Monday, March 5, 2007
Regions gear up for the big show
Story: GRAPHIC REPORTERS
THE Golden Jubilee fever has caught up with many people throughout the country.
The flags of Ghana have been hoisted in the regional capitals and other major towns in the country while anniversary souvenirs were on sale along the streets and some churches on Sunday.
Although the preparations have delayed in most of the regions, the expectation was that everything would be in place for the grand celebration on Tuesday.
From Koforidua, A. Kofoya-Tatteh reports that construction work on a new parade grounds with three stands for the public, press and dignitaries as well as a special structure for the Dias had been completed for the jubilee parade to be held there instead of the Jackson Park which had over the years served that purpose.
The construction of the new parade grounds whose stands have a capacity of about 2,000 people was built by Star Dust Construction in a record time of two months.
Accoding to Paa Kwasi Frempong, the Site Engineer of the company, workers had to work day and night to complete it on schedule.
Also, the Koforidua Township which had been decorated with both giant and miniature national flags had some of the flags stolen by some members of the public.
That situation compelled the Municipal chief Executive, Nana Adjei Boateng, to order replacements.
Other towns in the New Juaben Municipality such as Jumapo and Suhyen where mini parades would be held had been cleared of filth while the marketplaces were also full of independence paraphernalia, comprising cups, plates, shirts, headgear and other items, all in national colours.
A number of activities have also been held in the regional capital.
They included a three-day cultural and poetry festival organized by the regional office of the Centre for National Cultural (CNC), Muslim prayers at the Central Mosque last Friday, which was addressed by the Municipal Chief Executive, Nana Adjei Boateng, followed by a musical festival the following day that was attended by a large audience including the Regional Minister, Mr. Yaw Barimah, a special church service by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church at the SDA Training College and a nondenominational church service at the Jackson Park.
At the district level preparations for the event in the West Akyem District had been extraordinary, with a number of activities over the past two months.
The activities which were supervised by the District Chief Executive, Mr. Kwabena Sintim Aboagye, comprised tree planting, debates involving both basic and second cycle schools in the area, clean-up exercises, choral night, soccer and other physical exercise, beauty contest and a non-denominational church service, all at Asamankese which had been cleared of filth by Zoom Lion, and decorated with national colours.
In the words of Mr. Sintim Aboagye, the assembly had taken those initiatives to make the occasion a memorable one.
Other district capitals that had also been decorated with national colours and cleared of filth are Suhum (Suhum/Kraboa/Coaltar), Akem Oda (Birim South), Begoro (Fanteakwa), Somanya (Yilo Krobo), Kyebi (East Akyem) and Akropong-Akuapem (Akuapem North).
Their respective District Chief Executives, Messrs Michael Kofi Mensah, Frank Kwame Bosumtwi, Ebenezer Offoe Caesar, Adu Tawiah, Emmanuel Victor Asihene and Edward Adu Aboagye had all been personally involved in the exercises.
Work on the Jubilee durbar grounds at West Tanokrom, a sunbird of Takoradi for the Western Region celebration of the 50th independence anniversary is almost complete, reports Kwame Assiedu Marfo.
The ¢4 billion project consists of a VIP dais, spectators’ and media stands as well as a refreshment centre, water closets and urinals. The project is about 95 per cent complete. Construction of the structure has been completed, while 400,000 pieces of pavement blocks are being laid on the ground.
When the Daily Graphic visited the project site, the structures were being painted while other workers were busily doing all kinds of jobs.
Some of the workers were also seen digging trenches for the extension of water to the durbar grounds. Electricity has already been extended to the site.
The Deputy Western Regional Minister, Mr. Kwasi Blay, who went to the site to inspect the progress of work told the Daily Graphic that the project would be completed on time for the anniversary parade on Tuesday.
He noted that the contractors were working hard day and night to make sure that it would be ready for the independence anniversary parade.
Mr. Lay said after the Ghana @ 50 anniversary celebration activities’ the refreshment centre would be given to a private person to operate.
Meanwhile, the people in the region are preparing feverishly to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.
To ensure that enough awareness was created about the event, particularly in Takoradi where major activities in the region would take place, the Western Regional Co-ordinating Council (WRCC) had acquired six giant billboards to give publicity to the event.
The billboards have been mounted at vantage locations in and outside Takoradi.
One of the billboards had been mounted at Asemasa, a town separating the Western Region from the Central Region and one also at Apowa near Apremdu.
The others are located at Komfo Ase in Sekondi, Inchaban, and at the Edzi Roundabout at West Tanokron.
