From Samuel Agbewode
The chiefs and people of Awudome Traditional Area in the Ho West District have showcased the rich culture and cherished values of the people at their annual yam festival celebration at Awudome-Tsito, where they also reaffirmed the unity and peace that has existed over the years.
The chiefs and people used this year’s yam festival to show love to other traditional areas, such as the Anum and Akrofo, and the chiefs and people of Kpele in the Republic of Togo, who were invited.
They joyfully participated in the festival, which saw thousands of people from all walks of life, witnessing and participating in the weeklong activities.
The activities included bicycle racing, football matches and health-walks among others at Awudome-Tsito, where this year’s festival was held.
It was characterised with the performance of various cultural drumming and dancing troupes, which demonstrated how the Awudome traditional area still preserved its culture practices, as being the solid foundation upon which the community was established.
The traditional area, according to records, is the biggest in the Ho West District, very peaceful, and is noted for communal spirit that led to the establishment of tertiary, secondary, and basic educational institutions, as well as the provision of water and other social amenities without waiting for the government’s largesse.
The beauty of the festival was seen among traditional rulers and the people, as the chiefs put on rich kente cloths amid displays by “Asafo” groups.
Some elders told this reporter that that Awudome was endowed with strong local “Asafo” groups, and the display meant that they were prepared to face any form of aggression.
At a grand durbar to climax the weeklong activities, the Minister for the Interior, Mr. Prosper Bani, who graced the occasion, commended the chiefs and people for the peace and unity prevailing in the area.
Mr. Bani assured Ghanaians that, as the country advanced towards the 2016 general elections, the security of the state was secure, saying the atmosphere of general elections does not in any way lead to conflict, and urged the electorate to conduct their activities in peace, before, during, and after the elections.
The Interior Minister, however, issued a strong warning advising people with the intention of using the election period to create confusion, to change their minds, and that it would be in their own interest, because the security agencies were ready to deal drastically with people who would take the law into their own hands to destabilise the peace.
He, therefore, asked the chiefs and people of Awudome to continue living in peace, and stressed the need for other traditional areas to emulate them, because peace was a pre-requisite for development.
Mr. Bani continued that the presence of the chiefs and people of Kpele in the Republic of Togo, the ancestral home of the people of Awudome, would not only build a strong bond between the two traditional areas, but also strengthen international relations between the two nations.
He said the government had executed a number of development projects in the area as, and pointed out that expansion works were ongoing at the Kpeve Water Works to extend potable water to communities in Awudome area and other parts to address the challenges the people faced in getting water.
The Minister pointed out that work on the eastern corridor road, and Awudome-Bame through Anfoeta-Dzolo- Kpuita to Kpedze, was ongoing, and when completed, would open up the region and Awudome to improved socioeconomic activities.
The Chief of Awudome-Tsito, Togbe Gobo Dake XII, said the celebration of the yam festival, which rotates from one community to the other, had led to the existing unity and peace among the people.
Togbe Gobo Dake pointed out that the theme for this year’s festival, “Our Youth, Our Future”, was crucial, as the youth were being prepared to take the challenges of the future, as well as become responsible adults.
The Awudome-Tsito Chief noted that apathy among the youth was one of the development problems confronting the area, saying conscious efforts were being made to guide the youth to enable them to lead responsible lives and cherish the culture values of the area.
He said the Awudome communities have, over the years, partnered governments in establishing educational institutions, provided potable water, health facilities and the provision of social amenities through communal labour.
He lamented that such self-help development activities were not enough to meet the needs of the people, and appealed to the government to support the area, particularly with the provision of water.
Togbe Gobo Dake pointed out that the Awudome Senior High School (AWUSCO) and Secondary Technical School, all at Awudome-Tsito, lacked access to potable water.
A development, he said, continued to affect teaching and learning, as students had to walk long distances to town in search of water, saying the problem was beyond the community, and called for assistance from the government.
The Chief also noted that AWUSCO and the Secondary Technical School lacked assembly halls and other infrastructure, which, he said, was affecting effective teaching and learning, and, as a matter of urgency, appealed to the government to intervene by providing infrastructure to aid teaching and learning.
The Paramount Chief of Kpele in the Republic of Togo, Togbe Gugu VI, lauded the unity and peace prevailing among the chiefs and people of Awudome, and urged chiefs in the two traditional areas in Ghana and Togo to regularly educate the youth on the rich culture values, adding that the sound relations between the two countries ought to be commended.
Pix 1: From (left) The Chief of Awudome-Tsito, Togbe Gobo Dake XII, and (right) the Mankralo of Awudome-Tsito, Togbe Danku
Pix 2: The “Asafo” Group of Awudome Traditional Area
Pix 3: Chiefs of Awudome Trad