State of the nation addresses are nothing more than political theaters and should be seen as such. They offer little in the way of meeting citizens demands for good healthcare, good roads, excellent schools, hospitals and work.
They are, simply put, platforms for egotistical politicians to run their mouths, make grandiose and out of this world promises, and hope voters accord them another opportunity to wield political power.
President Akuffo Addo did not disappoint; his State of the Nation Address was one for the records; not only was it tediously long, it was an ego trip, albeit, replete with rehashed promises.
Mr. Addo's long winded speech failed woefully to adequately address the fundamental problems staring Ghanaians in the face, perennial runaway inflation with its accompanying high food and fuel prices and out of control violence.
Like his predecessors, Mr. Addo took great delight in highlighting his achievements on all fronts; he was particularly vocal about the economy which he boldly proclaimed, was resilient and clinking on all cylinders and was the envy of the world with its spectacular growth rate of nearly 8 percent. "The fundamentals of the economy are strong," he gloated.
He then trotted out big numbers to back up his claim, while shamelessly singing the praises of the vice president and some sector ministers. With the mind numbing numbers, which he described as boring, you would have thought Mr. Addo was teaching introduction to econometrics class.
As is his wont, his usual style, Mr. Addo once again for the thousandth time reminded Ghanaians that he inherited a terrible economy, an economy, that he claimed, was wrecked beyond repairs. And one which he and his team of economic wizards had worked tirelessly to revamp, to restore to health.
I say hogwash to Mr. Addo's assertions about the economy. They are patently false; he should have acknowledged the obvious. No matter how he cuts it, the economy is by no means sound; it is weak, unsteady and wobbly. It is struggling mightily and sorely lacks the resiliency and punch Mr. Addo claims it has.
The long and short of it is that, the economy has not grown by heaps and bounds as Mr. Addo would want Ghanaians to believe. The economic indicators are pointing in the opposite direction. Were the economy to be on solid ground, the unemployment rate will be a mouth-watering 2 percent instead of the estimated 20 percent as reported by experts.
Throughout the speech, Mr. Addo was in his element; he used the occasion to issue grandiose promises to millions of unemployment young Ghanaians, our hard working police officers and soldiers. "We will create 100, 000 jobs for the young," he boasted.
For the police force, the President promised to equip it with helicopters and drones to fight the rising level of crime in the country. Splendid; it is about time Mr. Addo recognizes the threat that crime poses to the security and stability of the country.
Our police officers are ill-equipped and if Mr. Addo can translate his promise into reality, that is acquire the neccessary hardware for our police officers, it will be the high point of his presidency. How many times should it be mentioned that our police officers desperately need better equipment to take the fight to the criminals who continue to traumatize thousands of our citizens.
Once again, the president had the golden opportunity to rebuke political vigilante violence; but sadly, he deliberately avoided the subject, alluding generically to violence for reasons that he alone knows. Ghanaians were expecting to hear him say the magic words: "All politically affiliated vigilante groups are banned, prohibited, illegal."
Mr. Addo covered a lot of ground in his speech; he was all over the map. But the fundamental question remains: how soon will he get the economy humming, working again? After all, righting the economy was the central theme of his 2016 election campaign and Ghanaians expect results.