GaDangmes from around the world gathered in New York, NY for the 7th annual GaDangme International (GDI) summit on Memorial Day weekend (May 25th through May 28th, 2007).
Delegates and member organizations from Atlanta, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Delaware, Washington/California, North Carolina, Amsterdam (Holland) and Ghana were present.
Mr. Isaac Nortey of New York, the moderator, introduced Adelaide Sackeyfio of New York who gave the exhortation and welcomed participants. She later blessed the occasion with the opening prayers.
Nii Akushey, Wulomo of New Jersey performed a masterful libation.
The president of the GDI, Mr. Lance Amoo of Southern California and Seattle was introduced. Mr. Amo said GaDangmes from around the world have come to the summit because they care for the welfare of fellow GaDangmes. He gave a general report on the achievements of the GDI within the last year and called on GaDangmes to stay the course.
Hon. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism & Diasporan Affairs
Jake recounted the significant roles played by GaDangmes to Ghana's independence and development (three of the Big Six were GaDangmes). He said GaDangmes are the most hospitable people in the world. Jake said GaDangmes brought Dr. Nkrumah to Ghana and urged GaDangmes to be active in all the political parties. He wondered why GaDangmes are generally discouraged from politics. He said GaDangmes have turned their backs on the NPP, a party they helped to start. “If you don't get into politics, you will be ruled by fools” Jake stated. He said GaDangmes, who were once the intelligentsia have now sunk into irrelevance; He called for a solid GaDangme middle class to help reverse this unfortunate trend.
He said GaDangmes are divided everywhere; in Ghana and abroad. He cited the divisions brought about by the installations of a Ga and Gbese Mantse. He also questioned the need to have two GDI summits on the same date. He urged unity among GaDangmes if they are to make any progress.
Jake, who announced at the summit that he is seeking his party's nomination for the president of Ghana in the 2008 general elections said GaDangmes are sitting on the most valuable real estate in Ghana and yet poor. He stated that the destruction of Makola Market and the construction of the Tema Harbor eroded the wealth base of GaDangmes.
He said the King Tackie Tawiah Memorial Market and other projects might help GaDangmes.
He mentioned the deplorable and hopeless conditions in James Town where some sleep on the streets and 12 year-olds having babies.
Ghana's economy is not at pace with its population, Jake said. He said the last 20 years have been characterized by bad governance.
Hon. Mr. Joseph Emmanuel Allotey-Pappoe
Mr. Allotey –Pappoe thanked the GDI for their support during the Late Ga Mantse's funeral in Accra. He paid glowing tribute to Dr. K.B. Asante, president of the GaDangme Council in Accra. He said K.B. Asante, whose father is a Kwahu and the mother from Otublohun continues to lead the Council ably. K.B. Asante made sure the Redevelopment Plans for Accra was in the interest of GaDangmes, Mr. Allotey-Pappoe reported. He outlined the objectives of the GaDangme Council, and said the Council is for all GaDangmes. He said the Gadangme Council is dedicated to promoting GaDangme unity and heritage of their common ancestry. He said since Gas form about 8% of Ghana's population, at has always been necessary to form alliances with others. He said this “Ablekuma” policy is a strategy. He asked GaDangmes to adopt a strategy to deal with their numerous challenges. He also stated the unique contributions of GaDangmes to Ghana's developments
Mr. Allotey-Pappoe said most GaDangme history is not recorded, and stated that before Yaa Asantewaa, there was Dode Akaibi
Mr. Allotey-Pappoe called for the creation of an “Assembly of GaDangme Chiefs” Such a body would comprise of the youth and the chiefs, among others. He said the Ga Traditional Council (GTC) is a government creation and that the Ga Mantse stool is not a paramountcy .
On education he said most GaDangmes are financially handicapped, affecting the education of their children and called for the formation of a “GaDangme Education Trust” He decried the practice of sending GaDangme teachers outside the Gadangme area, thereby creating shortages of GaDangme teachers .Ga is the first indigenous written language in Ghana, he said; He called for efforts and funds to teach and write Ga and Dangme languages. He suggested the reprinting of old GaDangme books such as “Adotey Shalen Kome”
He said the division within the GDI is of major concern in Accra and pledged to lead the unity efforts. He called for a unity summit as soon as possible.
Dr. Benjamin Dodoo, New York
Dr. Dodoo urged GaDangmes to dig into their own history to learn more about themselves. He called for just compensation for GaDangme lands and a special tax for people coming to Accra. Such a tax, he suggested could be used to build GaDangme schools. He said the Ga and Dangme language was even spoken during biblical times and GaDangmes have a unique culture.
Dr. Dodoo said the contribution of GaDangmes in sports, especially boxing is unequalled in Africa! He mentioned that Bukom alone has produced more boxing champions than anywhere in Africa.
Dr. Dodoo estimated about one million people speak Ga and Dangme in Ghana.
