Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday appealed to other African leaders to take up bold steps that would empower them to eliminate all territorial barriers to give true meaning to the spirit of African Union.
He said although individual countries had gained political independence over five decades ago, travelling within the continent was still a nightmare.
“Ideally, it should take just four hours to travel from Accra to Lagos, but because of the artificial barriers, travellers take more than 12 hours to get to their destination, which is not good enough.”
Vice President Mahama made the appeal during the wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the second annual Founders’ Day event and to celebrate the birthday of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Ghana.
The programme was also attended by former Presidents, John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Horst Kohler of the Federal Republic of Germany, Nkrumahists and other socialist groups within the country and beyond.
Vice President Mahama laid a wreath on behalf of government and people of Ghana, while Professor Francis Nkrumah, first son of Dr Kwame Nkrumah laid one on behalf of the family.
Former Presidents John Agyekum Kufuor, Thabo Mbeki and Horst Kohler also laid wreaths in commemoration of Founders’ day.
Vice President Mahama said although a lot of legislations had been passed to ensure the free movement of people and goods, none of them had been implemented to benefit Africans, particularly within various sub-regional levels.
He also appealed to African leaders to use the Founders’ Day to forge ahead for social and economic independence by initiating sustainable economic programmes for their development and growth.
Former President Thabo Mbeki called on the African Union to suspend the introduction of any further legislations and protocols until the old ones were effectively implemented, since those previous legislations had been on the drawing board for decades.
He appealed to African leaders to renew their commitment to pursue the objectives of Nkrumah’s African Union programme, saying it was the only way the continent could become politically and economically independent and self-reliant.