Former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, has commended the Chiefs and people of Dzodze-Penyi in the Ketu North District of the Volta Region for initiating a five-year development plan for their community.

President Rawlings said he was particularly impressed that the project was geared at offering the youth an opportunity to serve their community.

The former President made these comments at the inaugural Nugoryiza festival of the Chiefs and people of Penyi on Saturday.

President Rawlings who was the special guest of honour on the occasion also called on the people to pursue a culture of probity and accountability as they raise funds for their development project.

Below is the full text of President Rawlings’ address.

ADDRESS BY H.E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA AT THE INAUGURAL NUGORYIZA FESTIVAL OF THE CHIEFS AND PEOPLE OF PENYI, VOLTA REGION – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2012

Mr Chairman, The Paramount Chief of Penyi, Togbui Dadzie IV, Hon James Klutse Avedzi, MP, the District Chief Executive of Ketu North, Kofi Lawson, Togbuiooo, Mama ooo, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and gentlemen:

Let me first express my sincere admiration and congratulation to the Chiefs andpeople of Penyi for taking their destiny into their hands through this development initiative.

Our dear country faces several challenges and the biggest of them is the failure sometimes, of our people to take aggressive and ambitious development initiatives.

During the PNDC/NDC era we introduced a people-centred community-initiated political model, which is today referred to as the District Assembly. This concept has gone a long way to ensure that people at the grassroots have their own way of kick-starting their developmental initiatives and driving these initiativeswith the support of central government.

Sadly central government is still handicapped with limited resources, which makessponsorship of project implementation a competitive one. When I hear stories of a people who have decided to take their own initiative and seek the encouragement and support of their brothers and sisters across the length and breadth of the country and even beyond, it brings a sense of hope that we still harbour positive ambitions for our communities.

Ladies and gentlemen, I know you initiated this project five years ago and are re-launching it today because you failed to meet your five-year target. Youhave given yourselves another five-year projection and are committed to ensuring that you achieve this new target.

The Nugoryiza festival, according to a an address delivered by Togbui Dadzie during the launch in April this year, is of historical, religious, social, cultural, economic and moral value to the people of Penyi.

Today, therefore, is not just about a fund-raising event. Today is about a re-awakening, a rebirth of the spirit of Penyi – united towards development. Mia wei ledzi oooo!

It is particularly impressive that this development initiative is geared towards offering the youth the opportunity to serve their community and have a sense of responsibility towards their society. I am particularly impressed that the Penyi Youth Organisation is using various mediums, including social media such as Facebook to mobilise the youth for unity and economic development.

I entreat the chiefs and people not to relent in their efforts to achieve this laudable goal. I also entreat all present here, particularly those of us who have some significant resources, to donate abundantly towards the cause andcontinue to facilitate its implementation over the five-year period.

A few days ago I delivered a lecture in Accra on corruption and its effect onnational development. I enjoin the managers of this project not to allow petty selfishness to override the collective desire of the people of Penyi.

I also enjoin all of you here to be vigilant and seek probity and accountability as you embark on this journey towards the development of Penyi. The initiative you have taken today will one day serve as an example to other communities across the country. Let us endeavour to make it succeed.

Togbui ooo, mama ooo, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: Thank you for inviting me to be part of this ambitious development project. Good luck!

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