Aburi celebrates Odwira festival today
Article: NANA KONADU AGYEMAN
The chiefs and people of Aburi in the Eastern region will celebrate this year’s Odwira festival today.
Aburi, one of the most toured tourist attractions in the country, is a hilly town surrounded by a lush green vegetation, where cold breeze is common.
The festival, which has remained an integral part of the people’s cultural heritage for decades, is highly expected to draw a large gathering of people from all walks of life both locally and internationally.
As part of the festival, the Aburihene, Nana Otoobour Djan Kwasi II, queens and sub-chiefs will sit in their palanquins to be paraded through the main streets of the town, amidst the firing of ancient muskets by the traditional warriors.
The fiesta will mark the beginning of a new traditional year for the people to offer thank to God for his care and protection, as well as remember their ancestors, from whom the people will seek protection and favour and purify the community to allow the people to go into the new year with hope.
The event, just like every festival in the country, will bring together the sons and daughters of the town to renew their loyalties to their chiefs by paying homage to them, as well as afford families and individuals at loggerheads to seek to settle disputes, quarrels or misunderstanding to ensure unity among the people.
This year’s grand durbar of the event will be held at the Botanical Gardens and will serve as a platform for the people of Aburiman to review the past and resolve to correct the past mistakes and plan for the future, especially in the areas of education and health.
Citizens and others like invited guests will have to donate towards educational and other development projects during an appeal for funds, while others, especially those who are well-to-do, will make pledges and other commitments towards the development of the area.
From all indications, the importance of this celebration in every sphere of the people’s lives, particularly in the areas of morality, religion, cultural, education and economic, cannot be ignored.
In recognition of the significant role of festivals like the Odwira in the lives of the people across the country, some corporate institutions associate themselves with the festivals by way of contributing in cash and in kind towards the success of the festivals and also the development of the communities. And this is always appreciated.
One corporate body that is distinctly demonstrating such unflinching commitment in partnering with the chiefs of the people in the successful organization and celebration of various festivals in the country is Vodafone Ghana, which, for the past one year, has identified itself with various communities through the sponsorship of a number of festivals in the country.
The festivals include the Akuapem and Amanokrom Odwira, the Fetu Afahye, the Ho Asogli, the Ada Asafotufiam, the Edna Bakatue, the Kade Ekaade, the Axim Kundum, the Mankessim Akwambo and the Komenda Nyeyi.
The company has further demonstrated that indeed one of its attributes is to support worthy courses of communities. This was amply echoed when the management of Vodafone presented cash donation and souvenirs worth GH¢25,000 to the Aburiman Traditional Council on October 2, this year, a week preceding the grand celebration of the Aburi Odwira Festival today.
The Eastern Regional Manager of Corporate Communications of Vodafone, Mr. Osei Afriyie, who deputized for the Head of Corporate Communication of Vodafone Ghana, Major Albert Don-Chebe at the ceremony at the Aburihene’s palace, said the management of the company had recognized that the best way to identify with Aburiman and other communities was through festivals, which was the only opportunity for the people to come together, take stock of their past and plan for the future and renew their family ties.
“Apart from the cultural and social significance of the sponsorship by Vodafone, it goes without mentioning that all companies commit resources to the people in order to demonstrate their corporate or brand names, logos and even signs, buildings and other promotional materials”, he stated.
Many corporate bodies see sponsorship of festivals and other community-based projects as a way to reach a self-selected audience hopefully interested in patronizing the company’s products or services, hence the decision to commit resources to better the lives of the people.
“It is in recognition of this corporate social responsibility that the management of Vodafone Ghana, after unveiling its brand in the country, has taken the decision to sponsor festivals, which form the bedrock of the social fabric of the people. It is, therefore, hoped that such sponsorship would enhance or improve patronage of brands or products of those corporate bodies”, Mr. Afriyie stated.
Research has also shown that a company which takes sponsorship seriously could be seen as looking into the future. Which is likely to produce business benefits in terms of cost, efficiencies and loyal customer base, which in times of competition, is essential for business to survive and thrive. “If corporate social responsibility is really a competitive advantage, then it is important for companies in the telecommunication industries in particular and all corporate bodies in general to take interest in CSR activities”, Mr. Afriyie told the Daily Graphic.
He added that his company had taken the lead in that commitment.
I recall that during the Vodafone presentation to the Aburi Traditional Council, the Krontihene of the area. Nana Kwafo Kraben II, commended the company for its support but called for a sustainable long-term partnership between Vodafone and the people to develop and transform the area into one of the best tourism attractions in the country.
He made particular reference to the Botanical Gardens, which, he said, could be developed to meet today’s tourism standard.
Apart from festivals and other communal celebrations, it is equally important that companies give attention to other useful areas such as the rehabilitation of schools, provision of health facilities, potable water facilities and computer and accessories to government community ICT libraries, as well as assisting brilliant, needy students in deprived communities.
In view of the above, it is important for companies to see sponsorship as an integral part of their businesses which would earn them the goodwill of communities and increase their returns.
Daily Graphic - page: 22 Saturday, October 10, 2009