Editorial: Indece Day celebration: Sophia Akuffo hit the nail right on the head but…

The immediate past Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, in a recent interview she granted to the media condemned the flamboyant style of celebrating Ghana’s Independence Day.

According to her, instead of marshalling state machinery to congregate in one region to celebrate the day, the state should rather use that money to construct a school and name it Independence Day School.

Though the former Chief Justice has of late become a pain in the neck of the government, one cannot discard the idea she has put forward, without subjecting it to critical analysis. As she noted, shifting the celebration from Accra to any of the regional capitals, comes at a great cost to the tax payer.

Indeed, if you look at the number of state vehicles that were moving from Accra to Ho almost on a daily basis prior to the yesterday’s celebration, one can conveniently say that the state invested a lot to ensure a successful celebration of the event.

Unfortunately, this huge investment is not directly going to benefit the country, at a time when the economy is on its knees, with the nation seeking support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

This is the reason why The Chronicle thinks Justice Sophia Akuffo hit the nail right on the head when she suggested that such huge investments should rather go into construction of schools to benefit the people.

For instance, Tanzania’s President Samia Hassan in December, last year, cancelled her country’s Independence Day celebration and directed that the event’s budget of $445,000 be used to build eight dormitories for children with special needs in primary schools around the country.

She said the unnecessary extravagance of the celebrations informed her decision to use the allocated budget to handle a more urgent project. Obviously, Justice Sophia Akuffo might be projecting a similar view, coming at the back of our economic crunch.

Much as we support the former Chief Justice’s idea, and Prof. Baffour Agyaman-Duah who also espouses a similar suggestion, we think they have failed to look at the other side of the coin.

Since Former President Kwame Nkrumah declared Ghana as an independent state, the national celebration has always been held in Accra.

Though Accra is our national capital, we do not think the state was being fair by centralising the national celebration, instead of giving the opportunity to other cities to also host the event. The decision to, therefore, rotate the national celebration, in our candid opinion, must be applauded instead of being condemned.

Another importance of the rotational national celebration is the economic activities that come to the host cities. The people in the Volta Region, especially the regional capital of Ho, will attest to the fact that there was economic boom before, during and after the celebration.

As noted by the Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, in the numerous interviews he granted the media, the national celebration afforded them the opportunity to advertise the tourism potentials of the Volta Region to the outside world.

We believe it is not only the Volta Region that has benefitted from this gesture, but all the previous hosts of the event had the opportunity to advertise their respective regions and their tourism potentials to the outside world. Apart from the boom in economic activities in the host region, the state also makes sure some of the infrastructure projects in the host region are completed.

In the case of the Volta Region, the Regional Youth Resource Centre, which construction has delayed for some time now was completed in a record time to host the Independence Day celebration. The dualisation of the Ho town roads and fixing of streets lights were equally completed in record time.

Though the regional Youth Resource Centre, the dualisation of roads and accompanying street lights are all ongoing projects, the state would have not squeezed water out of stone to complete them within a short period of time. This means the hosting of the event has really benefitted the people.

But, as we earlier noted, there is sense in Sophia Akuffo’s suggestion. However, if her idea of constructing a school is juxtaposed with the benefits Volta Region for instance has received, the latter, in our opinion, is more beneficial to the people than the former. The Chronicle nevertheless encourages her and other statesmen to keep on offering ideas or suggestions to the government for the betterment of our dear nation.


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