HOST: GADANGME FOUNDATION OF METROPOLITAN CHICAGO DATE: MAY 28-30,2004 Participating States & Cities: 1) Atlanta 2) Canada 3) Chicago 4) Minnesota 5) Philadelphia 6) New York 7) New Jersey 8) Ohio Dallas could not attend but indicated their support. In attendance: a) His Royal Highness, NII LANTEY OKUNKA BLEBODJAN Ga-Manste, of Chicago and metro Area b) Her Royal Highness, NAA ADORKOR ODEHE DZAMFI (Ga Sempe Sowutuom Manye), Accra Ghana.
c) Her Royal Highness, NAA KORKULU-ONANENIE OMAEDRO II (Empress of Nungua Adjin We and Katamanso, Accra and The Nubian Organization of New York)
d) Ghana Nurses Association of Chicago.
e) National Council Of African Women: Represented by Ms. Patricia Beck.
f) City Bank Insurance: Represented by Ms. Marsha Newman.
f) Joe De Archiso Ocloo of Ramblers International fame.
Fellow GaDangmes, on behalf of the newly elected executive body of Gadangme International, I extend our warmest regards to you and ask that God and our ancestors bless us all, especially in our endeavor to rebuild the image of Gadangme people.
Let me at this point introduce myself to you. My name is Mrs. Patience Nunoo, the interim Public Relations Officer (PRO) of GaDangme International and the assistant secretary of Gadangme Foundation of Chicago. I have been actively involved in various GaDangme activities here in Chicago and honored to be given the opportunity to serve you in this capacity and to be part of this august body.
The conference was a great success with between 50-60 individuals representing various states. Deliberations started with a prayer by Mrs. Emelia Coker and a powerful and must see libation from Her Royal Highness, Naa Korkulu-Onanenie Omaedro II Mr. Sonny Mills, the president of GD foundation (Chicago), delivered the welcome address The keynote speaker for the occasion was Dr. Samuel Quartey of Philadelphia.
Mr. Obuadaban Botchway, outgoing president of GDI, delivered the president's address and introduced the theme for the occasion which was…
“GaDangme See Gbe Dzi Gbe”… “Putting the Pieces Together”
DELIBERATIONS: There were three main addresses and reports on topics ranging from chieftaincy, land, youth and culture, health education to fundraising. Since both the addresses and reports centered around the same topics and for the purpose of clarity and simplicity the presentation here would be combined as indicated below.
GADANGME VISION: The various speeches and the discussions all alluded to the nobility of our vision and the course we have under taken to ensure that the GD flag is raised high and with pride once again. Participants were admonished to work together in our desire to reach the “promised land”
CHIEFTANCY: The need for modernization of the Institution to accommodate our aspirations could not be over emphasized. There was the call to show more respect for our chiefs' and instill dignity into our “adopted” system of governance
LAND: The need to rewrite new “Land Laws” in the GaDangme (GD) regions to replace old and obsolete practices, which do not work in our favor.
HEALTH/EDUCATION: In place of the original report health /education committee the GaDangme Foundation of Chicago reported on a successful venture it was involved in. Working in partnership with the Trinity United Church Of Christ (TUCC) in Chicago, plans are well advanced to set up a Clinic and Vocational/Computer school in Katamanso and La.
At the time of the conference, different types of drugs relevant to the Ghanaian health needs and books were being sent to the GD region.
The group also recommended the establishment of a “Board of Education” that would work with GDI, in our effort to promote GD culture-based schools in Ghana.
The conference was also informed that some schools had been earmarked for special projects with Library facilities, FUNDRAISING: The conference noted with disappointment the failure of the fundraising committee over the past years but established that it is probably the most important committee as far as GDI is concerned. Members therefore resolved to reconstitute the committee with powerful, highly committed and well connected individuals in our drive to raise at least 1 million dollars worldwide in the near future.
Anyememei, I deliberately combined the various presentations but would like to single out one which, to me, goes to the essence of our activities and the basis for these conferences.
The presentation in question was the delegates' response from Oko Tetteh. The issues about helping GaDangme's, be it health, education, land, chieftaincy, have been talked about for years if not well documented. For GDI to be able to achieve these laudable goals, however, there is the need for representatives to take steps to move the activities of the organization to a higher level. He lamented the fact that the organization has been “reborn” four times since the first Atlanta conference and stressed that this conference cannot represent a fifth rebirth of GDI but rather advancement to a higher and more proactive level. Unity, not divisive tendencies are the key to getting to the “promise land.”