One of the billboards has been mounted at Nkroful junction at Esiama in the Nzema East District.
Activities planned for the Jubilee include a football gala, and a journey to Nkroful, the birthplace of the President of the First Republic, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
There will be a durbar at Nkroful where people in the Western Region who have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers and have also contributed immensely to the development of the region will be honoured.
The Western Regional Minister, Mr. A.E. Amoah, told the Daily Graphic that all the sites for the jubilee projects had been selected in the various districts.
The Nzema East District Chief Executive, Mr. Joshua Kwadjah Ellimah, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that the Jubilee school, to be constructed at Nkroful, would be a very big project.
He said the project comprised a kindergarten, a primary school offices, library, places of convenience and urinal.
Meanwhile, the anniversary fever is gradually catching up with people in Takoradi and its environs as they appreciate the use of national colours as well as the anniversary logo.
People now wear the anniversary T-shirts, caps, scarves, wrist bands, necklaces with whistle and other paraphernalia, while cars are flying both miniature and large Ghana Flags.
From Ho, Tim Dzamboe reports that public enthusiasm for the celebration of the Golden Jubilee in the Volta Regional capital has gone up in Ho following the delivery of several packages to the various district assemblies in the region.
Of importance to the people is the completion of a new ¢4 billion regional jubilee park for the occasion, where the rehearsals for the celebrations were held, attracting a lot of people who thronged the new durbar grounds to have a glimpse of the magnificent public stands.
According to the Ho Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Mawutor Goh, apart from the readiness of the Jubilee park, a rest stop with water closet and urinal designed for the convenience of physically challenged persons had been constructed at Ho-Heve, adding that a similar one had been proposed for Ho-Bankoe as a Jubilee project.
He said the Ho Municipal Assembly had taken delivery of a large quality of miniature flags, cups, big flags, T-shirts and wax prints for the celebrations, adding that similar packages had been delivered to all the districts of the region.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Hohoe District Chief Executive, Mr. Pater Amewu, said a status of the first beauty queen from Alavayo, Miss Monica Amekuefia, had been erected at the forecourt of the Hohoe post office and will be unveiled today.
He also disclosed that the 15-kilometres road linking Gbi-Wegbe through Alavanyo to Nkonya had been awarded on contract to be tarred to serve as a monument of peace between the two feuding factions.
Mr. Amewu further disclosed that a bicycle race had been planned from Golokwati to Hohoe, with television and ghetto blasters to be awarded to winners.
At Adidome, the District Chief Excutive, Mr. Moses Asem, said a massive clean-up exercise had been held in the district and that a candle light procession, cultural night, a victory hunt, Freedom and Justice walk were some of the activities planned for the occasion.
According to him jubilee projects were delayed because funds were yet to be allocated for the projects which included a primary school block with kindergarten for which land had been acquired and cleared for the project.
The South Tongu District Chief Executive, Ms. Gate Aglah, also said there were plans to construct a primary school building and a kindergarten.
At kpando the DCE, Mr. Plus Adanuty, said the souvenirs would be distributed to the town, area and town councils with the support of circuit supervisors of the Ghana Education Service (GES).
Special recognition will to given to the Awate Junior Secondary School which scored zero per cent in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in 2005 but managed to turn the situation around scoring 100 per cent in the 2006 BECE.
Feverish preparations are underway in Kumasi and other parts of the Ashanti Region towards the jubilee parade and march past to commemorate the Golden Jubilee, reports Kwame Asare Boadu.
From traditional and political leaders to the ordinary people on the streets, everyone is waiting for the celebrations when they would become part of history.
The jubilee planning committees in the districts, with the support of the district assemblies, are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the celebration lives up to expectation.
The anniversary fever seems to have caught up with the people, a far cry from some few weeks back when a level of apathy was prevalent.
The Daily Graphic has visited district capitals, including Effiduasi, Mankranso, Bekwai, Ejisu, Nkawie and Manso Nkwanta to see how preparations were going on.
Flags and buntings were flying over buildings, trees and other places, while many cars had national colours on them.
Political authorities in the districts indicated that the programmes for the celebration had been planned devoid of any political interest.
Many of the ordinary people the Daily Graphic spoke to said they were happy that they would be part of the jubilee celebration.
Some of the elderly people noted that they might not live to see the next jubilee year and therefore have to participate fully in the events.
In Kumasi, the Paa Joe Stadium at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology where the parade would be held had been prepared.
