THE Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo has stated that the decision to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the region is to rekindle the sense of unity and tenacity of purpose among citizens.
That, he said, could propel the socio-economic development of the region to greater heights to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of the people.
The regional minister, therefore, urged citizens of the region to use the celebration to portray the investment potential of the region in relation to agricultural production and tourism, where the region possessed great strengths and comparative advantage.
Mr Nyamekye-Marfo said this when he presented a paper on the topic: “The essence of the 50th anniversary celebration of the creation of the Brong Ahafo Region” at the congress of Brong Ahafo citizens at the Sunyani Polytechnic Auditorium.
The congress which formed part of activities to mark the anniversary on the broader theme: “Brong Ahafo @50: Achievements, challenges and prospects,” was to promote the common culture of the people, bring them together as a united front, and create the opportunity for citizens to renew their commitment to the ideals and vision of the region.
Mr Nyamekye-Marfo further stated that the decision to celebrate the Golden Jubilee received an overwhelming regional acclamation and enthusiastic support as expected of any epic event of that nature which was also based on the intrinsic and inherent benefits to be derived from it.
“It is hoped that, the celebration would be used to reverberate the original vision and aspirations of the founding fathers of the region, so that we can rekindle the self-confidence and the spirit of self-reliance as a people to take our destiny into our own hands,” he stressed.
Mr Nyamekye-Marfo expressed the hope that citizens of the region would used the celebration to epitomise the aspiration of the Government, whose overriding policies centred on social development, active public-private sector engagement, human resource development and good governance.
He said the chronology of events depicted that the creation of the region stemmed out of the sustained agitation mounted by some prominent and gallant chiefs in the earnest quest for self-determination of the Brong Ahafo people in the wake of alleged neglect, discrimination and deprivation.
Mr Nyamekye-Marfo said the unyielding stand-off by the determined chiefs, eventually led to the creation of the region by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory, on April 4, 1959.
According to the regional minister, some of the celebrated chiefs who agitated for the creation of the region were the late Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III of Techiman, Osagyefo Oseadeayo Nana (Dr) Agyeman Badu of Dormaa, Nana Bosea Gyinantwi of Drobo, Nana Yaw Frimpong of Kukuom, Nana Fosu Gyeabour of Bechem and Nana Kwasi Apraku of Odumasi Number One.
“It is very important to state that, these chiefs had to sacrifice their personal liberties and lives to secure for us an independent region whose benefits we are enjoying today. We, therefore, owe them invaluable gratitude and there is the need to give them the right recognition and reward on the 50th birthday of the region, for, it is said that, a nation that does not honour its heroes is not worth dying for,” he stated.
Mr Nyamekye-Marfo said, “It is, therefore, appropriate to celebrate this day and pay befitting tribute to the lives and bravery of our gallant chiefs who fought to achieve autonomy and self-determination for us”, he added.
Mr James Boateng, the Managing Director of Cadbury Ghana Limited and a citizen of the region, said as it was the Government’s vision of making the country an agribusiness economy in the medium-term, Brong Ahafo stood to benefit since the region was most advantaged in those sectors.
He spoke on the topic: “ Branding Brong Ahafo as an investment destination in Ghana: The role of agriculture and agribusiness investment”.
Mr Boateng said, “It is, therefore, critical to design strategies to attract more agricultural and agribusiness or agricultural processing and marketing investment to help address some of the underdevelopment challenges of the region.
“So for us in Brong Ahafo, it is not optional but imperative or a necessity to brand our region well to attract the expected investments,” he said.
Mr Boateng, therefore, called on the leaders of the region to take up the branding of the region as an investment destination for agriculture and agribusiness seriously, because it was a key pillar which could propel the region’s development agenda forward.
Nana (Prof.) Agyewodin Adu Gyamfi Ampem, the Omanhene of Acheresua Traditional Area, who spoke on the topic: “50 Years as a region: Lessons, challenges and achievements,” stated that Brong Ahafo as a region was a microcosm of Ghana as the agitation for political change and social reforms were similar.
He stated that without the creation of the region, there would not have been any meaningful development, adding that the creation had done a lot of good and called for unity among citizens to move the region forward.
Other speakers at the congress were Dr Mrs Lucy Acheampong, an educationist and a lecturer at the Catholic University College of Ghana, Fiapre and Rev. Monsignor Dr George Kwame Kumi, the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Sunyani who spoke on the topics: “Achieving quality education in Brong Ahafo :The way forward” and “Championing tolerance and peaceful co-existence in Brong Ahafo: The role of the chieftaincy institution and the youth”, respectively.
Osahene Kwaku Aterkyi, the President of the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs and Omanhene of Kukuom Traditional Area, who chaired the function, urged citizens of the region to use the anniversary as a rallying point for unity and to seek its socio-economic advancement.