Thousands of dignitaries converged on Kyebi in the Eastern Region to celebrate 20years of Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin as Okyenhene of the people of Akyem Abuakwa.
The Ofori Panin Fie in Kyebi in the Abuakwa South Municipality which is the seat of the Okyenhene received dignitaries, including the president, former presidents, ministers, chiefs, MPs, diplomats, business people and a host of others.
President Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Dr. Bawumia, former President Rawlings, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye; NPP Chairman Freddie Blay, Chief of Staff Frema Opare, ambassadors and high commissioners and many others, including Ya-Na Mahama Abukari II, who was the guest of honour, were all treated to rich tradition and customs of the people of Akyem Abuakwa.
The Overlord of Dagbon State, Ya-Na Mahama Abukari II, in his delivery, called on the government to deepen the collaboration it has with traditional authorities for the development of the country.
According to him, modern governance arrangements seem to have robbed the traditional rulers of most of their powers although he said traditional rulers have a critical role to play in the mobilization of the people and partnering with the government to build the nation.
“Just as the government consults the Council of State mandatorily in certain cases, so should the National House of Chiefs be accorded similar recognition. Now that we have well educated traditional rulers, it's imperative for the government to access the express views of traditional rulers on matters of national interest besides Parliament,” the Ya-Na, who spoke through the Chief of Nanton, advised.
“As custodians of our traditional values and cultural norms, it's imperative for traditional rulers to uphold our fatherly responsibility for all and sundry. That is why we must, more than ever, shed our partisan political gabs and put on our caps of wisdom when it comes to controversial issues that could put the nation asunder.”
The Ya-Na Mahama also said it is imperative for traditional rulers to close their ranks to enable them to unite their people towards Ghana's ultimate goal of freedom and justice just as Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin did by inviting him to grace the occasion.
“Let's beware of the divisive political ploys by some politicians who seek to escalate inter-ethnic acrimony in the country, especially as we approach the electioneering year. This caution also goes to the youth who should be circumspect about their utterances and machinations of over ambitious politicians who are bent on furthering their political aspirations at all costs,” he added.
He then made two proposals for discussion, including the replacement of Council of State with a Senate or Upper House with membership of prominent chiefs, distinguished personalities with diverse backgrounds.
According to him, the said Senate would be the appointing authority for positions such as the Auditor General, Inspector General of Police and Chairperson and members of Electoral Commission, Vice Chancellors of State Universities and Executive Head of the National Media Commission.
He also called for an end to the prevailing politics of winner-takes-all, saying “I endorse the call by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and other Ghanaians who have called for the termination of our winner-takes-all politics. I humbly urge the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to appoint a presidential commission to look into these two proposals and make appropriate recommendations.”
He lauded the Okyenhene for a peaceful 20-year rule and also celebrated him for spearheading development in his area.
The Okyenhene dressed in a beautiful Kente cloth reiterated the need for parents not to undermine the education of their children and lauded the Free SHS policy which he said would bring hope to many people.
He also called for the need to deepen decentralization and also spoke passionately against environmental degradation, urging the public to embrace agriculture which he said was the future of the country.