Fellow compatriots, brothers and sister, our tradition and simple courtesy demands that I use this occasion to thank you for the confidence that you have reposed in me, by electing me to serve as your Executive President for the next four years.
It is a great honour and privilege to be elected to occupy the seat once occupied by the illustrious founding father of our nation, the great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
I feel very humbled.
It is with great humility that I accept your vote of confidence and I promise to do my best not to disappoint you, the good people of Ghana.
I am very grateful for the chance you have given me and my party to be the custodian of our nation’s affairs in the next four years.
Fellow compatriots, I thank you greatly.
The tasks ahead of us are great and they call for the utmost dedication from each and every one of us.
It is, of course, the duty of governments to provide leadership and direction, but citizens also have their own roles to play.
Our dear country faces great challenges in all the spheres that we care to look.
Our economy is confronted with very deep problems.
We suffer greatly from the adverse effects of global warming due to no cause on our part.
Our electricity and water supplies remain inadequate for our citizens.
We face great challenges in the large number of our people that are out of work.
Many of them have received little or no education at all, so that they cannot even participate in the building the great nation we so cherished.
Tribalism, that terrible ogre that has consumed so many lives on our dear continent from Cape to Cairo, is rearing its ugly heads in our dear country.
But, fellow compatriots, I urge that we maintain a positive outlook of life.
Life is nothing but a struggle.
Many people have faced greater peril than what today confronts us, and they triumphed.
They succeeded simply because they did not allow themselves to be unnecessarily daunted by the challenges that life poses.
They took their challenges in stride and they conquered them.
It is this positive way of looking at challenges that I dearly recommend to each and every one of us.
We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be defeated by a pessimistic philosophy that is alien to our culture.
Our African cosmogony thrives on unbridled optimism.
Our forebears bequeathed to us rich legacies we can build upon.
Our African Personality has stood us in good stead over the years, and it is not something that we should jettison in a hurry.
The challenges that confront us today might look immense, but they pale in comparison to what our forebears have to bear.
Today we bemoan lack of adequate food, water, shelter, clinics, good roads and the rest of the things that have become part of modern, civilized life.
I do not mean to belittle these challenges that confront us, but I hasten to add that compared with what our fore-parents had to face, our challenges pale into insignificance.
We are indeed very lucky.
Today, we do not have to cope with slave raiding parties that denuded our lands of its most productive best and brightest.
We do not have to battle today with the indignities of been colonized by foreigners that do not wish us well.
Compared with what our fore-parents had to bear, I say that we are lucky, very lucky indeed.
Our fore-parents had to live in constant fear of been captured, beaten, branded, shackled and sold like common cattle, never to see their land and their people again.
In slavery, they became common chattel. That means that they were someone’s property.
Spell that with a capital letter.
From slavery our forebears had to endure about a hundred years of bestial colonialism.
A group of European powers decided to share our continent among themselves and they sent their officials to take possession of our land and of our lives.
Our parents were browbeaten into submission, had their lands forcibly taken away from them and forced to become indentured workers for white colonisers.
Under colonialism our parents were made to endure every form of humiliation and indignity.
Luckily for us, their children, today no colonial official is bossing us around.
We have total control of our land and all its rich resources.
We are today the masters of our own destiny.
Allow me to depart from the traditional form of address common to inaugural ceremonies, so that I can engage in a personal and candid conversation with you, fellow compatriots.
During my campaign I eschewed the traditional form of promising you the moon.
The only that I promised was that I am going to be a president the like of which you never had before.
I also promised not to be your typical politician who promised to do things for you that are simply not possible.
I promised you that I will be truthful, honest and be very candid with you in all my undertakings.
That was my solemn pledge and one that I will carry out faithfully.
I believed that it was on the basis of my promise to tell you nothing but the honest truth that you elected me to run the affairs of our dear nation for the next four years.
By virtue of your votes, I stand there today before you as the president our beloved republic.
Fellow compatriots, God in his infinite wisdom gave every human being the faculties to cater for himself.
He gave us the brain to think. He also gave us two hands and two legs to accomplish whatever our brain cells are able to craft for us.
If you care to look closely at me you will notice that I have only one head just like the rest of you.
God also did not equip me with extra legs, eyes, ears or arms.
It simply means that I’m no super-human; I am an ordinary mortal like the average man or woman.
During my campaign, I tried to be as honest with you as humanly possible.
In all my campaign speeches I told you that by giving us immeasurable resources, the gods have done the best they could do for us.
How we use (or abuse) these vast natural resources is left for us.
Fellow compatriots, the time for hypocritical, flattering talk is over; we have to be very frank with ourselves.
Looking back at all the close to sixty years that we have been managing our affairs, we have no cause to beat our chests triumphantly.
The truth is that we have not fared well at all.
Given the resources at our disposal, we have fared very badly, if the honest be told.
I am not going to bore you with statistics but since we all live in this our dear country, we can all see the abysmal poverty that remains the lot of many of our fellow citizens.
Depending on whom you believe, fifty to eighty per cent of our people are living below the poverty level.
That means that they make do with about one point five cedis a day.
That’s the abysmal existence many of our compatriots still eke out daily!
We can blame foreigners, we can blame governments all we like, but we have to come back to what we, ourselves, are doing to improve our material existence here on earth?
There are a lot of things that we can do as individuals to ameliorate the poor states of our station, and as your president, I shall be remiss if I do not share some ideas with you.
The job of building Ghana is not for the president or the government alone.
We are all citizens of this great country and we together must build our homeland.
Our only ambition in life should be to build a nation that our children and their children, children will be very proud of.
So that when we join the ancestors, we can do so with a smile on our faces, knowing full well that we left our footprints in the sand of history.
We can then carry the message to our forebears that our children are enjoying the sweat of our hard labour.
No honour can be greater than the knowledge that our children and their children will be proud, very proud of what we accomplish in our sojourn in this spinning ball that we all call home.
Fellow compatriots, my brothers and sisters, I will not promise you the moon.
I will never, I repeat never make a promise to you that I cannot and will not keep.
If I make a promise, I’ll keep it.
I can understand cynics who may scoff at this very idea.
For very long time, many leaders have made many promises that they did not keep.
You can write this down that I stand before you today and solemnly promise never to tell the good people of our great nation anything but the truth.
My promise to you shall be sacrosanct and shall be kept.
Let my friends and foes write this down.
Every week I shall be sharing with you ideas about the nature of our nation. I shall be sharing with you my own ideas about what I think we can individually and collectively do to move the wheel of our nation’s progress forward.
Until next week when I shall come to address you again, and share with you the first of the ideas I have, I say God bless you and may the good Lord continue to bless our beloved homeland.