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GHANA @ 62: TAMALE WELCOMES GHANA TO HISTORIC INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS

General News

The people of Tamale have given a rousing welcome to the President, Vice-President, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice and a host of other government officials to show their appreciation for bringing what they describe as a historic moment to the North.

The people of Tamale have given a rousing welcome to the President, Vice-President, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice and a host of other government officials to show their appreciation for bringing what they describe as a historic moment to the North.

President Akufo-Addo is in Tamale to address Ghana’s 62nd national Independence Day celebrations, which are taking place at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium.

The theme for this year’s Independence Day is “Celebrating Peace and Unity”. The guest of honour for the occasion is President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger (pictured).

Among the first senior guests to arrive at the event were Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye and his wife, Alberta, all resplendent in northern fabrics.

Gateway to the north

The Overlord of Dagbon, Ya Naa Abukari Mahama II, is gracing the occasion, together with all the chiefs of Dagbon. The Overlord of Mamprugu, Nayiri Mahami Bohugu Sheriga, and the Yagbonwura, Tuntumba Boresa I, are also in attendance.

Earlier this week the Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Saeed, told the Daily Statesman that the chiefs and people are delighted with the President’s decision to bring the national celebrations to Tamale, gateway to the five regions of northern Ghana.

“People are very happy,” he said. “Businesses are being empowered because a lot of visitors are trooping into the city. As I talk to you now, our hotels are fully booked.”

Peace for development

The fundamental reason for taking the ceremony to Tamale is to send a signal to the rest of the world that the Northern Region is peaceful and ready for business, Mr Saeed said.

“Aside from that, it is to send a signal to the people in Dagbon and the Northern Region that if there is peace, there is development.”

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu told Joy News that the celebrations in Tamale are a mark of recognition for Ghana's security, stability and growing culture of democracy.

He however decried what he described as attempts to rewrite history by removing Republic Day (July 1) from the list of public holidays and introducing Founders Day on 4 August to acknowledge the contribution to Ghana's history by other independence pioneers.

Investment opportunity

Mr Salifu Saeed told the Daily Statesman that for him one of the great highlights of today is the coming together of all the paramount chiefs in the Northern Region, in a great display of tradition, unity and pride in Dagomba culture.

The long-running chieftaincy dispute in Dagbang (Dagombaland), which reached its lowest point with the murder of Ya Naa Yakubu Andani in 2002, concluded in November last year with the agreement of the rival Abudu and Andani royal clans to a roadmap to peace.

The dispute between the competing gates dates back centuries and took a political colouring in the early 1960s with the government of the day promoting the rise to the Dagbon skin of a favoured candidate.

Nayiri Mahami Bohugu Sheriga and the Yagbonwura, together with Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, played a crucial role in the negotiation of the new peace.

“We thank the people of Dagbon for putting the past behind them and supporting the eminent chiefs and security, and ensuring that there is peace in Dagbon,” the Regional Minister said.

He encouraged visitors from other parts of Ghana to use the chance to look around and invest in the region.

Red, gold and green

People in Dagbon have expressed their appreciation for the efforts the government has made to bring the national ceremonies for Independence Day to them in North.

“We are coming out not as Abudus or Andani, NPP or NDC, but as people of Dagbon who want to show our appreciation to President Akufo-Addo,” one resident of Dagbon said.

“For the first time in the history of Ghana, we are celebrating 6 March outside Accra . . .

“The good thing is that we have a Ya Naa and we are going to witness this historic independence celebration again. We thank Nana Addo.”

Vantage points in the Tamale metropolis have been decorated with the national colours to add to the beauty of the event.