Members of the newly constituted Council of State February 27 took their oath of office with a charge not to be praise singers of the Executive. With varied background, members have a duty to bring their rich experiences to bear on national policies and programmes to advance the good governance as well as improve the living standards of Ghanaians. This is what citizens expect from members of the Council of State. It is in this regard that Ghanaians welcome and wish the members will go about their functions without fear or favour as stated by the President during their oath taking ceremony. Since their functions contribute immensely to the running of government machinery and national development, Ghanaians expect the council of state members to offer advice to the President. The Council of State, a small body of prominent citizens of proven character, counsels the President in the performance of his functions. It is analogous to the Council of Elders in the traditional political system.
The composition of the current Council of State started with the nomination of 14 statesmen and women of diverse career backgrounds by President Akufo-Addo about two weeks ago. The list was a blend of legal practitioners, educationists, traditional rulers, retired officers of the security agencies, business executives, politicians and retired public servants. The President’s nominees included Sam Okudjeto, a legal luminary and former President of the Ghana Bar Association; Nana Kofi Obiri Egyir - the Sanaahene of the Ogua Traditional Area in the Central Region; Stanley Nii Agyiri Blankson - a former Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and a seasoned politician; Dr. Margaret Amoakohene, a former Director of the School of Communication Studies of the University of Ghana and Mrs. Georgina Kusi, a business woman.
Their nomination was in accordance with Article 89 (2) (d) of the 1992 Constitution, in consultation with Parliament. The President's nomination was followed by the election of one representative each from the 10 regions of Ghana. The regional representatives include Nii Kotei Dzani for Greater Accra Region; a Business Woman Eunice Jacqueline Buah for Western Region; the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Tongo-Rana Kubilsong Nalebgtang, for Upper East Region, Obrempong Appiah Nuamah Omanhene of the Twifo Mampong Traditional Area, for Central Region and Kwodwo Agyenim-Boateng, a retired public servant for Brong Ahafo Region. The current Council of State is dominated by traditional rulers. The representatives of the Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Central and Ashanti Regions are all chiefs. It is also commendable that four women found their way into the August Council, which should gladden the hearts of crusaders of women empowerment. One can describe the New Council of State as unique because it has a fair representation of religious leaders that is Muslims and Christians.
Now that the Council of State is in place, it is the expectation of all Ghanaians that the Members will not only counsel the President but will also approve all appointees in acting capacities or recommend others to the President for appointment. It is important to help put the team together to support the President to implement the party’s campaign promises.
We say Welcome to the Council of State members and hope they will help to further consolidate the democratic governance in the next four years.
BY DAN OSMAN MWIN, HEAD OF PUBLIC RELATIONS OF THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION.