Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo has invited former President John Agyekum Kufuor to address the upcoming conference of the Organisation of Professional Journalists of Cote d’Ivoire.
The conference will evolve around the need for Ivorians to ensure peace and unity in the impending national elections scheduled for February 16, 2010.
Former President Kufuor was invited based on his contribution towards the finding of a lasting solution to the Ivorian problem and commitment as an honest broker to both sides of the conflict.
Mr. Emmanuel Auguste Ackah, Ivorian Ambassador led a four-member delegation to inform former President Kufuor of the invitation at his residence in Accra on Tuesday.
Other members of the delegation are; Mr. Aka Pascal, President of the Organisation (OPJ) of Professional Journalist of Cote D’Ivoire, Mr. Lebry Francis, Vice President of OPJ and Mr. Agouassey Danho, First Councillor of the Embassy of Cote D’Ivoire.
Mr. Ackah commended former President Kufuor for his selfless efforts to bring peace to Cote d’Ivoire, during his tenure of office as ECOWAS Chairman.
He said the team was grateful to meet someone who understood the history and culture of Ivorians.
Mr. Pascal, President of OPJ noted that the position former President Kufuor adopted despite the campaign for Election 2008 saved Ghana much trouble and congratulated him for being a great democrat, who had made a mark.
Mr. Pascal said Ghana had gone through painful periods but through the hard work of her people and leaders it had been able to overcome some of the challenges.
Former President Kufuor said the invitation from President Gbagbo and the OPJ to address Ivorians was the best New Year message to him.
He recalled his relationship with President Gbagbo in 2001 when he assumed office.
Mr. Kufuor said President Gbagbo was the first Head of State to invite him on a state visit and had the chance to address Ivorian leaders and people in Abidjan.
Former President Kufuor said during the visit, the tension between the various factions in the North and South begun to show clearly and despite being in office for a few months, President Gbagbo chose him to address a conference of the disputing factions because of the confidence he had in him.
He appealed to President Gbagbo, former President Conan Bedie, former Prime Minister Alhassan Quattara and the youth to remember the heritage of the late President Felix Houphouet Boigne and keep it intact.
Former President Kufuor called for a constitution that is free and fair and will allow every Ivorian to vote in the impending elections.
He said somehow destiny had made it possible for him to play an important role in resolving the Ivorian crisis and assured Ivorians that he would continue to work to ensure that peace and stability prevailed in Cote D’Ivoire.
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