen, while that of the youth was done by Madam Linda Attiah.
Former President J.J. Rawlings, in his usual charisma and showmanship, dedicated the lighting of the perpetual flame to women for their invaluable roles during the revolution and delegated the role to some queen mothers, led by Mama Amenuxe of Mafi, who lit the flame to the applause of many.
Ft Lt Rawlings, in his address on the theme: ‘Uniting around the Principles of Probity, Accountability and Social Justice,’ said the country, in spite of the progress it had made since the revolution, had fallen short of the principles and ideals of the uprising due to the insatiable greed of a few political elites in recent time.
According to him, “We have sunk so low as a country and we have betrayed the blood of all those who laid down their lives to stem the stinking tide of corruption that engulfed Ghana over 30 years ago.”
He indicated that the NDC had also deviated from the principles on which it was founded, adding that “the sacrifices many dedicated men and women endured to give our party life and succour have been abused and trampled upon by some in a manner that even the elephant will be envious of.”
The NDC founder, therefore, called for a ‘new revolution’ within the party which would restore it back to the ideals of probity, accountability, integrity and social justice, indicating that: “The time has come for men and women who believe in the ideals of June 4, 31st December and the NDC to rise up.”
Former President John Mahama, who for the umpteenth time took responsibility for the NDC’s humiliating 2016 electoral defeat, urged the party’s rank and file to end the blame game and forge in one accord towards the reorganisation of the party towards election
He indicated that: “A lot of our wounds were self-inflicted and there are as many opinions that caused our loss as there are members in our party. But I must say that the NDC will rise
again and I am sure that all of us are learning our lessons and those lessons will guide us to
undertake the major significant steps to put the party back into shape to be able to contest the election of 2020.”
The 36th commemorative ceremony, which was seen as a platform to rejuvenate the NDC’s political ‘world bank’ after the painful electoral defeat, saw the assembly of supporters, senior and junior cadres of the revolution, past government functionaries and party stalwarts, including the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin; the party’s General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah; the Vice National Chairperson, Madam Anita De Sosoo; Ambassadors James Victor Gbeho, Dan Abodakpi, Akua Sena Dansua and Modestus Ahiable.