He was speaking at an orientation for 208, out of the 216 MMDCEs whose appointments have so far been confirmed by their respective assemblies at the Institute of Local Government (ILG) in Accra yesterday.
He was convinced that “The people of Ghana will feel and know the change they voted for has truly arrived if and when the chief executive delivers on the promises of government,” which he said starts with the attitude they adopt towards people.
“You can easily get caught up in the ‘Honourable’ and ‘Excellency’ game and begin to think that change has indeed come because you are now being called Honourable or Excellency or because you are now riding in an eye-catching vehicle and you are living in the most imposing house in town,” he warned.
He underscored, “Chief executives, change will be measured in better sanitation and a more wholesome environment; people will know there is change when the quality of local schools improves; they will know there is change when there are jobs for young people; and they will know there is change when officials come to work on time.”
President Akufo-Addo also cautioned the chief executives to avoid creating needless tensions between themselves and their Members of Parliament (MPs).
“Experience has taught us that a lot of the tension that arises in the districts and frustrates the work of government at times comes from the fractious relationship between Members of Parliament and chief executives,” he observed.
Most of these frictions more often than not, emerge when these MMDCEs have the intention to contest for parliamentary positions.
It sometimes leads to deliberate delays in the release of the MPs’ Common Fund by some of the MMDCEs just to stifle and frustrate the MPs.
The president admonished, “Please avoid such conflicts and let the MPs get their share of the Common Fund timeously.”
“I do not want to issue any edicts on anybody’s political ambition; it is enough to point out that many of the tensions between chief executives and MPs also start when chief executives want to run for parliament,” he emphasized.
According to Nana Addo, “The new paradigm of effective governance demands maximum co-operation among chief executives, MPs and the new kids on the block and the officials of the development authorities. “The closer and more sincere will be the co-operation, the greater and more extensive will be the development,” he noted.
“The people in your districts, municipalities and metropolises are not looking for a different set of people from the last set to lord it over them. They are not looking for a new set of people to jump the red lights and traffic queues, instead of working to find solutions to the traffic jams for all of us,” he told them in the face.
President Akufo-Addo underscored, “Ghanaians will know there has been no change, if a three-unit classroom block is still built at exorbitant cost to the state, and if contractors are not being paid on time, and businesses are suffering.
“Above all, people will know there has been change when their cief executives are seen to be implementing the promises in the NPP manifesto. They will know change has come when you treat them with courtesy and humility as their servant. They will know that change has come when the galamsey menace has been defeated in your locality.”
He therefore took them to task, “You, like all of us in central and regional governments, have to live up to that expectation.”
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, the MCE for Adenta, Alex Nii-Noi Adumoah, promised, “We shall live up to expectation.
“On behalf of my colleagues, I want to assure that we shall deliver and support your administration and bring about the transformation of Ghana you and our government so much desire. We shall be your true representatives at the local level, delivering good governance and creating an enviably clean environment that is sustainable.”