Accra, Oct 27 GNA - The Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Wednesday inaugurated the Local Organising Committee for the African Cup of Nations (CAN) 2008 and challenged the members to organise a successful competition devoid of controversies and corruption especially in the award and execution of contracts.
The 13-member Local Organising Committee under the chairmanship of Dr Kofi Amoah replaces the CAN 2008 Bid Committee that successfully won the right for Ghana to organise and host the CAN 2008 football competition.
Alhaji Mahama said the LOC is expected to work diligently to meet the deadlines and requirements of CAF to avoid the embarrassment and expensive venture of rushing through contracts and projects at the eleventh hour.
He also advised the members of the LOC not to engage either directly or indirectly in any business or professional activities that would be in conflict with the roles assigned them so as to avoid conflict of interest.
The Vice President said that: "This is a national affair which requires the support and goodwill of all Ghanaians, both at home and abroad and on behalf of the Government I pledge our full support and urge all stakeholders to give their individual and collective backing to this worthy cause".
"Given the experience, expertise and resourcefulness of the members, I believe Ghana can depend on you to successfully organise and host the tournament", he to told the Committee members.
Alhaji Mahama said the various sub-committees to be formed for security, marketing, sponsorship, transportation, accommodation, protocol and international relations among others are to report to the LOC while an oversight committee will supervise the activities of the LOC to ensure that its terms of reference are followed.
Mr Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports called on the LOC to be re-focussed on getting Ghana qualify for the World Cup.
He urged members to work hard to meet the deadline, adding that so far 16 companies have submitted proposals for the construction of new stadiums at Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale plus the rehabilitation of the Accra and Kumasi stadiums.
Dr Amoah said the nation's desire to use the tournament as a catalyst to invest in Sports infrastructure and development is therefore in the right direction and must be applauded and supported by all stakeholders.
He said the LOC would infuse the lessons learnt at the Bid Committee, where an effective collaboration and trust between the private and public sectors helped tremendously in achieving the needed result.
Dr Amoah suggested that for the Committee to achieve results it was necessary that the budget needed to do the work is made available as soon as possible if they are to meet an already tight schedule of building the two new stadia and refurbishment of the Accra and Kumasi stadiums.
The Chairman said the Committee would need the support and partnership of the media, political and business leaders as well as traditional authorities in the host venues as well as the entire citizenry since "this is an exercise to showcase our nation to the world and to put it in the possible light".
Dr Amoah said, "this opportunity should be ceased to usher us into the needed renaissance that shall give birth to that shining and clean new Ghana, ready to take its place in the 21st century and urged landlords to paint their buildings while kiosks should be redesigned and repositioned and discarded vehicles and items removed from the road sides.
The Vice President was presented with an award as the patron of the Bid Committee while the Members of the Bid Committee were also presented with plagues.