President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been lauded for playing an instrumental role in ensuring Ghana returned from the shackles of the military regime to the path of constitutionalism.
Professor Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson, the Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), who gave the commendation when delivering the maiden Constitution Day Public Lecture, acknowledged the contributions of other prominent Ghanaians for advocating and fighting tirelessly for the entrenchment of the Fourth Republican Constitutional dispensation.
Prof. Bondzi-Simpson, an astute legal luminary, also singled out the contributions of B.J. Da Rocha, J.H Mensah, and Prof. Albert Adu Boahen, (all of blessed memory) and former President John Agyekum Kufuor for commendation.
Prof. Bondzi-Simpson, also commended some personalities who yielded to the demand for constitutionalism at that period and subsequently allowed the necessary constitutional structures and processes to be laid for a smooth take-off.
He mentioned some of the personalities as Justice D.F Annan, Paul Victor Obeng, (both of blessed memory) former President Jerry John Rawlings and Captain Kojo Tsikata (RTD).
He said the current peace and stability being enjoyed by Ghanaians under the Fourth Republic was not achieved on a silver platter, but through intense struggle and advocacy, which some people lost their lives in the process.
Prof. Bondzi-Simpson recounted the country’s trajectory from colonial rule through to the period Ghana achieved a Republican status in 1960 and the various military interruptions and military regimes, as well as the short-lived Second and Third Republics until the Fourth Constitutional Republican dispensation.
Ghana had so far witnessed five coup d’états and military regimes between 1966 and 1982.
Prof. Bondzi-Simpson, therefore, underscored the need for Ghanaians to use the Day for sober reflection and chart the way forward towards ensuring socio-economic advancement.
He said the Day was worth celebrating since it ushered the nation into the rule of law, respect for human rights and freedom of speech and expression, and should not be a mere public holiday for workers to rest after Christmas.
“It should be an occasion for public education and to re-orient ourselves to improve on the country’s public service and constitutionalism,” he added.
He said the Day should be preceded with a citizens’ forum for District, Municipal and Metropolitan Chief Executives to render an account of their stewardship to the people.
The celebration, he said, should be facilitated by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to engage teachers, students and pupils to conscientise them on the path of constitutionalism, while think tanks, civil society organisations and the media allowed to ask questions and critique the performance and activities of the local assemblies.
In that regard, he said, it would provide a platform for the people to come out with suggestions and innovative ideas that would improve upon the quality of public service delivery.
Additionally, Ghanaians would be afforded the opportunity to do retrospection and plan the way forward towards enhancing political and socio-economic development of the nation.
Constitutionalism, he said, was supposed to improve on the rule of law, respect for human rights and grassroots participation in the decision-making processes and ensure probity and accountability.