Monday, May 7, 2007
President calls for peace in
Story: JOE OKYERE, Winneba
President John Agyekum Kufour has called for peace and unity among the chiefs and people of the Effutu Traditional Area for the sustenance and preservation of their cultural heritage and development.
Speaking at a durbar to climax the annual Aboakyir Festival of the chiefs and people of the traditional area at Winneba at the weekend, President Kufour underscored the need for unity and peace as prerequisites for investment and development.
The festival marks the migration of the people of Effutu from the ancient “Western Sudan Empire, led by two brothers and a god called Otu.
*Member of Tuafo Number One Asafo Company displaying the first catch for the day of the “Aboakyer” Festival for the Chiefs and the People of the Efutu Traditional Area at the burbar grounds last Saturday.
The Tuafo Number One Asafo Company made the only catch and sent it to the durbar grounds at 9:45 a.m., amidst the chanting of Asafo songs and wild jubilation, to wild applaud from the gathering.
The Dentsifo Number Two Asafo Company, which had earlier threatened a boycott of the festival, managed to send only a small group of its members to its hunting grounds, only to return when the Tuafo made its catch.
Despite the threat, which accounted for the heavy police presence within the Winneba Township, no breach of the peace was recorded.
President Kufour reminded the chiefs and people of the significance of the festival as a symbol of their cultural heritage and urged them to use it as a historical legacy for the preservation of their identity.
He, therefore, admonished them not to compromise on issues which would stifle or undermine the time-tested festival which they had been associated with.
President Kufour said the celebration of such festivals of historical and cultural significance which attracted tourists should be devoid of polities, chieftaincy disputes and all forms of litigation and advised the people to rally behind their chiefs on such occasions and use them as unifying factors to develop the area.
He said the government’s development efforts could only be sustained in an atmosphere of peace, adding that given the role played Winneba in the educational development of the country, the government would reciprocate the gesture to make the people proud of their contributions.
He said, for instance, that Winneba would benefit from a number of infrastructural facilities for the fishing industry, under a Norwegian government project, in addition to the provision of outboard motors for fishermen on credit basis through the banks and the regular supply of premix fuel at subsidized prices.
President Kufour said with the Kosoa-Yamoransa Highway completed, Winneba would soon be linked to the Accra metropolis, which was also extending to Nsawam as a result of the Ofankor-Nsawam Highway.
He advised the people to take advantage of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government’s introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and register to reap its benefits.
President Kufour donated ¢20 million, 10 crates of minerals, five cartons each of Schnapps towards the celebration of the festival.
In his welcoming address, the Effutu Oma Odefe, Neenyi Gyartey VII, commended the NPP government for the completion of the Kosoa – Yamoransa Highway, the inclusion of the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District in the beneficiary districts for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) programme and for the Muni Lagoon tourism project which he said would help improve the living conditions of the people in the area.
Neenyi Ghartey expressed regret at the behavior of some Asafo leaders who annually threatened bloodshed and mayhem during the celebration of the festival and appealed to the government to protect the festival from wanton media blemish which had a negative impact, since most tourists and other Ghanaians who used to throng Winneba during the festivals have decided not to do so.
He called on the people to eschew all divisive tendencies, recognize the virtues of the rule of law and resolve to embrace attempts at reconciliation and the attainment of peace.
Daily Graphic - Monday, May 7, 2007 Page: 16