Dr. Dodoo, whose power point presentation chronicled the history and contributions of GaDangmes called for funding for such projects.
Nene Asture Benta III, Mankralo, Prampram
Nene Benta, who spoke on the topic “Chieftaincy in Modern Ghana” said the institution of chieftaincy have served not only as the centerpiece for mobilizing people for communal development but also the effective link between the people and the central administration.
The Mankralo admitted that such a link has become contentious and at times tenuous over the years due largely to the progressive erosion of the power base of chiefs upon the introduction of modern structures of government. He said various governments from colonial to civilian to military have one way or the other tried to influence the role of chiefs in political affairs.
The Mankralo said the institution of chieftaincy in Ghana is under threat of many succession disputes being caused by unscrupulous characters who are non-royals but because of wealth, and sometimes their political connections influence kingmakers to nominate them as chiefs. This, they do by circumventing tradition and custom which have decreed who qualifies as a chief and thereby creating tension in some communities.
The situation in Ga Traditional Area where after the death and burial of the late Ga Mantse Nii Amugi II, two ruling houses or more are contesting for the vacant position and the least said about it the better, he concluded.
The Mankralo also called for unity among GaDangmes.
Naa Aforkor Omaedro II
Naa Aforkor Omaedro II, Katamanso -Ta Manye called for unity among GaDangmes and cautioned against using the internet to insult our chiefs.
She called for tolerance and respect for our chiefs.
Nii Martey Kwao
Nii Martey Kwao, a Progress and Development chief of Prampram announced the construction of a health center in Prampram. This health center, according to Nii Martey Kwao has an emergency ward and an ambulance and is 90% complete.
He called for support for the project and also urged unity among GaDangmes.
Nii Kwao is an event producer and a member of the GaDangme Association of Georgia.
Dr. James Ocansey
Dr. Ocansey, president of West African Caustic Soda and Salt Industries Ltd. (WACSSIL) invited all to invest in his company.
WACSSIL was incorporated in Ghana in 2002 and has acquired a large piece of land (247.6 acres) at the Akplabanya area near the Songor Lagoon.. The project hopes to generate 128,000 metric tons of salt per year, with an estimated annual cash profit of $3.019 million USD; requiring a capital input $6.0 million. The project is also expected to generate over 1000 jobs.
The company is completing requirements for a mining license to legalize the shares. 1% of an annual profit of $2,000,000 a year is $20,000 when the company is in full production. For this promotion, a share is presently being offered for $500.00.
Nii Yartey (GFM Radio)
Nii Yartey talked about how he has been able to reach out to GaDangmes all over the world through his weekly radio broadcast on GFM Radio. He said both GFM Radio and Obonu FM are not GaDangme owned and called on GaDangmes to establish their own radio stations.
Nii Yartey wondered why the people of Ada are that impoverished despite their salt resources.
Nii Yartey also called for unity among GaDangmes everywhere; He said GaDangme MP's are not even united
Solidarity from other GaDangme Associations
Solidarity statements and greetings were received from GaDangme associations worldwide, including the Accra Unity Association in New York, GaDangme Heritage, Ada Okorbi Association of New York,GaDangme associations of Holland, North Carolina, Tennessee,
GDI NOW A GLOBAL ORGANIZATION
The GDI amended its constitution to open membership to not only GaDangme associations in North America, but to GaDangme associations worldwide.
Thereafter, the GaDangme Association of Amsterdam, Holland joined.
At the end of the presentations, the GDI resolved to:
• Pursue unity with the GDI Alliance
The GDI also reaffirmed earlier resolutions namely:
• The GDI Called for the immediate halt to the practice and policy of sending GaDangme teachers to other regions. The GDI believes this practice creates artificial shortage of GaDangme teachers in the Greater Accra Region, making it possible to teach other languages in schools in the Greater Accra Region.
• The GDI expressed concern about non-indigenes representing GaDangmes in the GaDangme region. It asked the Government and Parliament to address this issue.
• “Service Center” at the Old Accra Beach to service and repair broken outboard motors to serve the fishing community.
• Continue to upgrade its adopted schools:
(a) Christ The King Of Kings, by the Jamestown Beach
(b) Happy Days Academy in the Otublohun district
(C) Jewish Preparatory School in James Town.
2008 Summit Host
North Carolina will host the next summit in May 2008
According to the constitution, elections were held and the following were elected to a two-year term:
President: Reginald Nii Ofei Darko – New Jersey
Vice President: Edward Nii Amah Mettle – New Jersey
Executive Secretary: Reuben Nii Oto Darku – Atlanta
Assist. Executive Secretary: Torto- Morgan – Holland
Treasurer: Nii Okai Am-Quaye – Holland
Financial Secretary: Stanley Lokko – New York
Public Relations Officer: Fred Huffman – Philadelphia/Delaware
Assist. Public Relations Officer: Delia Okai-Agbozo – North Carolina
The summit was broadcast live worldwide on GFM Radio.