Kumasi celebration bore the mark of a great leader
Ebo Quansah in Accra
Auntie Araba Esuon owns a provisions store at Odorkor in Accra. She has been running the shop for the past 15 years, having re-located from Amosima, near Cape Coast in the Central Region, some 20 years ago.
Five years ago, she tried to enroll her son at the Aggrey Memorial Zion Senior Secondary School, which, incidentally, is situated on Amosima lands. After receiving the prospectus and scrutinising the contents, the cost of the items, as well as boarding and lodging fees, was way over the family budget.
In the end, she had to enroll the son in a private institution. When Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo came, promising free second cycle education, she was not really impressed. But the cost of getting her son in school convinced her to throw in the dice with the leader of the New Patriotic Party at the last election.
“I had really not been too enthused about politics in this country. I saw a bit of the Rawlings military regime. I was also around when the Provisional National Defence Council junta gave way to constitutional government. Rawlings and his old guards were still in charge. For me, nothing really changed. It was the same arbitrariness without much in it for the ordinary Ghanaian.”
Auntie Araba says she began setting up as a shopkeeper in the Kufuor regime, when it was possible to raise capital in the bank to trade, “I was getting by as a single parent. But when my own Fanti President and his NDC (President John Evans Atta Mills and the National Democratic Congress) took office, things did not go smooth for me. The Mahama regime was a nightmare with its Dum-so and serious economic hardship. I nearly gave up and returned home. Somehow, I persevered.”
The woman says she had not really bothered about voting until she saw Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on television campaigning and explaining his concept of the free SHS, how he intended to end Dum-so and breathe life into the economy.
“I voted for Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP, and I have never regretted. Two years ago, my daughter entered a prestigious Senior High School in the Eastern Region. I did not pay one cedi. The Free Senior High School Nana Addo promised is not an election gimmick after all. It is there for all to see. The economy is doing really well. Food is abundant. For me, it is a near miracle. We are used to food shortages at the lean season. Now, there is no shortage, even in the lean season,” Auntie Araba asserts.
“You don’t need to ask me how I am going to vote in 2020. I am rooting for ‘Four More For Nana.” Those who say they do not need a new voters’ register are welcome to boycott the vote. For me, I am a very happy Ghanaian.
Our friend the shopkeeper says the Independence Day spectacle in Kumasi should register on all Ghanaians that Nana Addo belongs to a different breed of Ghanaian politicians. He promises and delivers, she says.
“Since the Declaration of Independence on March 6, 1957, the celebration has always been in Accra. Nana decided to move it around the country for the people of the various regions to have a feel of the celebration. Last year, we thought it was grand when it was celebrated in Tamale. But the Kumasi show on Friday was a spectacle.
“There was Otumfuo, the Asantehene, resplendent in his rich kente cloth with his wife. The Guest of Honour, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, did very well wearing the kente cloth. Kumasi and the people of Ashanti Region took their celebration as if it was a special event for their people. The colour and every other thing made the event spectacular. It takes a man with vision to conceive the idea of rotating the national event. I hope and pray that the next event takes place at Cape Coast, near my village. I will be there in person.”
This is the view of someone who merely watched the independence anniversary on television. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Kumasi independence anniversary celebration on Friday has impacted positively on the entire people of Ghana. It was certainly one of the grandest celebrations ever.
The President sampled the atmosphere and asked Ghanaians to be grateful to the Almighty God for how far He has brought us. The Christian Methodist would sing ‘Ebenezer.’
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo asked the people to rejoice while working to achieve our goal of economic emancipation. We lament, rightly so, the infrastructure deficit that plagues all sectors of our lives and the considerable number of our people who still live in poverty. But if truth be told, we have solid reason to rejoice and be thankful to the Almighty, for this is a blessed nation.
The head of state’s invitation to speak was interrupted briefly by a number of young school girls who used the traditional talking drums to ram home their delight with the free second cycle education. The presentation sought to suggest that many mothers would love tie the President on their backs. The import is that the President has aided education in a manner very few leaders in this country have ever attempted, to the extent that mothers are delighted.
On an election year, the Head of State had a few words of warning for those beating war drums on the sidelines. “2020 is an election year, and we will debate as usual, but such debates should not lead to bloodshed.”
He said the past peaceful nature of elections has boosted Ghana’s image abroad and everything ought to be dome to defend that image.
Dr. Christopher Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, was the Guest of Honour. He drew loud cheers from the capacity crowd
When he rose to speak, resplendent in a gorgeous kente cloth, he was cheered wildly by the enthusiastic crowd. He commended Ghana for being the first nation in Sub-Saharan Africa to throw-off the colonial yoke. He called for more collaboration between Ghana and his country.
The significance of Friday’s spectacle in Kumasi was not the speeches per se, though they were significant. What stole the show was the colour; how the people embraced the occasion, and the significance of the unifying message the event transmitted. The people of Kumasi, and the Ashanti Region generally, adopted the Independence Day event as a great cultural heritage. The kente cloth was on display everywhere in the Ashanti Regional capital.
The 40,000 capacity Baba Yara Stadium was filled to the brim by joyous Ghanaians, who milked the independence parade for all that it entailed. The national colours of red, gold green, with the Black Star in the middle, dominated all activities of the day.
Kumasi put its best foot forward to receive visitors from all over the country and beyond. It is quite a shame that the leader of the National Democratic Congress, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, chose to absent himself from the colourful occasion.
Television cameras zoomed in on the solitary empty seat by the side of Gentle Giant, John Agyekum Kufuor. Mr. Mahama is seeking to return to Government House after messing up our lives for four solid years.
However, he has decided against conventional wisdom and avoided two key state events within the past fortnight. Last time round, at the time the whole nation’s attention was focused on the President’s State of the Nation Address in Parliament House, Mr. Mahama spurned the invitation extended to him by the state and chose to campaign for votes in the North-West Region.
I am hearing ridiculous excuses from the ‘Kwasia Bi Nti’ command of the party Jerry John Rawlings founded that the fear of voodoo is what prompted the former head of state from excusing himself from the Kumasi spectacle.
In such a situation it is very difficult to point to the exact source of the excuse, but whatever it is, it gives a clear indication that the man most Ghanaians are beginning to label as ‘Government Official One’ is running away from his own shadows.
Unless, he comes out to tell the nation what he knows about the circumstances leading to the bribery of key officials of Ghana by Airbus SE, at the time he sat as Head of State of this Republic, he would continue to excuse himself from key state events.
What this would ultimately transfer into is that by the time the people of Ghana begin to form queues to determine the man most suited to lead this nation in January 2021, John 3:16 would have faded from the memory of the ordinary Ghanaian. Unusual events breed unusual troubles.
Kumasi though, will remain the talking point for the way the city played host to the 63rd Anniversary celebration of the independence of this country. Oseikrom is the name. Many are those looking forward to the next host of our Independence Day commemoration. For me, the grand celebration bore all the hall-marks of a great leader.
Forward with Ghana!
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