Story: Samuel Duodu, Sunyani
Society for National Affairs (SoNA), a national youth think tank, has admonished the youth of Ghana to reject any attempts by groups or individuals to use them to cause chaos before, during and after the December 2008 general election.
This is because the self-seeking politicians and their partners who goad the youth into fomenting trouble always shield their own children and relatives from such troubles.
Mr Anane Agyei, Executive Director of SoNA, gave the admonition in Sunyani at a national youth forum organised by SoNA to deliberate on some national issues.
The forum, which had the theme “Towards Ghana@100, the New Vision and the Nation in Retrospect”, was attended by members of various youth groups, political parties, traditional rulers, religious groupings and a cross-section of the public.
Mr Agyei further advised leaders of the various political parties and their followers to refrain from using untoward and unguarded statements in their campaigns, since such remarks had the tendency of inflaming passions which could eventually plunge the nation into chaos.
He stressed that Ghana was bigger and more important than any organisation, hence any political party that would use threats and intimidation in its campaign must be rejected by the electorate.
Mr Agyei disclosed further that the objectives of SoNA, were, among others, the promotion of nationalism and patriotism among the youth, upholding of democracy and good governance, instilling in the youth a higher sense of tolerance and discipline and encouraging proper stewardship of the environment.
He said the forum was to sensitise the youth to the need to be concerned about national issues because it was when the youth were actively involved in such issues that the sustainable development of the nation could be guaranteed, stressing that the time had come for the young ones to be included in decision-making.
Osahene Boakye Djan, the Head of Government and Spokesperson of the erstwhile Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), who was one of the speakers at the forum, blamed the current state of the nation on coup makers, but he was quick to justify the June 4 1979 coup, which he claimed was to restore constitutional governance.
He stated further that the December 31, 1981 coup led by former President Rawlings and previous ones were blatant violations of the Constitutions of the various periods.
Osahene Djan vouched that Ghana had come too far to entertain coups and other trends that retard national progress and condemned the recent statement by the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor John Evans Atta Mills, that sought to invoke fear that there would be “Kenya in Ghana” if the 2008 elections were rigged.
“The time has come for us, the silent majority in the country, to speak up and tell them bluntly that while we may endure some of their antics, when the threatened mayhem does come they and they alone must be made to bear its brunt and pain,” he remarked.
For his part, Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, a Deputy Minister of Trade, PSD and PSIs, expressed the hope that because of the excellent performance by the Kufuor Administration Ghanaians would retain the NPP in power after the general election.
He, however, bemoaned some bad practices such as faking of documents, examination malpractice and laziness which some of them had resorted to, and called for a change in attitude, stressing that it was through good conduct that the nation could be placed on the right pedestal.
Mr Thomas Ahimah, the 1987 National Best Farmer, also pointed out that the only way by which the nation could attain its desired middle-income status was to put premium on agriculture and modernise it to make it attractive to the youth.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Youth Co-ordinator of the National Youth Council, Mr Kobina Afena Sam, briefing the gathering on the draft national youth policy, said attention was being given to the youth so they take advantage of it to make their importance felt in all facets of national life.
Mr Joseph Danso, Superintendent of Community Development at Newmont Gold Ghana Limited, in a leadership session earlier, schooled the participants on some secrets for excellence in leadership.
He hinted that if one was successful but did not have a successor, then he could not be said to be successful. He, therefore, called for effective leadership in which members of an organisation would be encouraged to exhibit their potential.
Nana Kwame Korang V, Omanhene of Awua-Odumase Traditional Area, and Vice-President of the Brong-Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, who co-chaired the function with Nana Yeboah Pene, the Queen of Chiraa, near Sunyani and Benkumhemaa of the Dormaa Traditional Area, commended SoNA for its initiative and urged the youth to always channel their energies into productive ventures which would promote national progress.