The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu, has urged citizens of Ghana to be up to their responsibilities of nation-building as they demand Government to fulfil its obligations to them.
“When we discuss government responsibility, we hardly discuss citizens’ responsibility,” he said, with a reminder that development comes at a cost, which people must be willing to bear.
Mr Osei Owusu, gave the reminder in Accra, when the Parliament of Ghana in collaboration with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy observed this year’s Commonwealth Day celebration, where he spoke as Special Guest of Honour.
Ghana joined the rest of former British colonized nations to celebrate Commonwealth Day 2020 on Monday, 09 March.
Activities for the celebration worldwide included; debates, school assemblies, flag raising ceremonies, street parties, cultural events and a multicultural, multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey in London.
The celebration, which was held at the National Theatre in Accra, was on the theme: “Delivering a Common Future; Connecting, Innovating and Transforming,”
The event saw six universities, which reached the finals from among 20 tertiary institutions from a debate by the organisers on whether “Ghana Beyond Aid”, a flagship programme of the Government of Ghana was not a mere political sloganeering.
Mr Osei Owusu stressed that development and other social services had their prices, for which someone must eventually pay for, demanding that every citizen lived up to the desired civic responsibilities.
The First Deputy Speaker, who is also the MP for Bekwai observed that there was evolution of political and governance systems in Ghana – from chieftaincy, colonial rule, one party state, military rule, but the practice of democracy had come to stay for almost three decades now because of the openness the Constitution allowed.
He said under democratic governance, there was diversity of opinions no matter how outrageous they might be, and allowed everyone to take part in the decision making governance process either directly or their representatives.
Democracy also allows a group of people to form a political party, sell their ideas and those elected to implement their ideas.
He called on the youth to get involved in national discussions, and bring on board their inputs even though the aged population would be cumbersome or tardy.
And at exactly 12 noon, the Special Guest of Honour read a message from Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth to mark the 2020 Commonwealth Day.
The Queen urged people and countries of the Commonwealth to be inspired by what was common among them, what they shared and move forward with a fresh resolve to enhance the influence of the Commonwealth for the good of mankind.
“As members of this very special community, on this Commonwealth Day, I hope that the people and countries of the Commonwealth will be inspired by all that we share, and move forward with fresh resolve to enhance the Commonwealth’s influence for good in our world,” the Queen said.
She said on Commonwealth occasions, “It is always inspiring to be reminded of the diversity of the people and countries that make up the worldwide Commonwealth Family,” with lessons on of the many associations and influences that combine through Commonwealth connection, helping the nations “to imagine and deliver a common future.”
Queen Elizabeth II described as particularly striking “when we see people from nations, large and small, gathering for the Commonwealth Games, for meetings of Commonwealth governments, and on Commonwealth Day.
“Such a blend of traditions serves to make us stronger, individually and collectively, by providing the ingredients needed for social, political and economic resilience.
She said throughout her life, she had had the opportunity to see and hear how membership of the Commonwealth family meant so much to those living in all parts of the world, often in places that were quite remote.
Advances in technology and modern media enabled many more people to witness and enjoy – with remarkable immediacy – this experience of Commonwealth connection, in areas such as education, medicine and conservation.
And looking to the future, this connectivity means we are also aware, perhaps as never before, that wherever we live, our choices and actions affect the well-being of people and communities living far away, and in very different circumstances.
She added that the awareness created awakened a desire to employ planet’s natural resources with greater care, and “it is encouraging to see how the countries of the Commonwealth continue to devise new ways of working together to achieve prosperity, whilst protecting our planet.”
And on the results of the debate, Central University, which spoke for the motion emerged winners for 2020 with 346.5, with the University of Ghana placing second with 345.5 points.
The winning institution was given a gold trophy with undisclosed amount; the second, a silver trophy.
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology came third with 336.5; University of Cape Coast fourth with 292 points; Presbyterian University College, Agogo Campus fifth with 284 points and Presbyterian University College, Abetifi Campus sixth with 264 points.