Ghanaians in the UK joined their compatriots in celebrating the 48th Anniversary of Ghana's Independence. Key events for the occasion included church services, seminars on Ghana, family gatherings and dances. Complementing these events was a reception organised by the Ghana High Commission to mark the day and other events outside the London Metropolis at which the High Commissioner and his representatives delivered addresses.
The national day reception attracted members of the Diplomatic Corps, representatives of the Ghanaian Community Associations, opinion leaders, chiefs, the clergy and friends of Ghana.
High profile dignitaries who graced the occasion included Hon. Paul Boateng, British Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Gabrah, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, Mr. Kwame Sarpong, Chief Executive, COCOBOD and a number of African and European Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to the United Kingdom.
The City and Islington Sixth Form College was the venue for a Ghana Day celebration organised by Master Michael Austin Nana Osie, team leader of the Ghanaian Sixth form students in collaboration with Mr. John Eyles, Deputy Director of the College. The event, attended by over 30 Ghanaian sixth form students and their friends from other African countries, was interspersed with poetry recitals, drumming and dancing.
Speaking at the function, H.E. Mr. Osei briefed them on the significance of independence and current developments at home. He urged the students to take advantage of educational opportunities in the UK to improve upon themselves and admonished them to concentrate on their studies and avoid the temptation of getting hooked to drug addiction and other anti social vices.
As part of the celebration, the Ghanaian Seventh Day Adventist Churches in the UK held a day of Fellowship under the theme- “ONE THING I DO”. Participating in the fellowship which was attended by over 2,000 members were Pastor Stephen Mckenzie, the main preacher, Dr. Ebenezer O. Sackey, (SDA, South East), Pastor George Adadey, (Slough and South West ), Pastor Fergus Owusu Boateng, SDA-(London, Ghana ) and Dr. Emmanuel Osei, (SDA, London Ghana). Speaking at the service, High Commissioner Osei praised them for keeping faith with God. He said they should always respect the laws of the UK and comport themselves as worthy Ambassadors of the country. Prayers were said for the President H.E Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor and the entire nation.
At Milton Keynes, the High Commissioner attended a spotlight show on Ghana organised by Campbell Park Parish Council and the area's Racial Equality Council The show attracted a cross-section of the community including Councillors Isabelle Frazer and Tom Frazer, Ms Navrita Atwal, Director, Milton Keynes Racial Equality Council and Ricky Okute, Chairman of the Ghanaian Association,
Vividly displayed at the venue were cultural artefacts of Ghana, posters and fliers on investment and tourism.
Ms Atwal praised Ghanaians for the positive contributions to the growth of Milton Keynes. She also commended members of Ghanaian Community Association, who, she said, had helped to forge beneficial relationships with other communities.
Two certificates of Achievement were presented to two Ghanaian residents in the area by the Milton Keynes Racial Equality Council and the Campbell Park Parish Council for their contributions to the growth of the Ghanaian community and Milton Keynes. They are Mr. George Selormey and Mr. Isaac Fiscian-Blay, who arrived in Milton Keynes in the 1950s.
In his address at the well-attended event, co-ordinated by Rev. Charles Buckman, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Milton Racial Equality Council and Mr. Kankam Boadu, Vice Chairman of the African Association in Milton Keynes, Mr. Osei praised the founding fathers of the nation for their immense contributions which culminated in the attainment of Independence in 1957 and added that the present generation should continue to remember those gallant heroes in their prayers. He said Ghanaians should use the anniversary to reflect on the past and to think about what contributions they could make to national development effort.
High Commissioner Osei talked about developments in Ghana since independence to date and pointed out that Ghanaians had now come to accept democracy as the only legitimate means of ensuring orderly and sustained developments in the country.
He also spoke on the need of Ghanaians to hold fast to the country's traditional values – respect for others and consideration for other people's views -and help impart those values to the younger generation.
In keynote addresses delivered by Mr Adolphus Arthur, Deputy High Commissioner and Mr. Morgan Brown, Head of Chancery on behalf of the High Commissioner, at two events organised in Birmingham and Manchester, Mr. Osei said that Ghana had come a long way and made a lot of progress in the difficult task of nation building. He said Ghana had not only distinguished itself as a nation of peace and stability in the West African sub-region but had proved its commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
High Commissioner Osei said despite these successes, there was the need for Ghanaians to work harder to reduce the level of poverty, disease and illiteracy.
He declared, “At 48, Ghana has matured as a nation. Let us work together ensure the deepening of our democratic culture as it gives us the true freedom for which our forefathers fought and died”
The climax of the eventful week of celebration was the Evensong held at the Westminster Abbey at which H.E. Mr Isaac Osei read the second lesson. Present were representatives of Ghanaian community Associations, Chiefs, the Clergy and members of staff of the Mission.
The Very Revd Dr. Wesley Carr, Deanery of Westminster Abbey, offered prayers for the President, the Cabinet and the people of Ghana.
In a brief remark after the Church Service, Mr. Osei urged Ghanaians to continue to honour those who toiled and even lost their lives to the cause of freedom for our country. He said Ghanaians must continue to offer their knowledge, money, expertise and experience to mother Ghana so that the future would be brighter for their children and grandchildren.
He urged all Ghanaians to support “the new generation of leaders under President Kufuor who have shown a commitment to good governance which is the basis for growth and prosperity”.