The West African country is celebrating its 59th Independence Day anniversary, having gained independence from British colonial rule in 1957.
Speaking at a parade to commemorate the event, President Mahama said the country has chalked a lot of “firsts” on the continent, positioning it as one of the respected countries in the world.
“The name Ghana represents excellence and invokes respect in the comity of nations… we must continue to work hard together to keep that black star shining,” Mahama encouraged Ghanaians after reviewing the parade with his guests – the presidents of Kenya and Guinea Bissau Uhuru Kenyatta and Jose Mario Vaz respectively.
He noted that everyone has a role to play to move the country forward as well as maintain the standard set by others such as Kofi Annan among others.
“This country is for all of us and we can each choose to play a role no matter how seemingly minor in moving our dear nation forward… each of us is the face of Ghana. When Kofi Annan was made secretary general of the UN, the world knew him as a Ghanaian – the first Black African to hold that position and we all took pride in our native son. When we see Farida Bedwei being featured in the international media… we sit up straight and think to ourselves this person is one of us.
“We do not stop to think about what political party they are associated with, we do not stop to think what their ethnic origin is, what region of the country they are from or which religion they practice. We celebrate them as Ghanaians because they are the face of Ghana and all of Africa claim them as well… When Wole Soyinka won the Nobel prize for Literature he belonged to all of Africa not just Nigeria, When Lupita Nyong’o won the Academy Award she was holding that Oscar for all of Africa; not just for Kenya, and so when 14-year-old Abraham Attah won the Independent Spirit Award he was not just representing his country, he was being applauded by all of Africa,” Mahama reminded Ghanaians.
He added: “This is the pride and unity we must foster in ourselves every day. Certainly, there remains much more work to be done. We would have our differing political views on the best way to do that work, but we must use those discussions to strengthen who we are as one nation… we can’t encourage conversations and activities to discourage and divide us and weaken our morale.
“The name Ghana means something in the world outside our national borders – it represents a kingship, a determination, a disposition, resolve, perseverance, dignity and integrity. Gaining independence in sub-Saharan Africa is not our only first. Ghana was the first African nation to provide peacekeeping forces to the United Nations… Ghana was the first country in the world chosen to receive Peace Corps volunteers, Ghana was the first country to win the Fifa U-17 World Cup and the U-20 World Cup, Ghana was the first country to open its borders for the provision of humanitarian aid to transit to the three most affected countries in the fight against Ebola.”
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Investing in the Youth for Ghana’s Transformation.”