The Jackson Park at Fante New Town which the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly is developing into an ultra-modern anniversary grounds could not be completed on schedule so schedule so the main event would be held at the KNUST where the Regional Minister, Mr. E.A. Owusu-Ansah, would take the salute at the march past.
A number of buildings in the central part of the city and other parts had been decorated in the national colours of green, yellow and red with the black star in the middle.
Most people the Daily Graphic spoke to in Tema on the Golden Jubilee celebrations commended the government for initiating a grand programme, the first of its kind in the history of the nation, reports Rose Hayford Darko.
They claimed that although the planning was late, things were picking up to have most of the important things done before the climax of the celebrations.
In an interview, a 73-year-old retired Chief Petty Officer, Andrews Eshun, who saw the struggle for independence suggested that like the days of coronation when souvenirs were distributed to educate people about the history of the country.
He also called on the Ministry of Information and National Orientation to send information vans to announce to people the significance of the celebration of the jubilee.
That, in his view, would remove the stigma of only Accra benefiting from the Jubilee programmes.
A retired public servant, Mr. Jonathan Narh, described the Jubilee celebrations as a birthday which could not be ignored.
He sated that unfortunately some people were considering the celebrations as another means of holiday and merry making which most people had always looked forward to.
Mr. Narh was hopeful that the people would be given a thorough education on the celebration of independence which was fought for with sweat and blood.
An assembly member of the ‘A’ Road Electoral Area at Community 8, Mr. Alex Owusu Asare, said the celebration should have been based on achievements during the 50 years of independence.
A security officer, Mr. Daniel Akwetey, urged every Ghanaian to be cautious during the celebration and avoid overindulgence.
Meanwhile, the Tema Municipal Assembly has whitewashed pavements, trees and embarkments.
The assembly is also constructing new walkways along the major roads to the hospital and motorway to provide parking lots for vehicles and pedestrians.
According to the Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. David Annang, the assembly would continue with the Ghana @ 50 projects which include erection of monuments and naming of streets.
However, residents of Bolgatanga will not be able to use the Jubilee durbar grounds for the parade of personnel of security services and schoolchildren tomorrow, reports Benjamin Glover & Samuel Abaane, because of the inability of the contractors, Messrs Presfos Ltd. A Kumasi-based construction firm, to complete the work on schedule.
The ¢4.5 billion park would have comprised a dais, media and spectators’ stands, as well as a refreshment centre.
A visit to the site by the Daily Graphic revealed artisans busily working on the Regional Golden Jubilee Park, which was being constructed at the site where the former Bolgatanga Plaza, with spectator stands and a dais were located. The Plaza was demolished this year to pave the way for the construction of the Jubilee Park.
The site foreman, Mr. John Hasford, explained that the major works on the presidential stands and the spectator stands had been executed while work on the refreshment block was complete, adding that what were left were painting and minor fittings.
Meanwhile, all is set for the anniversary parade involving personnel of the security services, civil society organizations, pupils and students of basic and second cycle schools tomorrow at the Bolgatanga St. Johns Park.
In a related development, sale of the national flag and other jubilee paraphernalia had increased with some shops and street vendors displaying and selling the national flag.
A Marketing Officer at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, official outlet for Ghana @ 50 paraphernalia, told the Daily Graphic that the items were being patronized by the public.
Some people have, however, expressed concern about the high cost of the items.
The Northern Regional Chairman of Ghana @ 50 Committee, Mr. Mohammed Amin Adam Anta, had given the assurance that the region is ready for the celebrations, reports Zakarin Alhassan and Vincent Adedze.
He said security arrangements and logistics, including buses had been put in place to convey students and other visitors to and from the jubilee grounds at the Police Park.
Mr. Adam who is also the Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive indicated that several visitors, including members of the Diplomatic Corps, a football team and some cultural troupes from Fada N’grouma in Burkina Faso were expected to grace the occasion.
He disclosed that about ¢700 million would be expended on the anniversary activities while ¢4.8 billion has been invested in the provision of infrastructure at the Tamale Police Park durbar grounds.
Mr. Adam further stated that the assembly was contributing a total of ¢200 million to ensure a successful anniversary celebrations.
Contacts with all the districts indicated that the various local district committees were feverishly putting finishing touches to projects and programmes for the anniversary.
At the respective districts, work on the construction of pavilions, car parks and sheds were receiving attention while seminars, clean-up exercises. Among other activities, were on going.
