The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has called on Chiefs and other traditional authorities to complement Government’s efforts to protect the environment and keep our surroundings, especially rivers and other water bodies clean, and useful to humanity.
Speaking at this year’s edition of the Ohum Festival of the Chiefs and people of Akyem Abuakwa at Kyebi in the Eastern Region on Saturday 25th June 2022, Vice President Bawumia said it is the duty of the present generation to uphold and defend the ancient tradition of keeping the environment clean and healthy for posterity and generations yet unborn.
Historically, the Akyems have used the Ohum festival to thank the almighty for blessing their land with the Birim River. During this period the sons and daughters of Okyeman use products from the lands and the river as symbols to remember the ancestors who struggled and persevered in keeping the society intact and further give pledges to continue the tradition and to keep the kingdom strong and free with prosperity and peace during the festival.
However, the present state of the river and many other water bodies in the country leave much to be desired, Dr Bawumia bemoaned.
“Nananom, Ladies, and Gentlemen, as we pledge this day to continue the tradition of our ancestors in keeping our environment safe and clean we should reflect on the current sorry state of the Birim River, the pride of Okyeman. Today in Ghana, our rivers are polluted with alarming carelessness. It is either we have farmed or built so close to the river banks, callously polluted the rivers with activities of galamsey, or encroached the river path for human settlement. These activities expose the waters to all forms of pollution.
“To overcome this canker of environmental degradation and pollution requires the commitment of everyone, including the government. In times past communal labour and volunteerism were effective avenues used by Nananom and local authorities to deal with the issues of filth in our neighborhoods. This noble initiative and activity however seem to be lost on us these days. I implore Nananom to work collaboratively with the local administrative authorities to rekindle that communal spirit to help deal with filth in our societies” he urged.
“Government”, the Vice President pledged, “will continue to pursue efforts such as Operation Vanguard to affirm our commitment to protect the environment and water bodies. We will continuously need the support of Nananom and the people of Ghana in this pursuit in order to rid our environments of filth.”
Underscoring the importance of a strong and efficient human resource base to the development of any nation, Dr. Bawumia said the Akufo-Addo administration would continue to invest heavily not just in literacy and numeracy, but in science and skills training and acquisition for Ghana’s youth.
“The Government of President Akufo-Addo is convinced that the success of Ghana and, indeed any community depends largely on the quality of her human resources. It is for this reason that, in addition to free SHS and free TVET Government has not relented in its effort to provide facilities at the basic, secondary and tertiary levels to ensure that every Ghanaian has access to quality and affordable education.
“I may not need to mention the recent inauguration of the University of Engineering and Agricultural Sciences occasioned by the vision of H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. It is a tribute to the commitment of this government to improve science education with the enlightened cooperation of all Nananom and Traditional Institutions.”
While urging the nation to abide by the Covid 19 safety protocols in light of the recent rise in cases, the Okyehene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, called on sons and daughters of Okyeman to remember their roots and give back to their communities, in whichever form they can.
“When you go out there and succeed, don’t make a difference just where you are; come back home and make a difference too. It should not be the sole duty of the Government to develop our nation. You can support your alma mater with infrastructure or equipment; you can support your church, village or town in diverse ways. In whatever you do, make a positive difference.”