Accra, Oct. 29, GNA - Akuafo Hall, the second hall of residence of the University of Ghana, Legon on Saturday organized a grand durbar to climax activities of its Golden Jubilee celebration in Accra. Akuafo Hall, opened in October 1955 was named after the farmers of Ghana in recognition of their monetary contributions towards the founding of the University and the Hall had in the past, on annual basis hosted the national Chief Farmers of Ghana as its distinguished guests. The Hall, which has produced thousands of illustrious men and women, had also made it a policy to host the National Award Winners every November or December, since the institution of the national Best Farmers Award.
Dr Cephas N. Omenyo, the Hall Master said in further demonstration of their appreciation, the Hall had inducted some of the National Best Farmers, as Honorary Fellows of the Hall.
He said by this, "our farmers will be counted among heads of states, selected successful entrepreneurs, Supreme Court Judges and some of the finest academics in the country".
Dr Omenyo said half of a century of the life of an institution; Akuafo Hall had a very rich and positive history to tell both its new and future residents.
He announced that close to one billion cedis had so far been spent on a massive renovation of the main hall in their efforts to maintain what they had inherited from their forebears.
"The Hall Council is also in the process of constructing a 200 capacity car park for Fellows, students and guests of the hall. Efforts are being made to beautify the surroundings of the hall to recapture its past glory as a Hall of Choice," he added.
He said they embark on these projects, conscious of the immense sacrifice of the gallant farmers and the investment made by government and the Alumni Association, and the least they could do in appreciation was to maintain what legacy they had passed down to them.
Mr Alex Banful, President, Akuafo Hall Alumni Association said although the association was involved in the improvement of water supply in the hall, as well as some structural refurbishment over the last few years, there was still more to be done to make the Hall comfortable and enviable, as some of them had enjoyed during their stay in the university.
He said the overcrowded conditions in the Hall was putting a strain on the sanitary facilities and despite the improvement on the water situation, the sheer weight of the numbers makes the current system unable to cope.
Mr Banful said it was imperative that alumni step in to help remedy the current situation otherwise, "we will risk having the hall getting captured in the first 50 year capsule, instead of the next fifty".
He announced that the Alumni would revisit a project of constructing an extension to the E block with a battery of bathrooms and toilets to ease the current pressure on the existing system. The Alumni would launch a fund raising campaign, which would include both Alumni and Corporate Ghana to achieve the realization of the project.
Prof. Kwesi Yankah, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University stressed the need for students to respect the cultural values and allow these values to permeate through their lives on campus.
He said the durbar was very significant because it generated a sense of fellow feeling and nationalism due to its uniqueness and urged all hall members to join hands in future celebrations. He said the overcrowding situation in all the halls was so that one could only dread of an outbreak of infectious disease and called for an urgent need to address the accommodation problems to avoid disaster in future.
Prof Yankah urged the students to sow seeds of nationalism, dedication and selflessness, as the forebears whose self-dedication had led to the founding of Akuafo Hall. He also advised them to avoid making unnecessary noise, which normally associated with the celebration of hall weeks and also find way to accommodate other hall mates around them.
Master Franklin Nana Addai, Junior Common Room President, appealed to the Alumni to support the library to enhance learning and research work on campus.
He called on both students and Alumni to make a promise to forge in unity and solidarity in redefining their commitment and concerns for the hall.
Nana Kwame Amranor Tanor I, and Efua Abena Mensah Poku I, the new Chief Farmer and Queenmother of the hall were installed to take up the mantle for the 2005/2006 academic year.
They took over from Nana Kwesi Kankam Boadu and Doreen Dawordze Hornam.
Nana Boadu said the recognition of traditional council was a living testimony of unity among Akuafo residents. He congratulated Royal Aluminum Systems for donating 15,000 dollars to the council to refurbish its library and urged the public and corporate bodies to support education in general.
Nana Boadu also urged his colleagues to give maximum support to the newly installed Chief to sustain the tradition.
Nana Tanor I congratulated all those, who in diverse ways supported the council in realizing the celebration of a successful golden jubilee and urged all farmers (hall mates) to show empathy, which he said was their greatest enemy the exit to ensure the sustainability of their culture.
Some old Professors, Administration staff, Alumni and current staff received certificates for their immense contributions and support.