ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE BRONG AHAFO REGIONAL MINISTER HON. KWUADWO NYAMEKYE-MARFO ON THE OCCASION OF GHANA’S 52TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY PARADE HELD AT THE JUBILEE PARK SUNYANI, ON FRIDAY, 6TH MARCH, 2009
MEMBERS OF THE DISTRICT SECURITY COMMITTE,
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION,
HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS,
TEACHERS, PUPILS AND STUDENTS,
VARIOUS VOLUNTARY AND NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS,
FRIENDS OF THE PRESS,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
Today marks the 52th anniversary cE’ Ghana’s independence. I therefore wish to welcome you all, on behalf of the Chiefs and people of this region, to this colourful parade which is taking place as part of activities marking this great occasion.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
The theme for today’s celebration is “UNITY AND PEACE: PILLARS OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT”.
On this historic occasion, it is fitting that we give thanks to God and remember with gratitude all those whose sacrifices, even at the cost of their lives, led to the achievement of our nationhood as well as those whose dedicated service, exemplary efforts and creativity have contributed to the progress we have so far made as a proud and united people.
Our journey through the past fifty-two years has not always been easy, but despite the obstacles and setbacks and despite -tke¬weaknesses, mistakes and short-comings, progress has been made. This is because, no matter the difficulties we may have faced along the way, the greater majority of the good people of this nation have risen to the challenges of nation building with determination and commitment. We have to remind ourselves that development can only take place within a peaceful and stable political and social environment. All the successes various governments have achieved and continue to achieve are the results of the peace, tranquillity and political stability, which we have established for ourselves.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Ghana has chosen democratic rule with its associated elections to elect our political leaders. Since 1992, we have had five Presidential and Parliamentary elections. In spite of the heated debates and acrimony during electioneering campaigns, all elections have ended peacefully. This has put Ghana in the limelight in world politics and there is no turning back.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all the people of the Brong Ahafo Region for theit various roles they played during the December 2008 elections and the peaceful manner voting was done in the region. It is indeed a victory for all of us and the country at large. On behalf of His Excellency the President, J.E.A. Mills, I wish to congratulate the people of the Brong Ahafo Region. AYEKOO!!!
With the dust settling on the 2008 December elections, all Ghanaians should come together as one people so that the peace needed for the rapid development of the country can be achieved. From the security briefs I have received, the region has been relatively peaceful and I urge the people in the region to sustain the peaceful environment we are enjoying.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, SCHOOL CHILDREN:
The reason why, for several years, we have made our children the centre piece of our Independence Celebration, is to nurture in the younger generation understanding and pride in our national heritage so that they may grow up to become patriotic citizens. It is also intended to prepare them for the responsibilities, which they, in their turn, will have to shoulder in the future and this we can do through the provision of appropriate and relevant education to our youth. For, we recognize that the greatest tool for development, given the basic conditions of peace and unity, is education. It is only when our children have access to relevant and quality education that the momentum of development will be enhanced and sustained.
INVITED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
The greatest asset of every nation is its youth because apart from being the future leaders, they constitute the majority of its workforce needed for economic development. However, the threat of HIV/AIDS to our youth is very alarming. Various statistics keep coming everyday on the extent of the infection in our region.
A total of 19,849 cumulative HIV/AIDS cases have been reported in the Region between 1986 and December 2008. 2,555 new HIV/AIDS infections were reported for the period January - December 2008 alone.
I therefore wish to use this forum to appeal to all the people of the Region not to be complacent about the existence of the HIV/AIDS virus. AIDS is real. We must therefore not allow ourselves to be infested with this deadly disease. This is a choice which we all have to make. So I want to make a special appeal to our Chiefs, Non-Governmental Organizations, Opinion Leaders, Teachers, Politicians and all those in any positions of influence to help create the awareness of the HIV/AIDS amongst our people as a basic step towards the fight against the scourge.
Another threat to the development of the youth in the region is the use of illicit drugs. Drug addiction is becoming widespread in the region and the increasing crime rate is related to it. Chiefs, parents, church and moslem leaders and teachers should be at the fore front of the fight against drug abuse in the youth. My advice to all school children in the region is that they should not yield to peer pressure in this regard. If they want to rise up on the education ladder, they must shun the company of friends who indulge in drug abuse and be courageous to report them to their teachers and parents.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Permit me to market the investment potentials of the region to potential investors. The Brong ahafo region has great potential for investment in agriculture, mining, small and medium scale industries and tourism which are yet to be fully exploited. What the region needs most is value addition to its numerous resources as well as development of its tourist potentials to attract both domestic and foreign tourists.
These socio - economic benefits underscore the need to develop a vibrant and sustainable tourism industry in the Region. Fortunately,the Region has a variety of tourist attractions which include the Bui and Digya National Parks, the Boabeng/ Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, the Kintampo/Fuller and Chridi Water Falls and festivals such as Kwafie and Apoo, which are associated with colourful durbars of our Chiefs and which reflect the rich cultural heritage of Brong Ahafo. All these areas, coupled with the warm hospitality of our people make them potential and favourable areas of investments.
Tourism has recently emerged as one of the most important and fast growing industries in the global economy. Its substantial economic benefits include generating foreign exchange, offering employment and enriching our ecology and culture.
Potential investors in these areas of our economy could be sure of maximum personal security and security for their investments as the Regional Co-ordinating Council would provide the necessary enabling environment for them to get the maximum returns on their investments.
NANANOM, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
For the information of the people of the region, Brong Ahafo will be 50 years April this year. It was created two years after Ghana attained independence. Plans are afoot to celebrate a fitting Golden Jubilee of the region.
I urge all Brong Ahafo citizens, both home and abroad, to participate fully in the celebrations.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Finally to our dear children, let me say that we want you to achieve a bright future as responsible adults and prosperous citizens.
We as adults, have a responsibility to provide you with the opportunity to achieve this. But you too, have the responsibility to use your time wisely and well. Study, develop creative and inquiring minds, and learn to respect the truth, commitment and integrity and also find time for healthy enjoyment and realization as well as community service. This is the formative time of your life, which will determine your path into the future.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
In conclusion, let us all on this 52nd anniversary re-dedicate ourselves to our nation. Together in peace and unity, we can achieve national development and prosperity, which we wish to hand over to future generations.
I commend the personnel of the security services, teachers, school children and the various groups, associations and individuals for the smart turn out for today’s event.
I wish you all a happy Independence Day Anniversary.
Thank you and May God Bless You all.