President Nana Dankwa Akuffo-Addo of Ghana on Monday charged the Nigerian legal community to consolidate its position at the vanguard of the country’s quest to reclaim her values, unite around shared national aspirations, and erect the building blocks of lasting prosperity. He gave this charge in a keynote speech on the first full day of the 58th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital city.
Newswire’s magazine correspondent in Abuja reports that Akuffo-Addo, who was elected to office in 2016 after previous unsuccessful attempts in 2008 and 2012, urged his Nigerian audience not to give up hope in their quest to build sustainable democratic, economic and electoral institutions – for the simple reason that in the absence of such institutions, sustainable development was all but impossible. He also urged the government and other stakeholders to situate the people at the very centre of development.
Citing Ghana’s experience in democratic governance and the dramatic growth that has improved that country’s standing on important global indicators such as the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) in recent years, the President outlined a number of far-reaching institutional reforms, including revamping and diversifying the judiciary to ensure the speedy dispensation of justice, and to make it more responsive to the needs of society as a whole.
Akuffo-Addo praised the long symbiotic relationship between his country and Nigeria –a relationship which has over the years sometimes taken on a competitive, but never an adversarial, quality – and called for an even more intimate relationship, especially in the trade and economic spheres, both on a bilateral level and in the light of the aims and objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA). He also offered some lessons Nigeria might learn from Ghana’s experience, and vice versa.
President Akuffo-Addo’s rousing presentation, which was interrupted at various intervals with enthusiastic applause, was followed by a one-on-one session between him and the Emir of Kano, HRH Muhammad Sanusi II. With the Emir playing the role of the interviewer in a highly intellectual discourse, the two statesmen rubbed minds on a wide variety of topical issues such as how to promote Africa’s collective interest in a world of competing interests and trade wars; the need to balance environmental protection with the quest for industrialization; the vexed issue of endemic corruption and how best to confront and eradicate it; how to stem mass illegal migration from Africa and end the scourge of modern slavery; and ways of deepening intra-African trade, among others.
At the end of the discourse, the Emir expressed Africa’s pride in having leaders like President Akuffo-Addo, saying that with more leaders like him, the continent was sure to rise to its rightful place in no distant time.