Two hours after a new Ghanaian president was announced by the Electoral Commission chair, President John Mahama delivered a solemn speech of concession which has since got everyone talking.
Below is the full text of the speech.
CONCESSION SPEECH OF PRESIDENT MAHAMA
My fellow Ghanaians, My Brothers and Sisters,
A while ago, I phoned Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and offered him my congratulations for emerging the winner of the 2016 Presidential Elections.
Every election is a hard-fought battle, and this one was no exception. For those of us who choose to be contenders and go into electoral contests, we go about it as a win-lose proposition.
We believe that only one person can emerge as the winner. And while it is true that only one person can be elected President, in reality, and certainly in a democracy such as ours, every election is an opportunity for the people of this nation to express their will, to have their say in who will lead them in the shaping of Ghana’s future.
In this way, each victory belongs to the people. And the true winner is always Ghana.
It is precisely on account of my belief in Ghana and its future that notwithstanding the irregularities associated with this election, I have decided at this stage to congratulate the President-elect.
With this understanding, I would like to assure the people of Ghana of my commitment to the sustenance of our country’s democracy and would work to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition to the incoming administration.
I remain committed to the unity and stability of our great nation.
I am profoundly grateful to the almighty God and the people of Ghana for the opportunity to serve in the high office of President.
As President, I have done my bit and made a contribution to the political, social and economic development of our country. I would have cherished an opportunity to do even more, but I respect the will of the Ghanaian people.
I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to express my deepest gratitude to the individuals who have made this journey with me.
I wish to thank all of the people who worked on my campaign for their dedication and tireless efforts.
I wish to thank the leadership of the NDC, all of our members, foot soldiers and sympathizers for their belief in the principles of social democracy and their commitment to the vision.
Likewise, I would like to thank the members of my administration for their diligent service and for bringing to fruition many of the plans we set out to accomplish—the numerous programs that have been implemented and the infrastructural projects that have been completed and ongoing.
I wish to thank my able Vice President Kwesi Amissah Arthur for his unflinching support and loyalty during our period in office.
To the service commanders and men and women in uniform, I wish to extend my profound gratitude to you for your selfless service to Ghana.
I thoroughly enjoyed working with you to ensure the internal and external security of our country.
I am very proud of you.
To organised labour, the civil and public services, traditional rulers, the clergy, workers, youth groups and all identifiable bodies, I am immensely appreciative of your contributions to the development of our country in the last four years.
I wish to thank my family: my children, my brothers, and sisters, and especially my wife, Lordina, for standing as firmly with me through the times of challenge and difficulty as they have through the times of achievement and promise.
Most importantly, I am grateful to the almighty God who has sustained us through the implementation of the Agenda for Transformation. I am eternally grateful.
Ghana, this land that we all call home, is a powerful nation with a history of taking the improbable and making it possible.
We have been a leader on so many fronts, not just on this continent but also in the world–from our attainment of independence, to our development of a democracy that maintains at its core a pledge of stability and a respect for the rule of law, to our formation of much-needed peacekeeping and other humanitarian missions for other nations in need.
And we have been able to do all of these things because we have always functioned as one nation, one people.
Notwithstanding our diversity, religious faiths, ethnic groups and political affiliations, we have always recognized that we are all, ultimately, on the same side—the side of Ghana and its progress.
We see all throughout the world in countries that are much older than ours the devastation that division and intolerance bring.
So I pray that as we move forward, even as we voice our differences and possibly even disagree on agendas and decisions and other details of governance, we always keep in mind the fact of our shared destiny and the undeniable possibilities of power that exist in our unity.
It has been, without a doubt, one of the most tremendous privileges of my life to serve this great nation as President and to work on behalf of all Ghanaians.
I will leave it to history to be the judge of my time and contributions while in that highest office.
To all of the people who cheered us on, who gathered at rallies to show their support, and who queued in long lines to vote for me, I know that this is not the outcome that we wanted and hoped for, but I say to you that this day should not mark the defeat of your role in this nation’s political process.
We must do our part to ensure that the progress of all our past governments, from the very first one led by our nation’s founder, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to this most recent one that I have led, continues—because progress does not happen all at once; it takes time and dedication.
In the words of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, “Forward ever, backward never.”
At this point let me commend the electoral Commission for living up to its constitutional duty in successfully conducting the 2016 elections. My thanks also goes to the media and all stakeholders for their role in the election.
Again, allow me to offer my sincere congratulations to the President-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo.
I thank you for your kind attention.
May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless our homeland Ghana.