REMARKS BY DR. GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCON, GCFR,
President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces Of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
AT THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GHANA INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION (GIMPA) AND CONFERMENT ON HIM OF A HONORARY DOCTOR OF LAWS DEGREE BY GIMPA
ACCRA, SATURDAY, 8TH OCTOBER 2011
1. I would like, first of all, to warmly thank my Dear Brother and Friend, His Excellency, Prof John Evans Atta Mills, for extending to me an invitation to participate in this important celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
2. My appreciation also goes to Dr Christina Amoako-Nuama, Chairman, GIMPA Council, the Rector, and the Deans and distinguished members of Faculty for their kind invitation. I wish to commend all of you for the brilliant efforts that you have put into organizing this historic event. I am glad and touched by your invitation, and the recognition that you have given me and Nigeria by this gesture.
3. Golden Jubilees are important occasions for reflection and stocktaking. They also indicate to us how far we have gone with a project, and what we need to do to sustain the labours of past leaders, and chart the course for a successful future.
4. Occasions such as this also offer us one crucial opportunity – they inspire us to do our utmost best to excel and to make a difference in whatever we do. Management and planning after all are about foresight, prudence and organization aimed at judicious use of persons and resources.
5. The Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration stands on a unique pedestal among its peers.
6. Your Excellency, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me seize this opportunity to convey to you what Ghana means to us in Nigeria. Ghana is not a country apart, distinct in the sense of a separate and alien entity. Ghana is us and we are Ghana. This country inspired and challenged us to reach for our independence when the odds were not too brilliant, and the obstacles were seemingly insurmountable.
7. Our two countries and people have shared values and cherished the idea of freedom and democratic governance. The ties between us predate the colonial period. In modern times, our relations have remained fraternal, cordial and satisfactory on all fronts.
8. Our close relation has enabled us to share a common vision not only for our respective people, but for our entire sub-region. We committed ourselves to making our sub regional body, ECOWAS, a leading and indeed exemplary organ of integration and close cooperation among our nations.
9. We have jointly pushed for, and attained with our friendly and brotherly nations, a purposeful and forward-looking regional organization, which seeks to ensure integration and the achievement of the common aspirations of our people. We have made appreciable progress in many policy areas in the organization.
10. This dynamism must be maintained and indeed encouraged. We can only do so with the right calibre of technocrats and managers, the training and production of which are the primary business of GIMPA and its sole objective.
11. Your Excellency, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, my invitation letter required me to articulate my vision for ECOWAS.
12. My specific vision for ECOWAS rests on the following important pillars:
(i)The creation of a sub-region without frontiers where the people have access to its economic resources and enjoy them by creating opportunities for social production and jobs in the framework of equitable distribution systems;
(ii)The provision of an enabling environment within which people ply their business and live in peace;
(iii)The emergence of a zone that is an integral part of the African continental space, where all human beings live in dignity and benefit from fair trade and mutual solidarity, and guided by shared principles.
13. It is within these parameters that I recognize the attainment of the following objectives by our organization and its member states:
· The implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol and common tariff;
· The Trade Liberalization scheme;
· The Free Movement of Persons, Goods and Services; and
· The Right of Establishment which has greatly facilitated good neighbourliness and peaceful co-existence in our region.
14. Your Excellency, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a clear duty to ensure that about 230 million of our brothers and sisters in our sub-region live in harmony, peace and security, and to pursue their trade and vocations without undue hindrances imposed by states and their agencies. The days when states dictated exclusivity of interests and carved out boundaries and spheres of interest in commerce, industry and trade are veritably over.
15. Today, in this rapidly globalizing world, we in this region must use the state as an agent of change, development and progress. We must transform the state to be positively receptive to the yearnings of our people for integration, commerce and free movement of goods and services. Indeed the state must unleash the creative genius of our people and their unbounded energy and industry that in past centuries, gave rise to the Trans Saharan Trade and sustained our people for generations.