For instance, at Yendi, the District Chief Executive, Alhaji Mohammed Habid Tijani, revealed that, “we have gone far with our preparations and have also received a large consignment of our anniversary paraphernalia”.
The Zabzugu/Tatale District Chief Executive, Alhaji Yakubu Bukari, expressed appreciation for the immense cooperation the assembly had received from the chiefs and people in the area towards the anniversary and entreated them to show more enthusiasm and involvement in the activities leading to the event.
Although most people the Daily Graphic spoke to in the districts acknowledged the importance of the anniversary, they were, however, not happy that everything seemed to be behind schedule.
“We are behaving as if we just learnt of our being 50 yesterday”, a 43-year-old teacher in Walewale, Musah Idisah said, adding that, “as a result, work on all the projects and programmes are being speeded up”.
Some District Chief Executives and the anniversary planning committee members expressed concern over the unavailability of adequate funds to carry our their programmes for which reason some of the districts have been compelled to abandon some laudable projects such as the construction of jubilee schools and toilets.
Meanwhile, the merchandising of jubilee paraphernalia has increased significantly in some parts of the region, including Tamale, where residents are adorned with various regalia decorated with the national colours and miniature flags.
Sunyani, the regional capital of the Brong Ahafo Region will be one of the places to use the Jubilee Parade Grounds, reports Samuel Duodu.
The completion of the ¢4 billion Jubilee Parade and durbar grounds in Sunyani has further heightened the fever of the country’s Golden Jubilee anniversary celebration in the municipality as residents thronged there to watch the final rehearsals of the various security agencies, cadet corps of second cycle institutions, students and schoolchildren as well as some voluntary organizations.
When the Daily Graphic visited the parade and durbar grounds, at the old Kwame Nkrumah Park on Saturday, some residents, including schoolchildren were seen sitting in the stands to observe the rehearsals.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister who was present at the rehearsals at the jubilee parade and durbar grounds here to indicate that work has been completed and we would use it on Tuesday, March 6.
He said all the 19 districts in the region had also prepared their site for the construction of the Jubilee Primary Schools and Kindergartens in the district capitals.
“What we are waiting for to begin the construction of the Jubilee schools in all the 19 Districts capitals of the region was a directive from Accra to enable us select the contractors to execute the projects, scheduled to be ready by September this year”, he said.
The entire Sunyani Municipally has been decorated with the flags of the nation as all streetlights had at least two Ghana flags and the Ghana@50 flags on them.
The Jubilee parade and durbar grounds also hosted a night of prayer towards the celebration on Friday, which was organized by the Sunyani Local Council of Churches on the theme: “Jubilee, Our year of Peace.
In a Sermon, Rt. Rev. James K. Baffour-Awuah, the Methodist Bishop of Sunyani, called on Ghanaians not to allow politics to divide them, but to use the Golden Jubilee celebrations to unite and work hard for the rapid development of the nation.
George Folley Quaye reports from Wa that the anniversary, fever has gripped the people of the Upper West Region.
Last Thursday and Friday, schools in the Wa municipality had a forestate of what was going to happen at the Jubilee Park when they trooped to the Wa Secondary and Technical School Park to watch the rehearsal for the anniversary parade.
Some participating schools had even gone ahead to sew new uniforms, bought common foot-wears and sunglasses for the great occasion. For example at the Dan Ibu International School, all the students who would march are to wear one particular footwear which cost ¢75,000 each.
To add to the excitement is the completion of the Jubilee Park which is names after a former Paramount Chief of the Wa Traditional Area, Naa Sidiki Bomi II.
The multi billion park has been painted in the national colours of red, gold and green. It has a presidential dais with modern sanitary facilities, press boxes and three beautiful stands.
In the words of some schoolchildren, “we want to make history by being among those who participated in the jubilee parade”.
Added to that is the craze for souvenirs which has now become the order of the day.
While some people have hoisted the national flag on their vehicles, others have used the national colours to design beautiful clothes.
Feverish preparations are also underway in the districts to involve the people in the celebration.
According to the District Chief Executive for Nadowli, Wing Commander Eric Dankurah (retd), vehicles would be sent to vantage points in the district to pick people to the Local Authority Primary School Park to witness the special parade of schoolchildren.
He said the Nadowli District would benefit from the construction of a number of projects, including classroom blocks, which would start this month.
A number of people interviewed were of the opinion that preparations towards the celebrations could have started long ago, particularly after the World Cup, when the spirit of nationalism was high in the country.
Daily Graphic - Monday, March 5, 2007 Pages: 17, 18 & 47