Religions and inspirational songs like, “Ke taa le naa wa tutu, ka shee' no gbeyei kwala… and “Ka she' gbee yee , shi mli keboyoo….” punctuated this and other presentations.
Please sing along with me as you continue to read the report for I can tell you all, the atmosphere at the conference radiated LOVE, was electric and reminiscent of a typical GD function in which The Holy Ghost/the spirits of our ancestors/departed ones had all descended on our people. We sang our hearts out as we cried for positive action. The consensus was to leave behind the negative tendencies that had retarded our progress and to start a more positive approach to reaching our goals. Each one of us is to watch his/her neighbor's backs. Going this route will not only ensure success in our attempt to continue what our forbearers started many years ago but would also, one day, make us truly international. An organization in which GD faction all over the world would converge as one body working for the common good of all GaDangmes.
ELECTIONS After serious deliberations among representatives, it was agreed to elect a caretaker executive body once again. The basis of this decision was the fact that the constitution had not been completed and ratified by member organizations, and that officers elected at this time will have no binding responsibility to the association (i.e. cannot be sworn in by our constitution). Representatives therefore resolve as follow:
a) To appoint an interim executive body to run the organization for a period of one year.
b) The newly appointed executive body was charged with the responsibility of completing the constitution (presented by the Houston conference) and have it ratified within three months from the date of the Chicago conference.
c) All participating states including those who were unable to attend for various reasons, and other states that wish to be part of the process, would be provided with a copy of the constitution to enable them to make corrections/additions etc.
d) Such corrections/additions must be returned to the executive secretary for compilation and further deliberations within a period to be specified by the interim executive body.
e) Once completed, all interested parties must sign the appropriate sections of the constitution and return them to the executive secretary.
f) Response from a simple majority of state that received copies of the constitution shall be considered sufficient for ratification.
g) The Executive secretary shall communicate the ratification of the constitution to all involved in the process. Based on this agreement, the interim executive was elected as indicated below.
1. Dr. Samuel F. Quartey (Philadelphia) President 2. Ms. Sarah Mills-Okaikoi (New York) Vice President 3. Mr. Eugene Kotey (Toronto) Executive Secretary 4. Mrs. Emelia Coker (Chicago) Asst. Executive Secretary 5. Mrs. Rosemond Agyeman (Chicago) Treasurer 6. Mr. George Amartey (Toronto) Financial Secretary 7. Mrs. Patience Nunoo (Chicago) Public Relations Officer 8. Mr. Sonny Mills (Chicago) Asst PRO COMMITTEES: The committees were also reconstituted and charged with gathering information and advising/assisting the interim executive on the best ways to achieve our goals. They are:
A) Land committee C) Health and education committee
B) Chieftaincy committee D) Fundraising
1. LAND DONATIOIN:
Her Royal Highness, Naa Adorkor Odehe Dzamfi (Ga Sempe Sowutuom Manye) Accra Ghana, donated a piece of land at Koklobitey to GDI for our health/education projects. What do we say to her????
Naa Adorkor Odehe Dzamfi, Oyi wala Don!!!!!!!!!
2. BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING: We may have saved a life!!!!!! Anyemenei, the blood pressure screening arranged as part of activities for the conference certainly yielded positive results. The program not only created the awareness for all GaDangmes to be conscious of their health needs but also was able to detect an exceedingly high blood pressure level in one of the participants. We are, however, happy to announce that after four days in the hospital our member is back and as healthy as a fiddle. Let's give thanks to the Lord.
3. VIDEO TAPE OF CONFERENCE: The video recording of our deliberations would be available for sale soon. All GaDangmes are encouraged to get a copy to assist our fund raising effort. It also covered the “powerful and must see libation from Her Royal Highness, Naa Korkulu-Onanenie Omaedro II”
On behalf of the Interim executive of GDI, I take this opportunity to thank all of you who help in one way or other for your immense contribution and support for making this year's conference a big success. We are aware of the discussion that went on the various internet forums and would like to thank every one for taking the time to make their opinions heard. As the GaDangme adage goes. “Gbe Dje Lo Enaa Esee (pardon my Ga once again).
All we would like to say at this time is……….
……..“Nye Yi Wala Don”
Mrs. Patience Nunoo. (Interim PRO [GDI] & Event Coordinator [GDFC])