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09.05.2004 General News

Traditional Council expresses displeasure about reportage on Aboakyer

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Winneba, May 9, GNA - The Effutu Traditional Council on Thursday expressed its displeasure about the reportage on the recent Aboakyer festival of the chiefs and people of the area.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency at Winneba, the President of the Council and Omanhene, Neenyi Ghartey VII, expressed concern about the way some news media houses, especially "TV Africa" reported events that took place at Winneba on Saturday, May 1.

"We are not too happy about the way and manner 'TV Africa' projected the whole event by screening only the police personnel who provided security during the occasion as if there was a war at Winneba, which the police came to avert," leaving the best part of the festival virtually unscreened.

Neenyi Ghartey said the two Asafo companies, which conducted the hunting expedition during Aboakyer periods became bitter rivals on such occasions because the festival automatically revived the competitive spirit among members of the two warrior groups looking at the nature of the festival.

"This does not mean that the people are at war," he explained, adding that this phenomenon had been with the two Asafo groups for centuries, and stressed that the Aboakyer festival of the Effutu could not be equated with any other festival in the country.

He said the Aboakyer festival had won international recognition and called on the media to use their medium of communication to assist the Effutu Traditional Council to project the good side of the festival in order to attract more tourists into the country annually.

This, Neenyi Ghartey said would increase the country's annual turnover in her foreign exchange earnings to improve the economy. He said any negative projection of the festival on the Internet would scare away tourists planning to patronise the festival in subsequent years.

Neenyi Ghartey pointed out that unlike the "Akwambo, Ohum, Odwira, Kundun, Akwasideakese and other traditional festivals celebrated by various ethnic groups in the country, the Aboakyer durbar is deferent in nature and character.

He explained that in the case of the Aboakyer durbar as soon as a catch was brought to the durbar grounds for the Omanhene to step on it as custom demanded, majority of the people who attend the festival, particularly the indigenous Effutus, normally followed the Asafo company, which brought in the first catch to the centre of the town where the animal would be placed for sometime.

After that it would be sent to the fetish grove for the final rituals to be performed by the chief priests and priestesses of the traditional set up.

Neenyi Ghartey, however, announced plans to modify the system in the ensuing years to make the event more entertaining, particularly at the durbar grounds.

He expressed the traditional council's deepest appreciation to both local and foreign dignitaries and all organisations and establishments through whose diverse contributions the festival was made successful. Neenyi Ghartey expressed the hope that editors of the various print and electronic media houses would take the traditional council's criticism in good faith and assist in making the Aboakyer festival highly lucrative in terms of foreign patronage to fetch the nation adequate foreign exchange in the coming years.

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