The chiefs and people of Offinso in the Ashanti Region have launched this year’s Offinsoman "Mmoaninko" festival.
The launching ceremony, which was done last Saturday, served as a prelude to the celebration of the "Mmoaninko" festival, which is scheduled to be climaxed with a grand durbar on November 25, 2006.
"Mmoaninko" which is an adage for land, is a festival celebrated to commemorate the historical event that culminated in the people of Offinso acquiring their present land.
"Mmoaninko" was said to have come about when Nana Wiafe Akenten I asked the then Asantehene Nana Osei Tutu I to provide him with "Mmoaninko" (land) after the victory of the Asantes in their second war with the Dormaas.
The people of Offinso were said to have played a remarkable role in that victory. Nana Wiafe Akenten I, the then Offinsohene, in response to an offer by Nana Osei Tutu I to choose whatever he (the Offinsohene) wanted as a reward for the great contribution of the gallant and indomitable Offinso army to the victory over the Dormaas, wisely chose "Mmoaninko", which he interpreted as land.
In choosing that he explained that he could have chosen a war title, women as wives, or gold ornaments which would have exclusively been to his advantage or to the advantage of his immediate relatives, rather he asked the then Asantehene for a permanent reward that would be a legacy for all his subjects including those yet unborn.
The Offinsohene, Nana Wiafe Akenten III, and his elders instituted the festival in November 1995 to replace the “Mangyina” festival, to bring into focus the wisdom, bravery and military genius of the ancestors of the Offinsoman. .
To the people of Offinso, the offer of a land by the Asantehene had remained the most cherished reward and they always pride themselves with their heritage of forest lands and water bodies which have provided them with prosperous livelihood.
The festival would bring together all citizens of Offinsoman, both home and abroad, to formulate programmes to help accelerate the pace of development in the area.
Activities lined up for the festival include a clean-up exercise in the Offinso town and villages around it, special traditional rituals, inter-school quiz competition, special prayers by Muslims and Christians, a marathon race, a forum on education and health insurance, durbar of fetish priests, cycle race, soccer competition, a state dance and ‘Miss Mmoaninko’ contest, and a grand durbar to climax the celebration.
Addressing the launching ceremony, Hajia Ramatu Mahama, wife of the Vice-President, called for the celebration of festivals to be modified to incorporate issues which focused on the development of the people.
She said the celebration of festivals was significant, since the entire community was able to come together during such periods. She mentioned that such a period should therefore be used to strategise for development programmes to help uplift their societies.
Nana Wiafe Akenten III addedd that the "Mmoaninko" festival was celebrated to enable the younger generation to reckon what their forefathers had done, such as laying down their lives to secure lands for them. He said in this modern times, there were no physical wars to fight, rather they should fight for the education of children and human development.
Source: Daily Graphic
August 29, 2006. Page 24