President John Dramani Mahama on Friday took shine out of this year’s Odwira celebrated by the chiefs and people of Akropong-Akuapem in the Eastern region when he delayed the start of the programme for about four hours.
All the prominent chiefs, including the Omanhene of Akuapem Traditional Area and guests, sat for several hours due to the late arrival of the President.
The flagbearer of New Patriotic Party (NPP), the largest opposition party, Nana Akufo-Addo, who hails from the area and has always been gracing the festival every year, was there with his delegation but they were all made to sit in the scorching sun for long hours for the arrival of the President.
Most chiefs were seen grumbling with the MC, who intermittently pleaded with the chiefs and elders and other invited guests to exercise patience since he had been informed that the President would arrive soon.
When he finally arrived at about 3.40pm, which was the planned time for the end of the programme, he told the chiefs and elders that he had unduly delayed the programme because he initially told his vice, Amissah-Arthur to represent him as a result of the extremely tight schedule for the day but later changed his mind to show his respect to the people of the area.
He therefore asked the chiefs and elders as well as invited guests to forgive him for making them sit for such a long time.
He also apologized profusely to the NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo after exchanging pleasantries with him.
The durbar almost turned into political durbar with party supporters as well as some residents thronging the grounds in party paraphernalia while the immediate environs saw sea of posters of the president and the NPP flagbearer.
NPP paraphernalia dominated the ground, with a motley of NDC supporters also displaying their party colours.
Even though the MC did not officially introduce the NPP flagbearer, when the Omanhene and the President mentioned his name in their speeches deafening cheers from the ground greeted him.
Interestingly, the NDC supporters greeted every notable comment of the president with the slogan ‘Ide bee Keke’ while NPP supporters also responded ‘Yebedii keke’.
The president, in his speech, commented on the controversial creation of 45 new constituencies by the Electoral Commission, saying Ghanaians must allow constitutional bodies to do their rightful work.
Parliament would ensure that the right is done and if there are any misgivings, the courts are there for redress, he said.
He reiterated his call for peaceful electioneering campaign and elections and asked Ghanaians to completely reject people with violent tendencies.
“We are a peaceful people and I believe these elections will be done in a peaceful manner to consolidate our democratic credentials,” he said
He called on the youth not to allow themselves to be used by politicians for their selfish ends.The Omanhene Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwah III, in a speech read on his behalf, asked Ghanaians to co-exist and show love to each other.
He called for peaceful elections and asked the EC to ensure successful conduct of the December general elections. The theme for the celebration was “Peace, Love and Unity-The Role of the Youth.”