By Maxwell Ofori
The Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, has lamented over concerns raised by a section of the public on its relevance, stating that that institution plays a vital role in the governance system.
According to him, the Council of State is as relevant today to the democratic advancement of the country, as it was conceived by the framers of the 1992 Constitution.
Nana Otuo Siriboe II said this at Jubilee House on Wednesday, August 8, 2018, where he presented its annual report to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Giving his remarks, Nana Otuo Siriboe II craved the indulgence of President Akufo-Addo to clear the public’s notion that that institution was of no use.
The presentation of the report was in fulfilment of the assurance by the Council of State last year to compile and submit a report of its activities annually to the President.
“Not only do we seek to report our activities to your Excellency, we also seek to let the Ghanaian public know that the Council of State is as relevant today to the democratic advancement of Ghana, as it was conceived by the framers of the 1992 Constitution.
“This, indeed, is neither a rubber stamp Council, nor a moribund institution which has no relevance to the progress of our country, ” he noted.
Briefing the President on its activities over the last one year, the Chairman said the Council met 73 times within the year.
This, he explained, was due to the exigencies of their work, which included the plenary, committee, and emergency sessions to discharge its responsibilities.
The development, the Chairman highlighted, may be contrasted with the provision under Article 92 of the Constitution, requiring that the Council met, at least, four times in a year.
In the year under review, the Council examined and approved appointments made by President Akufo-Addo to some 128 boards of state institutions, universities, and the judiciary.
Before concluding his remarks, the Chairman informed the President that “the Council would take a break for a couple of months, after a year of hard work, and resume in October, 2018.
“However, in order that government business continues uninterrupted, the Council’s Appointments and House Affairs Committee (AHAC) will be available to consider requests for the period of recess.
“The Council has given its AHAC plenipotentiary powers and approval to consider all such appointments,” he added.
On his part, President Akufo-Addo expressed his gratitude for the outstanding work done by the Council, and in the submitting the report.
His appreciation was for the fact that the Council had worked according to the mandate of the Constitution, and to the oath it swore.
Again, the expediency with which the Council dealt with the appointments made by the President was commended as well.
President Akufo-Addo made particular mention of the collaboration he received from the Council when the need arose for the Article 5 of the Constitution to be invoked, to allow for the creation for some new regions.
Commenting on the number of times the Council met, President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that “this is, indeed, a body that has come to work, and not just to [enjoy] in its status and enjoy the accolades as Member of the Council of State, but that is not the result of the work that I have seen.”
Touching on the debate on the standing and the true constitutional role of the Council of State, President Akufo-Addo indicated that it was healthy for the public to go on with the debate to the point where a consensus could be arrived