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Full Text: President Akufo-Addo’s Address at 2024 Eid Ul-Fitr Celebration

This is the last Eid ul-Fitr celebration that I shall attend as President of the Republic, having served, by the grace of the Almighty and through the generosity of the Ghanaian people, the constitutionally mandated period of two (2) terms of four (4) years each.

Vice President, Second Lady, Greater Accra Regional Minister-designate, National Chief Imam, Ulama, Members of the National Council of Zongo Chiefs, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Jama, Fellow Ghanaians,

I salute you with the greetings of Islam, Salam Alaikum!

I must, at the outset, give thanks to the Almighty Allah for guiding the Muslim Ummah not only in Ghana, but also throughout the world, to observe the third pillar of Islam, fasting in the month of Ramadan, and to have ended it successfully. I continue to thank Almighty God for the life of our National Chief Imam and all the leaders of the Muslim Ummah in Ghana. Together with the National Chief Imam, the Ulama have provided me and my Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, with the needed counsel that has enabled us run the affairs of this country peacefully for the past seven years and more. We are very grateful.

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This is the last Eid ul-Fitr celebration that I shall attend as President of the Republic, having served, by the grace of the Almighty and through the generosity of the Ghanaian people, the constitutionally mandated period of two (2) terms of four (4) years each. It is, thus, important that I identify the core leadership of the Ummah, whose guidance to the flock has helped maintain the peace, stability and tranquility that we continue to enjoy in this country: Shaykh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, National Chief Imam, Maulvi Mohammed Bin Salih, Ameer of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Shaykh Kamaldeen Abubakar, Imam of the Shia Community, and Al-Hajj Ibrahim Umar, Imam of the Ahl-Sunna Community. I shall always remain indebted to you for your high sense of patriotism and commitment to Ghana, and to the wellbeing of the Muslim faithful. May Allah continue to imbue you with the wisdom to provide leadership and service to our country.

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Chief Imam, Ulama, I came to you in the course of the 2016 electioneering campaign with a promise to make the challenges and concerns of Zongo communities an integral part of the governance process under my leadership. Seven years down the line, I can say, with some measure of satisfaction, that the promise has been fulfilled. Today, many Zongo communities around the country bear witness to the impacts that projects undertaken under the Zongo Development Fund are having on the lives of their inhabitants.

From the construction of school infrastructure to the provision of computer laboratories, to the enhancement of sanitary facilities, to the development of astroturf football pitches, we have uplifted the lives of thousands, if not millions, of people living in Zongo communities. It was my hope that residents of Zongos will own the Fund, and leverage the support of government for attracting external support for the Fund, rather than it becoming a wholly government funded initiative. I am urging you to show a heightened sense of interest in the development of the Fund, so that we can grow it for successive generations of Zongo people.

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Fortunately, the Vice President, Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, is the elected flagbearer of my party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), indeed, the first of the Muslim faith to occupy that important position, and is in poll position, by the grace and benediction of Almighty Allah, to take over from me on 7th January 2025, Insha Allah. As a Muslim, I have no doubt that he will continue to work with you to enhance the benefits of the Fund for the development of Zongo communities. I have no doubt that I have been an inclusive President. I plead with you to uphold this principle of inclusivity for the equitable development of our country.

Chief Imam, Ulama, the importance of Ramadan is not lost on the average Muslim. Ramadan seeks to inculcate, in the Muslim adherent, the spirit of sacrifice, fellow feeling, commitment to ethical living, love of family and nation and, above all, God-consciousness. I urge you not to abandon these values after the passage of the month of Ramadan. Indeed, the purpose of Ramadan is to instill these values in us and for us to keep them all our lives. These are the exact same values that every nation needs in order to develop. No Muslim has been unable to fast in this month of Ramadan, because they did not have what it takes either to eat the dawn meal or break their fast during iftar, thanks to the time-tested practice of communal sharing of meals at dawn and in the evenings. Let us make this spirit of togetherness a national value. That will give true meaning to the principle of “one nation, one destiny.”

The Qur’an states, “O Mankind, we have created you from a male and female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another…” (Q:49:13).  Let us, therefore, eschew all forms of divisiveness that have the potential of destroying the unity and cohesion of our country. I make this point also, particularly, because we are in an election year. In an election year, there is the tendency for self-seeking people to exploit our differences of religion and ethnicity to foment division, in order to promote a narrow, parochial, sectarian, and political agenda. In an age of technology and new media, which also offers people with a wide degree of anonymity, we should be careful about the spread of misinformation and disinformation, especially if such misinformation and disinformation destroy the hard-earned reputation of people. The Qur’an in Chapter 49 verse 6, states, “O you who believe, when an evil person comes to you with news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterward you become regretful of what you have done.”

Muslims, fellow Ghanaians, I call on you to heed the words of Allah and be very careful so you do not destroy people’s reputations on the altar of political expediency. Indeed, the Qur’an likens backbiting and mudslinging to eating the flesh of a dead brother or sister. In verse 12 of Qur’an chapter 49, poses the rhetorical question, “Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?” Let us, thus, remember that this country is more important than our personal egos and interests.

Chief Imam, Ulama, Jama’a, I have never retreated from my belief that education is our sure way out of poverty, disease, and ignorance. Whilst my government does its part to ensure the development of the human capital in Zongo communities, I appeal to you to ponder on the first set of verses of the Qur’an to be revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Allayhi Wa’Salam). “Read! In the name of your Lord who created…who taught man by the pen. Taught man what he did not know” (Q: 96:1-5). In addition to the free senior high school programme, and the educational interventions by the Zongo Development Fund, I recently launched the Ghana Smart Schools Project, which will provide some 1.3 million tablets to students in senior high schools, which is One-Student-One-Tablet. All of these initiatives can only be meaningful if we take a keen interest in the education of our children. Certainly, let us give them the standard Makaranta training. But, by all means, let us ensure that they learn enough of the secular sciences to ensure that they become key players and well-rounded individuals in the development of the country.

Ghana continues to be the envy of the world on account of the religious harmony that we foster among adherents of different religions in a secular state, which advocates religious freedom. I pray you to continue to promote religious harmony and co-existence. It is the essence of Islam, which means peace and submission to the will of Allah. I wish you a blissful celebration. Let us celebrate in moderation, so we can emerge from the celebrations in one piece to continue with nation-building.

wish all Muslims and Ghanaians a happy Eid ul-Fitr, and may God bless us all, and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.

Eid Mubarak!

Barika da Sallah!

Salam Alaikum!

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