The President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Prof. John Evans Atta has made a solemn pledge to sustain the peace in the country before, during and after the 2012 general elections.
“As President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, I pledge to ensure that Ghana remains peaceful, before, during and after this year’s election.
As a nation, we have no other option but to “sustain the peace” that we are enjoying, in order to broaden the frontiers of our “democracy and development”.
The President made this pledge in his address at the 55th Independence Day celebration held at the independence square in Accra yesterday.
He said Ghanaian’s independence would be meaningless if individuals do not work together towards development.
“This 55th Independence Day celebration will be meaningless if it is not linked to our collective resolve to join forces in ensuring that nothing is done to whittle away the sweat, blood and toil of those who have made it possible for us to be where we are today”.
“Certainly, we have not reached our final destination as regards our march towards growth and development, but we have made some significant gains and cannot afford to destroy what we have toiled to build”, the President added.
According to him, posterity will not forgive this present generation if they do not work hard to maintain what has been given to them by those who fought for independence.
President Mills reiterated his commitment to a peaceful election in December, but maintained that it did not only depend on the government, but also on the citizenry in general.
The President advised the youth not to be discouraged in the face of challenges, but do their utmost best to achieve their dreams and play their part in developing the nation, “life without challenge is empty. Continue to work hard till you achieve all your goals in life.”
President Mills said it was a collective responsibility for all Ghanaians to commit to peace because “we have no option than to sustain the peace of the country and broaden the frontiers of democracy.”
President Mills paid tribute to Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and his compatriots, who fought for independence for the country, saying that the torch he lit is still glowing across the African continent and the world beyond.
A one minute silence was also observed in memory of 14 year old Goni Etorman, of the Ho Fiave Seventh Day Adventist Junior High School, who passed away while joining her school mates rehearse for the anniversary parade.
The parade featured 1200 teachers and students form different districts of the greater Accra region, while the various security agencies also took in part in the march to cheer the audience.
Reports from Ho in the Volta Region indicated that the regional celebration of the 55th independent anniversary started exactly 8:56 am with 250 security personnel drawn from the army from the 66 Artillery Regiment, Police service, Prisons Service, Immigration Service, National Fire Service, Custom Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and one thousand pupils and students from basic and second cycle institutions in the Ho Municipality were on parade to mark the occasion.
The seven contingent of the security personnel on parade, students and pupils, including army cadet corps of the Mawuli Senior High School, treated the audience to military drills, quick and slow march past to the admiration of the large crowd, who gathered at the jubilee park in Ho to mark the celebration.
The Volta Regional Police band provided music for the occasion where civil society groups also participated in the march past including the Prisons Wives Association, Non Governmental Organizations and Inter-party peace committees.
They carried placards to create awareness about the need to ensure peace in the forthcoming general elections some of which read “tolerate the views of your political opponent, we need peace for development in Ghana, Please register when the biometric registration starts and let us respect the law  at all times” among others.
The jubilant moment, however, came to an end when the reviewing officer of the parade, the Regional Minister, Mr. Joseph Amenowode mounted the podium and requested for a minute’s silence in memory of a 14 year old pupil of the Ho-Fiave Seventh Day Adventist Junior High School, Miss Etornam Gorni, who collapsed and died while the rehearsal for the 55 anniversary was being held in the school.
Mr. Amenowode’s posture at this time made many of the people who might have heard about the incident very sad, as he solemnly said “may her soul rest in perfect peace,” noting the young girl was very patriotic and stressed that she would be remembered for her zeal to serve the nation.
The Regional Minister on behalf of the President John Evans Atta Mills, the government, chiefs and people of the Volta region, expressed heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and the entire staff and students of the Ho-Fiave Seventh Day Adventist School, and assured that the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC) and the Regional Education Directorate had a package in place to support the family in their moment of grief.
Touching on the 55 independent anniversary, Mr. Amenowode commended teachers, security agencies, labourers, market women, drivers and all workers for their hard work and dedication to support the growth and of the nation since independent and noted that the occasion was the right time to celebrate the values that had sustained us as one people over the years.
