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13.10.2008 Regional News

Okyehene celebrates 9th anniversary

By The Statesman

A grand durbar was organised at the Ofori Panin Fie at Kyebi on Friday to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the enthronement of Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II as King of Akyem Abuakwa. 

It was marked with entertainment, excitement and joy as 26 beauty queens in Ghana for the Exquisite Faces of the Universe beauty contest took to the floor to dance to tunes of fontonfrom music for the first time. 

This was after Nana Asante Bediatuo, a lawyer and sub chief of Akyem Abuakwa, and others had expertly displayed the cultural dance to the admiration of all gathered at the palace.  The Okyeman choir was not left out.

The beauty queens were Miss Malaysia, Nigeria, Spain, Paraguay, USA, Argentina, China, South Africa, Wales, England, Georgia, Russia, Morocco, and Miss Accra, Ghana.  The rest were Miss Cote d'Ivoire, Venezuela, Ireland, Liberia, Scotland, Zambia, Kenya, Germany, Lebanon, Jamaica and Kazakhstan. 

They formed part of 50 beauty queens expected in country for the contest.  Also present was Joshua Clottey, the newly crowned world Welter Weight boxing champion.  He presented his belt to Okyenhene.

Addressing the gathering, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin declared that Okyeman and for that matter Ghana has a lot to show in the areas of culture and tradition. 

He said his nine year rule has been "very exciting" and his main focus has been human centered, saying that he has been committed to children's education, the welfare of the vulnerable and above all the sustainability of the environment which was at the heart of his fore-fathers, reminding the celebrants that he was only following in the footsteps of his forefathers, who had made laws towards the protection of the forest belt to enhance rainfall and agriculture. 

On child education, he said every child, irrespective of his or her background should have access to good education to enhance his or her potential, declaring that the world has now become a place for intellectuals.

The Okyenhene noted that children would get access to better education only when people who are supposed to push them are selfless and are willing to do so. His dream, he said, was that every child should wake up every day full of hope. 

The Okyenhene expressed concern about the death toll of children in Africa and said such death can be prevented when African leaders put their heads together and ensure that Africa became a developed continent.

Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin called for women empowerment, saying that the world cannot be full and total if women are not empowered. He also touched on violence which has bedeviled the world and its attendant use of the gun. He pleaded, 'we should all talk to our leaders to stop using the gun to destroy the world'.

In a welcome address, Nana Asante Bediatuo, Apagyahene of Akyem Abuakwa outlined the achievements of Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin and said, he has been a symbol of hope for many children, not only in Akyem Abuakwa but other parts of the country.

He said the Okyehene has set up a scheme to enhance children's education and also instituted a children's festival during which children who excel are honoured.

Nana Asante Bediatuo said the Okyenhene has also set up the Okyeman Environmental Foundation to provide proper protection for the environment. Among others, the Okyehene has also demonstrated his commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS by undergoing the test after organising a marathon race to mark World AIDS day.

Evelyn Addy-Sackey, international president of Exquisite Face of the Universe pointed out that Africa has been put in a bad light for far too long, and it required a concerted effort of all stakeholders to show the continent's true face.

She thanked Okyehene for the opportunity to showcase Africa's diverse culture to other citizens of the world. The Lebanon beauty queen, Rima Fakih described Africa as a beautiful continent which has history and a story to tell the world. She expressed her gratitude to Okyehene for the invitation, saying that what they have witnessed was a true reflection of what goes on in Ghana and indeed Africa.

Miss Tanzania, Maria Namiiro, also said Okyeman has a unique culture, adding, 'we know Ghana has been put on the world map due to the display of her rich culture.'