Accra — The fatigue of junketing from one constituency to the other, canvassing for votes from the electorate, came to an end for President John Dramani Mahama yesterday, when he swore the oath of office, administered by the Chief Justice to become the dully elected president of the Republic Ghana.
'Obama' or 'JM', as his admirers prefer to call him, won the December 2012 election with 50.70% of the valid vote cast, and was declared President-elect by the Electoral Commission.
The elated President, who drove in an open Land cruiser car to acknowledge cheers from the equally elated supporters, whilst leaving the Black Star Square promised Ghanaians that he will keep all the promises he had made to them.
"I have taken an oath that as President of this nation, I will work hard to place us on the right path, and I will lead us over the hurdles and past the obstacles that might threaten to keep us from meeting our goals. The promises that I have made are promises that I intend to keep," he said.
With Presidents Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Ellen Sirleaf of Liberia, Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Yayi Boni of Benin, Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast and a host of other dignitaries, including the former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan and his wife, listening with rap attention, President Mahama, a one time Member of Parliament for Bole-Bamboi admitted that the changes he promised Ghanaians would not happen overnight.
"But change does not happen overnight and sometimes, despite whatever progress has been placed in motion, it will appear to be darkest before the dawn of the new day makes that progress visible. In such times I will be counting on you to maintain the faith and the trust that you have placed in me as president. I will not let you down," he assured.
The newly sworn in President, dressed in a beautiful white traditional cloth and modernized his address by reading from a an Ipad, having earlier read from a Tele prompter, during the State of the Nation Address he delivered in Parliament, told the crowd at the packed to capacity Black Star Square, that Ghana was on the cusp of enormous transformation.
"We are moving forward at a rapid pace. New resources are at our disposal, new alliances are being formed. The opportunities posed by these gains could result in a self-sufficiency that was always imagined and desired, but was never a realistic occurrence in the foreseeable future, not in the way it is right now."
"It is true that other countries have met adversity while trying to make the most of prospects such as the ones we have before us. But those countries are not Ghana. They do not have the benefit of our history or the example of our heroes. We have been the first before, the success story. We have blazed trails before for others to follow," he noted.
According to him, whilst others believe that it is impossible, he, as a believer in God thinks all things are possible. He made reference to the accomplishments of his predecessors -President Jerry John Rawlings, President John Agyekum Kufuor and the late President John Evans Atta Mills, who turned difficult situation at hand and made them possible.
"We were all witness to the way they were able to take what others said was impossible and to not only turn into something that was probable, but to realise their vision and get it done. To them I say, "Ayekoo." I am ever grateful to have the advantage of your wisdom and the important lessons of your leadership."
Prior to the ceremony, there was a heavy traffic build up on roads leading to the Accra Sports and the ministries. People who were desirous to witness the event had to disembark from their cars and vehicles and walked to the Black Star Square, which was heavily guarded by the military and the police, amid the blowing of their "vuvuzelas."
Earlier reports that a group of people had intended to remonstrate against the swearing in of the President did not happen. A threat to bar Former President Kufuor from attending the function was, however, carried out as some youth group massed up at the entrance to his Airport West Residence to prevent him from leaving the house. The police quickly intervened and dispersed the crowd, some of whom had laid on the ground, just to prevent Mr. Kufuor's landcruiser from leaving.
The New Patriotic Party, of which the former President is a leading member, had taken a decision not to attend the function due to a court case they had filed to challenge the presidential results declared by the Electoral Commission.
Mr. Kufuor, who was part of the national executive members that took the decision, later changed his stand and decided to attend the swearing in ceremony. The decision rankled the youth of the party, but the Former President insisted that as a former head of State, he was above partisan politics and that he could not turn down an invitation from people who once elected him to rule this country