“Today is a time to celebrate the very essence of our Ghanaian heritage and the things that have not only defined us as a people, but also inspired countless others across the world. Brothers and sisters, this is a day that energizes me to stay committed to dedicating myself to the service of Ghana and I believe it is also same in your case,” he said.
Mr. Amenowode said as a nation, there was no other option but to sustain the peace being enjoyed in order to broaden the frontiers of our democracy and promote development and warned that at no point in time that the peace of the nation be taken for granted and assured that there would be total peace in the region before, during and after the election.
Our correspondent reports that the jubilee park in Kumasi was a sight to behold yesterday when school children from primary and junior high schools in the metropolis put up a mastery performance to mark Ghana’s 55th Independence Day anniversary.
The colourful ceremony, which was attended by people from all walks of life including government functionaries and the academia, lasted for almost two hours as school children put a craftily well rehearsed march pass to entertain large crowd of people who attended the occasion.
The ceremony was however not bereft of the usual non-partisan nature, despite calls for its to be celebrated as a nonaligned occasion, with supporters of the ruling party spotting party shirts and other paraphernalia bearing the portraits of His Excellency, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, the President of Ghana.
The side attraction for the programme was a cultural display by some traditional dance group.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Dr.Kwaku Agyemang Mensah, took salutations from officials from the Ghana Police, the Fire Service, the Immigration Service, the Military, other para-security agencies and participating school children.
In all, about 13 basic schools participated in the marching procession to commemorate the day.
Other government officials who participated in the occasion were the Mayor of Kumasi, Hon Samuel Sarpong and members of the Regional Security Council including the Regional Police Commander, DCOP Patrick Eden Timbillah.
The Regional Minister read the speech on behalf of His Excellency President John Evans Atta Mills which was under the theme “Sustaining Unity and Peace for Democracy and Development”.
The message stressed the need for peace and tranquility as Ghana prepares to hold a crucial presidential and parliamentary elections.
Dr.Kwaku Agyemang encouraged people in the region who have attained eighteen years and beyond to take part in the upcoming registration exercise to ensue that they are not disenfranchised.
He however warned that the law would deal with those who have not attained voting age but would decide to register, cautioning that such people would be severely dealt with when arrested.
At Ashanti-Mampong Municipality, a colourful parade by school children marked the celebration of Ghana’s 55 years of nationhood in the Asante-Mampong Municipality.
At the parade were over 800 pupils and students drawn from 35 public and private basic and senior high schools.
Mr Daniel Appau-Ohyeamang, the Municipal Chief Executive, appealed to the youth to cherish the values of discipline, tolerance and hard work and must reject violence and make sure that they use the appropriate channels to seek redress of their grievances.
He appealed to teachers to show more passion for the job they are doing to raise the quality of education in the area.
Reports from the Upper East Region say that hundreds  of school children from both public and private schools in the Upper East Region and security officers led by selected officers of Ghana Police took part in the 55th Independence Anniversary March past at the Ramsey Sports Stadium in Bolgatanga.
The Regional Minister Mr. Mark Woyongo, Regional Police Commander, DCOP Bright Oduro with support from some senior officers reviewed the parade. Other special groups also took part in the March Past.
In his speech, the Regional Minister, Mr. Woyongo paid tribute to the illustrious sons and daughters of Ghana who fought for the country till it gained independence from colonial masters on March 6, 1957.
He touched on the theme; “Sustaining peace and Democracy for national unity and development”, and said it is on record that across the whole African continent, Ghana stands tall in the areas of political stability and democracy.
Mr. Woyongo said peace and stability in Ghana have led to increased investor confidence, thus attracting investments in the mining, financial, energy, agricultural and commercial sectors of the economy.
He used the occasion to entreat the people of the region especially those who are eighteen years and above and are of sound mind to fully take part when the biometric voter register is opened on March 24, 2012.
Two delegations from Burkina Faso and Togo were in attendance. The Burkinabe delegation was led by Hon. Diallo Ahahidi of Central East Province while the Togolese delegation was led by Haj Mossiyamba Ali Seidu.
