Dr Eric Oduro Osae, a Local Governance Expert, has called for a legislative framework spelling out the various indicators for presenting the State of the Nation Address (SONA), in order to guide future presentations by any President.
He said as a fledgling democracy it was imperative to have the framework modeled along the lines of the Directive Principles of State Policy so that no President would just stand before Parliament to present anything as the State of the Nation.
Apart from being a constitutional requirement, Dr Oduro Osae noted that the State of the Nation Address enabled the country to take stock of what had happened in the past and plan the way forward.
“So the SONA will enable us to do a general assessment of the governance of the country in terms of economy, security, agriculture, industry, education, health and other relevant sectors of the economy,” he said.
The presentation of SONA is in compliance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament, which stipulates that the “President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before dissolution of Parliament, deliver to Parliament a message on the State of the Nation”.
Dr Oduro Osae, also the Dean of the Institute of Local Government Studies, told the Ghana News Agency in Accra, ahead of the presentation of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Akufo-Addo to Parliament on Thursday, February 20.
“I expect the President to touch base on the governance landscape, especially the election of the metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) and the way forward.
“I want to hear how President Akufo-Addo will administer the country so that we shall have free, fair and transparent parliamentary and presidential elections in December,” Dr Oduro Osae said.
The Local Governance Expert urged the Akufo-Addo-led administration to carry along every Ghanaian so that both the literate and illiterate would understand the governance process and contribute their quota towards accelerating economic development.
He urged the President to hold his head above water and fight corruption head-on in the interest of the nation.
“I expect the President to touch base on the economic indicators like the inflation, policy rate, gross domestic product (GDP), exchange rate, among others, and how he will ensure that we don’t overspend in the election year.
“On security issues, I expect the President to tell us how he is tackling the Secessionists from the Volta Region, Homeland Study Group Foundation,” Dr Oduro Osae stated.
On education front, Dr Oduro Osae said he expected the President to provide further explanation on the status of the Free Senior High School (FSHS) Policy and how the government was handling the double track system.
On health, he said the President must provide explanation on the country’s preparedness to handle the Coronavirus in the event of an outbreak and how Ghanaians in China and other foreign countries were being protected from contracting the deadly virus.
“In this way, even before the President finishes his speech at least every Ghanaian will have some assurance of where we are as a country by way of governance, economy, health, education and infrastructure.
“This will also give us a fair idea of where he is taking us to. We should remember that this is the last year of his first term as the President of the Republic and so he should indicate to us the extent to which he had fulfilled his manifesto promises,” he added.
Dr Oduro Osae advised the President to deliver his address devoid of politicising issues and rather speak to Ghanaians as the father of the nation, in order to have a united front before, during and after the December Election.