On behalf of the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria I was honored by the special invitation extended to me by His Excellency, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on the auspicious occasion of the celebration of the 61st Independence Anniversary of the Republic of Ghana. I was delighted at the warm reception accorded to me and my entourage since our arrival in the beautiful city of Accra. I would like to pay special tribute to all leaders of the Republic right from the era of the late first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, to date. We must acknowledge their various contributions.
In the words of Kwame Nkrumah, “those who would judge us merely by the heights we have achieved would do well to remember the depths from which we started." No words can sum it up better, as we are all familiar with our colonial era journey and its ups and downs. My tribute also goes to all those who have paid the supreme sacrifices in the cause of nation building.
May I extend my personal congratulations to President Akufo-Addo on his successful one year in office with special note on the strides recorded by his administration within a space of just 365 days.
From Nigeria, I have watched Ghana's achievements closely, ranging from its ingenious approach to creating jobs for the teeming youths through various initiatives, including the repositioning of agriculture for modern farming, “Farming for Jobs and Food;" Senior High School (SHS) free education; the One District, One Factory and One Village, One Dam projects; as well as the improvement being recorded in the republic's macroeconomic indicators. All these efforts, I am aware, have helped Ghana become an excellent destination for FDI just like Nigeria.
My tributes to the president and people of Ghana would not be complete without acknowledging efforts at tackling corruption, which has eaten into the fabrics of our societies. I congratulate both the government and the parliament for the quick passage of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act and its signing into law. Ghana can be assured that it has a good partner in me as I look forward to any form of collaboration between Nigeria and Ghana in tackling the menace of endemic corruption. Given all these public policies, it becomes reassuring that with the right leadership, Africa's drives to eradicate poverty and to entrench democracy is on course.
Nigeria and Ghana share close cultural and historic ties, which have continued to shape our bilateral relations. Once again, I note with pride that our common colonial experience, as well as parallel socio-economic and political development and the patriotic vision of our leaders have helped greatly in shaping this unique relationship not only in West Africa sub-region but in our collaborative actions internationally. It is therefore my strong desire that we owe it as a duty to ensure that our good peoples continue to live in each other's countries unhindered. Our newly rejuvenated Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation has already provided us with a great platform in resolving any differences while focusing on our main developmental objectives.
Permit me to put on record Ghana's untiring efforts in brokering peace in Togo, by bringing all the warring parties to the negotiation table. I am appealing to the opposing parties in Togo to please come together and resolve their differences so that Togo will move forward. In the same vein, I wish Nigeria and Ghana to continue to provide the impetus in realizing the objectives and ideals of the founding fathers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to ensure security, peace, and development in our region.
On behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, I join other well-wishers in congratulating the government and the good people of Ghana. Long live the Republic of Ghana; long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.