While reports from Northern Region have it, the Northern Regional Minister, Moses Bukari Mabengba  re-echoed the commitment of the President John Evans Atta Mills to use all available resources and mechanisms to ensure that Ghana goes through yet another peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections in December 2012.
According to the Minister, Ghana had over the years gained a lot of respect internationally, and continue to attract foreign direct investments, as a result of her democratic credentials, as well as the peace and stability in the country.
Addressing several hundreds of school children, men and women of the various security agencies, heads of departments and other residents of Tamale at the Jubilee Park to mark the 55th Independence Day Celebration of the Republic of Ghana, Mr. Mabengba therefore called on the people in the region to tolerate one another irrespective of their political, religious or ethnic differences and forge ahead as one people with a common destiny.
The 55th Anniversary Celebration which was under the theme: “Sustaining Peace and Democracy for National Unity and Development” was not only colourful, but also saw a large turn out. The 10,000 capacity Tamale Jubilee Park was filled to the last limit with several other onlookers swarming the fence wall and other open spaces.
The Celebration which also brought together all the political parties and traditional leaders with different ethnic background, also offered the opportunity for hawkers and other small business to flourish.
The Northern Regional Minister was so much impressed about the open show of discipline and high spirit of patriotism by the over 1,400 drawn from 36 primary, junior and senior high schools within the Tamale Metropolis and the security personnel.
Commendably, in spite of the hot scorching sun, no school child fainted throughout the march apart from one soldiers, one police officer and one fire officer, who were rushed to the hospital by the St. John Ambulance.
The Minister passionately appealed to the youth of Northern Region to stay away from any group of unscrupulous persons who would attempt to arm them with guns to disturb the peace in the region especially in the coming elections.
He announced to the gathering and all other residents of 18 years or above to go for the Biometric Voters Registration Exercise which starts on March 24th 2012 to enable them exercise their franchise.
However, Mr. Mabengba disclosed that the ruling government under the Better Ghana Agenda had so far undertaken 350 projects in the education sector in the region ranging from classroom blocks, teachers’ accommodation, libraries, dormitory blocks, ICT centres, science resource centres and multipurpose conference halls at the cost of 50 million Ghana Cedis.
He said an amount of 30 million cedis had also been expended on routine-maintenance and reshaping, grass cutting, construction of 7No- bridges, rehabilitation and spot improvement among others to and from market centres.
In the Eastern Region, there was a drama at the parade in which fifty one people, comprising school children and security personnel, participating in the 55th Independence Day Anniversary parade at the Koforidua Jacksons Park collapsed at the parade grounds.
Four of casualties whose conditions were serious were referred to the Koforidua Regional Hospital while the rest were revived by the Red Cross.
This was announced by Mr Kasawu Nartey, leader of the Red Cross Team, which provided emergency health services at the parade grounds.
In a speech, the Eastern Regional Minister, Dr Kwasi Akyem Apea-Kubi, expressed regret about the poor results of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in the Region last year and blamed it on the quality of teachers in the classrooms, indiscipline among pupils, overcrowding and ineffective supervision and appealed to all stakeholders in education to join forces to help change the situation for the better.
He expressed concern over the high rate of indiscipline in schools resulting in gang rape, drug abuse, homosexuality and occultism and called for collective efforts to change the moral direction of the educational system.
Dr Apea-Kubi said over the last three years, the government had constructed over 569 educational infrastructure in the Region, many of which had been completed and were being used by the schools with a few  under construction .
He said the biometric registration exercise would start on March 24 and warned the students who are not yet 18 years not to allow themselves to be lured by some politicians to register and vote because when caught, they could be jailed.
The Regional Minister pledged that the Government would ensure a level playing field for all political parties during this year’s national elections and would extend honour and dignity to all and said government would also expect same form those political parties.
Dr Apea-Kubi later presented the President Special Independence Award to Master Yaw Boakye Sarfo, a student of Pope John’s Senior High School for being the best student at the 2011 BECE in the Region.
His former school, Trinity Presbyterian School – Adweso near Koforidua, was also presented with an award.
Schools which excelled in the march past were also presented with awards.

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