One hundred and sixty individuals who have rendered distinguished services to Ghana in various disciplines and endeavours have been given national awards at the maiden National Honours Awards ceremony held at the Accra, the national capital.
Thirty-one of them were privileged to receive the Order of the Star of Ghana (Member), while 85 received the Order of the Volta (Companion), with four receiving the Order of the Volta (Officer), and 40 the Grand Medal.
President J.A. Kufuor presented the awards to the recipients.
The ceremony attracted a large audience, including the Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, members of the Council of State and some members of the Diplomatic Corps.
The ceremony was spiced with spectacular cultural performances by the Ghana Dance Ensemble and a poetry recital by Prof Atukwei Okai, who delivered his four-day-old poem entitled, “The Black Stars Symphony: The Parable of the Kente”, in appreciation of the exploits of the Black Stars in the World Cup tournament in Germany.
The audience greeted the impressive performances with loud applause.
Although old age had caught up with some of the recipients, making it difficult for them to walk, their eagerness to be part of the ceremony carried them on, with the support of some aides.
Mr R.R. Amponsah, Dr Emmanuel Evans-Anfom, Major Seth Anthony and Ambassador Reginald Amonoo were all supported to pick their awards.
Others like Prof George Benneh, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, and Dzifa Glikpoe, an actress, also defied sickness to personally receive their awards.
Some of the recipients of the Order of the Star of Ghana (Member) award were the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes, Chief Justice, Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah, Chairman of the Council of State, Prof Daniel Adzei-Bekoe, Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, Mr J.H. Mensah, Their Eminence, Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson and Peter Cardinal Dery, the late Prof Albert Adu-Boahen, Mr B.J. da Rocha, Prof F.T. Sai, Mrs Gloria Nikoi and Prof Miranda Greenstreet.
The recipients of the Order of the Volta (Companion) included the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, Prof Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, an economist, Mr Kwame Pianim, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Prof Agyeman Badu Akosa, and an industrialist, Mr Asoma Banda.
Others were the Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Ms Joyce Aryee, a member of the Council of State, Mrs Gifty Affenyi-Dadzie, the Immediate Past President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Ms Ajoa Yeboa-Afari, Ms Joyce Asibey, Squadron Leader Millicent Melody, the first female pilot in Africa, a former Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Florence Dolphyne, and Lt Col Christine Debrah.
The Grand Medalists were mostly sports personalities, actors, actresses and musicians. They included Wilberforce Mfum, Ben Cofie, Margaret Simpson, Michael Ahey, D.K. Poison, Mohammed Polo, Ignatius Gaisah, Kwaw Ansah, Robert Owusu, David Dontoh and Kwaku Darko, popularly known as Super OD.
Others were C.K. Mann, Amakye Dede, A.B. Crentsil, Paapa Yankson, Jewel Ackah and Grace Omaboe.