16. We all know the capacity of our people to excel in the area of commerce and industry. The ancient Empire of Ghana, the Ashanti Empire of old, the Songhai Empire, the Empires of Mali, Kanem-Borno Empire and others, all rose up and prospered on account of this historic trade. Likewise, the kingdoms of Dahomey and Benin and the southern states in our region benefited enormously from this interaction.
17. Today, many of us look beyond our shores to other lands and climes for inspiration. But I say to you that we should rather look inwards to our past and present conditions to gain the needed motivation to move our collective project called ECOWAS forward.
18. Your Excellency, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to emphasize the point that my vision for ECOWAS, especially the integration of the sub-region, is not limited to economic matters only. My vision includes the integration of our people as one family. In spite of the differences in languages, and inherited cultures, our people should think and act with one purpose.
19. The integration that I hope for should include the politics of our region, the education and training of our people, our approach to globalization, and the harmonization of other essential values such as cultural exchanges as well as youth empowerment programmes.
20. I believe the signs are good and the trend is encouraging toward full integration of our region. For the first time all the countries in the sub-region are under a democratic dispensation. All the governments in the region came into office through the exercise of their people democratic rights by popular elections.
21. Ensuring democratic governance and peace in our sub-region, however, needs more than merely putting elected officials into office. It requires substantial manifestations. Good governance and accountability, probity and objectivity, and above all, expertise in enterprise and competence, are the ingredients that are needed to ensure that the dividends of democracy reach all our people, and the institutions that we have established work for us effectively.
22. When all is said and done, what matters to our people is the sustainability of their daily lives driven by useful labour and gainful employment. These are some of the things that we need to constantly address when we discuss governance and public administration. I have no doubt that these are among several other subjects that GIMPA teaches its students. Management and public administration are at the heart of governance.
23. Without competent management and conscientious administration, the goods cannot be easily delivered to our populations, and governments would merely be shadows without substance. The economic challenges that we wish to overcome, and the social transformations that we aim to achieve in our countries, cannot be addressed if we do not imbibe the ethos of professionalism and expertise in management and public administration.
24. It is a testimony of the great wisdom and foresight of the founders of this institution that they established it and gave it the important mandate which it has so far discharged with brilliance and competence. GIMPA is celebrating its 50th Anniversary today. I am informed that it has established many collaborative programmes with many foreign universities, international organizations and professional bodies.
25. I note with satisfaction that one of the countries that has benefited and continues to do so from GIMPA’s services is Nigeria. I wish to encourage the institution to search for more avenues for cooperation with Nigeria’s public and private sector organizations, and like-minded state institutions to expand their horizons and render valuable services to our two countries, and our region at large.
26. May I also congratulate GIMPA’s council on the decision to build a befitting library for the Institute. Libraries are depositories of knowledge and even in this age of computers and electronic libraries, the presence of such a befitting edifice on the campus will go a long way to encourage diligence among students and researchers, and provide testimony to the value of education and excellence that the Institute upholds.
27. I wish to congratulate my Dear Brother and Friend, His Excellency President Atta Mills, on the occasion of this Anniversary. You should be proud that such an Institute as this, is the common heritage of all Ghanaians and a legacy for future generations.
28. I call upon the administration, management and students of this noble Institution to redouble their efforts and ensure that the torch that was lit by the founding fathers is not only held aloft by you, but also made to shine even brighter and more lustrous than before. I want you all to be a beacon of hope and an example to all of us in the sub-region as you take your rightful places in the various administrations and commercial enterprises of your respective countries.
29. I feel very much honoured to be part of this celebration. With hope and confidence in God Almighty, GIMPA will successfully celebrate its Diamond Anniversary. Let me also thank the Governing Council of GIMPA for the honour done to me and my country, with the award of a Honorary Doctorate Degree.
30. God bless the Republic of Ghana;
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
And God bless Africa.
I thank you all