President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo has paid glowing tribute to his Liberian counterpart, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, for successfully holding the fort and uniting the people of Liberia.
With five months to Liberia’s next presidential election, President Akufo-Addo acknowledged President Johnson-Sirleaf’s efforts at fostering a spirit of national reconciliation among Liberians and restoring law and order since she took office in 2006.
He said President Johnson-Sirleaf assumed the reins of government in Liberia at a very difficult moment in the country’s history.
President Akufo-Addo gave the commendation at a state dinner and investiture ceremony held in his honour by President Johnson-Sirleaf in Monrovia last Friday.
He was decorated with Liberia’s highest national award, the Grand Order of the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of Pioneers, for his contribution to the sustenance of lasting peace in Liberia and helping to set the country on the path to recovery.
The President was also enstooled as a chief by paramount chiefs of Monrovia and given the stool name Kandakai Gbogba, to wit, “a good man who brings peace” at the ceremony.
President Akufo-Addo said President Johnson-Sirleaf’s “efforts, in this regard, were recognised. You won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, along with two others, for your role in contributing to secure peace in Liberia, promoting economic and social development and also strengthening the position of women”.
“Again, during the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Liberia, which resulted in the death of thousands, your resolve and that of all Liberians were tested. However, at the end of the day, the people of this resilient nation prevailed under your guidance, and ensured an end to the outbreak of this deadly disease,” he said.
He added that “last year, your colleague Heads of State voted unanimously to elect you as Chairperson of ECOWAS. We are all proud of the work you have done and continue to do in service to God, country and region”.
He commended President Johnson-Sirleaf for the strong leadership she had also exhibited to promote the development of an economy still reeling from the aftershocks of Ebola, which had compromised the economic gains made by Liberia in recent years.
“However, the World Bank projects that over the medium term, economic growth is expected to increase to five per cent, on average, due to a recovery in mining and improvement in infrastructure, particularly in energy and roads and higher agricultural productivity. Hopefully, this growth path will endure,” he added.
Ahead of the conduct of Liberia’s October presidential election, President Akufo-Addo applauded President Johnson-Sirleaf for the ongoing efforts being made to entrench democracy and the rule of law in Liberia.
“That process will be enhanced, to the admiration of all in our region and beyond, by the quality of the arrangements for October’s electoral contest and by the quality of the democratic transition which Liberia is about to witness. I wish you and the Liberian people well and Godspeed,” he said.
He recounted the history of Ghana’s bilateral relations with Liberia, encompassing the times when President William V.S. Tubman of Liberia and Ghana’s President Kwame Nkrumah helped to facilitate the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU), in 1963
President Akufo-Addo also referred to the involvement of Ghana in the consolidation of peace and security in Liberia in the last decade, as well as playing host to thousands of Liberian refugees who fled the civil war.
He said through the efforts of Ghana’s Volta River Authority (VRA), electricity was extended to post-conflict Monrovia for the first time in 2006.
“Co-operation in the development of our agriculture, education, science and technology, infrastructure, health and energy, as well as co-ordination in the exploitation of our natural resources, such as iron ore, diamonds, gold, timber and rubber, will be of immense benefit to our two countries,” he stressed.
Despite the good relations that existed between the two countries, there were still a number of outstanding matters in the areas of fisheries, provision of technical support for technical and vocational education, military co-operation, health and finance which needed to be addressed, President Akufo-Addo added.
Mr Hassan Ahmed, the Director of State Protocol, displaying a gift from President Akufo-Addo to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
President Akufo-Addo and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf with other dignitaries from Ghana and Liberia