Nana Akufo-Addo, Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, at the weekend took his peace and unity message to the Akuapem Ridge when he joined the chiefs and people of the area at a durbar held at Akropong to climax this year's Odwira festival.
This year"s celebration marked the 183rd unbroken anniversary of the festival since its inception in 1826 by the then Okuapemhene, Nana Addo Dankwa I. I
t was under the theme, "A Peaceful Environment is a Fulcrum for Growth and Development.'
Nana Akufo-Addo, a royal of the Akuapem State , who was named after the Akuapemhene, commended the chiefs and people for the successful, unbroken celebration of the festival since its introduction.
He attributed the undisturbed celebration of the festival to the unique peace and unity that had prevailed in the Okuapem State over the years.
He, therefore, urged the people to sustain the peace and unity in the area 'since they are indispensable ingredients for progress and development.'
Touching on the crucial December 7 general elections, the Presidential Candidate called for tolerance on the part of the leadership and rank and files of all political parties to ensure peaceful elections.
'We are all one people pursing a common agenda of moving our development agenda forward to bring about prosperity for all.
Elections are about expression of choice in terms of which political group majority of the people want to entrust with the management of the affairs of the nation.
The exercise should not generate any violence because elections are not about war,' Nana Akufo-Addo underscored.
The man who is widely tipped as the successor of President Kufuor also stressed the need for the citizenry to relegate their ethnic considerations to the background and rally together against the background 'of the fact that we are all one people with common aspirations.'Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa III, Okuapemhene, noted with satisfaction the relative peace being enjoyed in the country under the NPP government.
'This has facilitated the provision of many projects spread across the country in all sectors of the economy. The freedom of speech prevailing enhances our democracy,' Oseadeeyo added.
The renowned Okuapemhene also expressed his personal gratitude and that of the chiefs and people of his Traditional Area to Government for the massive development that had been carried out in their communities in respect of education, health, sanitation, roads and others.
He mentioned particularly the Adenta-Mamfe road 'which is regarded as one of the best highways in West Africa .'
He was also grateful to President Kufuor for the honour done his Traditional Area during this year's National Awards Day which saw over 10 citizens from the area decorated with various honours.
They included Nana Akufo-Addo, NPP Presidential Candidate, who was decorated with the Order of the Star of Ghana-Companion.
Other awardees were Dan Botwe, NPP Parliamentary Candidate of Okere constituency, Air Vice Marshal Julius Otchere Boateng, Mercy Bampo Addo, Minister of State at the Office of the President, Gifty Ama Asantewaa Aryeh, NPP National Treasurer, Kwaku Sakyi Addo of the BBC, Kwame Sefa Kayi, host of Peace FM's Kokuroko, and Amankwa Ampofo, veteran journalist and actor.
Touching on the December presidential and parliamentary elections, Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa appealed to members of the various political parties, especially the Presidential Candidates, to pursue peace at all times in their activities before, during and after the elections.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Kwadwo Affram Assiedu, who represented President Kufuor, made a passionate appeal to the Traditional Authorities to support all efforts by Government to ensure peaceful electioneering process ahead of the December elections.
'As Traditional Authorities who are in close touch with the people, it is expected that you will use every available opportunity to preach peace and build bridges among different factions, provide the District Electoral Task Force with all the support that is required to achieve the objective for which it has been set up and organise to sensitise the youth on good conduct and the need to eschew every form of violence,' Mr Affram added.