President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday called on the Songhai Community in Ghana to ensure that the “challenges” in Mali and the Sahelian region are not exported into the country.He held that the links that the community had established over the long period of stay in the country should be leveraged in helping Ghana ward off the shift of the emerging issues in Mali to Ghana.
“The problems that are in our part of West Africa…many of them can be readily addressed, if the kind of links that you have established here in Ghana are promoted all across West Africa,” the President said.
President Akufo-Addo was addressing a delegation from the Songhai community in Ghana, led by its paramount Chief, Amadu Fatahu Amadu Alhassan Maiga II, when they called on him at the Jubilee House in Accra.
The Community, originally from Mali, had been living in Ghana for centuries, with their footprints in the petroleum and retail sectors across the country. The call at the presidency was to introduce the community’s paramount Chief to the President and to solidarize with government’s policies, which had impacted positively the fortunes of the Songhai people in Ghana.
Acknowledging the Songhai community as a well-established part of the Ghanaian architecture for hundreds of years, the President noted that, they had through their businesses linked Ghana with Mali and the Songhai world, and contributed “very strongly to the development of our economy and of our nation”.
“We thank you and appreciate the values that you have brought to our lives…I know that in every little part of Ghana you are there because we see the evidence that you are there in the very sensitive parts of the national economic life.
“You are all part and parcel of the community now and we should continue to live as one community in brotherhood and solidarity, he said, adding that “the way you conduct yourselves, and bond and live with us here in Ghana”, was the best way to ensure that the emerging developments in Mali “don’t take place in our country”.”
President Akufo-Addo lauded the community’s commitment to promote the values of civic responsibility, education, entrepreneurship, good citizenship, among others, saying, “These are values that are very important for the growth of Ghana, especially to make sure that the stability and the peace, and the integrity of our country that we have today continues.
“We live in a difficult neighborhood and we are providing a good example of how people can live together in solidarity and develop a decent civilization”, the President stated.
President Akufo-Addo, who was happy to learn that the initiatives of his government in the areas of education, industry, and agriculture had found favour with the Songhai community, said, it was great news “that you are supporting them and incorporate them into their lives”.
“These are the impacts that they are intended to have to reach all sectors of our society…that impact is being felt, I am very encouraged to hear these messages that have come from you”, he said.
The Deputy General Secretary of the community, Swadiq Muhammad Huzaif, who spoke for the delegation, pledged that the Songhai people in Ghana would continue to respect the country’s laws and promote peace and security.
“My people are peace-loving people, law-abiding citizens, businessmen and women, who are doing well in their various aspect of life, especially in the Oil and Gas sector, and contributing their quota to the development of this country. We pledge to continue to respect the laws of Ghana in promoting peace and security, and the general well-being of all residents in Ghana. Our mission as a community is to promote education, entrepreneurship and civic culture among our people.”
Huzaif relayed the appreciation of the community to President Akufo-Addo for the efforts he was making to improve the socio-economic fortunes of Ghana.
“We appreciate your efforts and we can only pray that Ghanaians will see all these successes chalked under your leadership and return your government to power come 2020 elections to continue the good work you have started.
“Your Excellency, one area that I would like to highlight here is the introduction of the Free SHS policy, which my people from the Songhai and the Zongo Communities have taken advantage of and are benefiting a lot from it as well. As a matter of fact, education is the best anyone can give to the next generation if the present generation has the nation at heart. We say “FONDA GO!” bravo to you.”
“Your Excellency, we stand before you today to affirm our support to your government in all its endeavors to ensure that you succeed as President of Ghana,” he said.