Former Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood has been sworn in as the last of the 25-Member Council of State. The 1992 Constitution reserves a seat for a retired Chief Justice, but for 22 years the vacancy has not been filled.
The last time it was filled was in 1995 by former CJ Philip Edward Archer.
Since then three other Chief Justices have died in office or retired on health grounds. The first of the three was Isaac Kobina Abban who was expected to retire in May 2001 on health grounds but later died in office in the same month.
The next was Edward Wiredu who was CJ from 2001 to 2003 and retired on health grounds. The last of the three was George Kingsley Acquah who was appointed as CJ in 2003 but died in office in 2007.
Justice Georgina Wood was appointed as the first female CJ in 2007 and after 10 years of service, she retired last week. For the first time in 22 years, Ghana has a living retired CJ.
Former CJ, Georgina Theodora Wood and President Akufo-Addo
At the maiden meeting of the President’s counsellors Tuesday, the first female CJ took her oath before her colleagues, filling the spot reserved for a retired CJ.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo praised the extraordinary works of Mrs Wood when she served as the country’s CJ.
He said the former CJ is bringing on board rich information and experience which will help the governance of the country.
Mrs Wood in her address, thanked the President for the confidence he has reposed in her, pledging her absolute loyalty to the country and Constitution.
“I do recognise that largely, the constitutional role of the Council of State is consultative and advisory, but I do also recognise the crucial importance it plays in the governance of this nation,” she said.
She said President Akufo-Addo can count on her to champion his government’s projects such as job creation, improving the economy, and fighting against corruption and impunity.
“Mr President you can count on my loyalty to the people of Ghana and to the constitution,” she said.
As enjoined by the 1992 Constitution, the Council of State has the mandate to counsel the President in the performance of his functions.
It is also mandated to “Consider and advise the President or any other authority in respect of any appointment which is required by the Constitution or any other law to be made in accordance with the advice of, or in consultation with the council.”
The successful swearing in of Mrs Wood makes her the 25th member of the eminent advisors of the President.
The rest of the members are Juabenhene Nana Otuo Siriboe II, Sam Okudzeto, Nana Kofi Obiri Egyir II, Mrs Alberta Cudjoe, Alhaji Aminu Amadu, Dr. Margaret Amoakohene, Stanley Adjiri Blankson, Mrs. Georgina Kusi, Alhaji Sule Yiremiah, Alhaji Sahanun Moqtar, Dr. Nii Kotei Dzani and Mr. Paa Kofi Ansong.
Other members are Lt. General J.B. Danquah, a former Chief of Defence Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, and Nana Owusu Nsiah, a former Inspector General of Police.
The President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV, is also an ex-officio member of the Council.