The Chief Justice of Ghana (CJ), Georgina T. Wood has advised students and head porters that apart from respecting God, they should also respect the rule of law.
Mrs Wood said this at the 9th Annual Lady Chief Justice’s Mentoring Programme in Accra.
Touching on the sub-theme for the programme, ‘Safeguarding the Rule of Law – a collective responsibility’, the CJ said that ‘we want you (students and porters) to understand that one of the ways of raising the next generation of selfless leaders is to make you understand that one, we have a duty to safeguard the rule of law, and two, it is everybody’s collective responsibility. Rule of law is not the sole responsibility of political leaders, it is not the sole responsibility of judges and magistrates and lawyers, but all of us included, every single Ghanaian, including your good selves.’
Explaining the sub-theme to the students and the head porters, Her Ladyship said that ‘safeguarding means protection, keeping in a perfect state something which has been entrusted to you. The rule of law simply means that it is the law which rules. It is the law, not anarchy or disorder.’
Citing examples of developed countries that have embraced the rule of law, the CJ narrated that ‘I believe quite a number of you have had opportunity to see on the television or in books some of the beautiful developed countries such as the U.S., the U.K., among others, a good number of Ghanaians yearn to visit and we all say wow what a beautiful country. I will tell something, the people in Japan, China, Dubai or U.S. are just like us, they are flesh and blood, and they are not different from us. The challenges we face as human beings also face them. But in their countries, it is the law which rules, nobody is above the law, not even their prime ministers nor their presidents nor their chief justices. What it means is that if they say nobody should cross this line and you dare cross the line, you are in trouble; the law will deal with you as it should. So this basically is what has turned their countries into the paradise that we see.’
The Honourable Ladyship reiterated that ‘in those developed countries, if they say that everybody should report to work at eight o’clock, they would mean just that and also that when you go, you must work a whole day so you would earn your salary, they mean just that. If you go beyond eight o’clock, you are in trouble and you will have nobody to speak for you. So they have learnt to understand and also they have learnt to govern their lives by what the law says.’
‘And really the law is not difficult to follow at all. In fact if you don’t like trouble, if you want to enjoy life, then apart from respecting God, respect the law and you will be the happiest person on earth. So when we say the rule of law all we are saying is that it is the law which is going to govern our lives, the CJ advised them.
She intimated that ‘it is only the rule of law that helps a society to grow and to develop. But for the rule of law, those of us who are public servants might probably be dipping our hands into the monies which have been given to us by the state to use to run our various institutions. So the rule of law keeps us in check. So we want to urge you as citizens and as future leaders that at this very early age, you have a contribution to make in protection of the rule of law.’
Mrs Wood also urged the students to be studious with their studies and abstain from examination malpractices, restating that they should not break the law of Ghana by buying exams papers.
Advising the head porters, Her Ladyship enunciated that ‘I would like to assure you today that it is very possible for you to rekindle the dreams, hopes and aspirations that you have for yourselves and your future families, urging them to look beyond the challenges and obstacles that they are facing now.’
The Chief Justice further motivated the students and the head porters that ‘I would like to stress that you are not alive by accident. You are not a Ghanaian by chance. Don’t think God made a mistake by putting you here in Ghana. God did it for a purpose. And in you He has invested great potentials that one I am convinced because if I look back and remind myself a little of how I started off as a little girl of four years who has been able to find myself here as a CJ, that alone is evidence that I would not need any prophet to tell me that God has put great potentials in you.’
‘And I will emphasise again that it is not by chance that you are born in Ghana and therefore what you have to do is to make yourself available to Him so that you can exploit the potential that He has invested in you so you can use build Ghana, she added.
The mentoring programme was organised for eleven Senior High Schools, including the Akropong School for the Blind and some head porters (‘kayayei’) from Accra and Kumasi. Certificates were presented to the beneficiaries. The main theme for the proagramme was ‘Raising the next Generation of Selfless Leaders.’ There were solidarity messages from officials of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the National Peace Council and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE). The programme was sponsored by DANIDA and UNFPA.
The Mentoring Programme
The Annual Lady Chief Justice’s Mentoring Programme was initiated by the Honourable Lady Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, when she took the high office in 2007. The programme is aimed at exposing students to the functions of the judiciary and the administration of justice in Ghana.
The programme has been highly commended by the UNFPA and many stakeholders as well as well-wishers including the media and the beneficiaries, as it also stimulates the interest of students who take part to aspire to greater heights in life.