The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, last Saturday joined a durbar of chiefs and people of Ntotroso in the Asutifi North District in the Brong Ahafo Region to climax the Apomasu Yam Festival with a call on traditional authorities in the country to preach peace as the 2016 polls drew near. Tradition was at its best with a colourful pageantry of custom and tradition which attracted sons and daughters of Ntotroso both home and abroad to witness the festival, marked biennially. It was on the theme: “Promoting, Empowering and Sustaining the Girl-Child Education, the role of Traditional Authorities.” Chiefs, riding in palanquins, and other guests who graced the occasion were gorgeously adorned with various royal regalia amid pomp and circumstance. They arrived at the durbar grounds dancing to the tunes of drum beats.
Significance of festival
The festival, which has been commemorated for more than 900 years, is used to pay homage to the Apomasu shrine and has people coming from far and near to seek favour. It is also used to reaffirm solidarity with the government, promote peace and plan for the development of the area.
Call to chiefs
Mr Amissah-Arthur asked traditional rulers to use their influence in their communities to make peace the central theme for disseminating information to their people to ensure a peaceful election. He commended the chiefs for initiating self-projects without the involvement of the government. The community established the Ntotroso College of Nursing two years ago and was later handed over to the government.
Mr Amissah-Arthur bemoaned a report from the Ghana Education Service that revealed a high rate of girl-child drop out from school which he partly attributed to early child marriages among girls. Touching on the theme, he entreated parents to desist from the practice of giving their children out in early marriage and rather channel their effort towards their education.
Earlier, while welcoming the Vice-President and other dignitaries to the durbar, the Omanhene of Ntotroso, Barima Twireku Ampem III, said the celebration of the festival provided the needed platform to retell their story, reunite, renew their commitment to hard work and reaffirm their support for nation-building. On education, he said the area cherished education because it was the engine of growth of a nation and that as traditional rulers “we will strive to support girls’ education financially and logistically with the portion of our royalties”. Barima Ampem stated that the traditional area would use its taboo systems to remove all threats that hampered the education of the girl-child and expressed willingness to partner the central government in its quest to make the girl-child education policy a success..
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Collins Dauda, the Minster of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Dr Henry Seidu Daannaa, the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Eric Opoku, and the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, were among the dignitaries in attendance. There were solidarity messages from Newmont Ghana Gold and the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs. The Vice-President donated assorted drinks and GHc15,000 to support the festival.