March 14, 2003
Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to give the vote of thanks this evening.
I should first like to thank the organisers of the event. The arrangements have been well up to the usual high standards of our association. We have had a nice reception and a good dinner in very pleasant surroundings.
Secondly, I should thank you all for coming. Itís been an opportunity for members to renew old friendships, exchange news and talk about days gone by.
But what has made it such a memorable occasion, of course, is the presence of a very special friend, our guest of honour, Mr NAME.
Many of us first got to know Mr NAME when he was president of the association. That was when he was studying here to be a chartered accountant. He did a lot for the association and was already demonstrating an interest in service to others.
On completing his studies he returned to COUNTRY to join a well-known accounting firm. He progressed rapidly through the organisation and became a senior management accountant.
His abilities soon came to the notice of government and it came as no surprise when he was appointed Minister for Finance and External Affairs. It was an office he held with distinction.
What set him apart from so many others who held that office before and after him was his prudent management. With the intense pressure on governments all over Africa, and indeed elsewhere, to provide financial support of many kinds to their citizens, it is common for finance ministers to exceed their budgets and get into debt.
Not Mr NAME. He was always able to retain a certain sum in reserve at the end of each year that he could carry forward to the next. He was the countryís first finance minister to achieve that.
I donít know how he managed it. I am sure the British Chancellor, Gordon Brown, would like to know his secret.
Apart from the wise overall management of the nationís finances, Mr NAME did a number of visible things for his country that made a difference to the lives of ordinary people. I am thinking, for example, of the road that connects MCC Road and Ikoneto in Okdukpani local government area.
Then came that period of turbulence when he found himself under investigation and forced to leave the country.
It is difficult for any of us to appreciate the personal anxiety he suffered at this time. A glittering political career seemed likely to end in public disgrace. Yet all the while he knew that the allegations were quite unfounded.
Well, as we recently learned to our very great relief and delight, the cloud has lifted, and the investigation has cleared him of all misdoing. He is free to return to his country and resume his career. We donít know what job is in store but it is sure to be one of influence.
It has been said that behind every successful man stands a supportive woman.
Mrs NAME has been a very great support to her husband throughout their married life and especially during the recent difficult times. A stable home life with a loving wife and children has been a great source of comfort and delight for him.
Mr NAME, we would like to thank you for giving us the honour of your presence at this dinner. Itís been a privilege to have you back, if only for a few hours, in the bosom of this association. We regard you not just as a distinguished member but as a dear friend.
You and your family go back to COUNTRY with the very best wishes of us all.
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