It was virtually a clash of products and service banners in Ho on Saturday, as chiefs and people of Asogli, countless other chiefs and revelers gathered to crown their 2013 Yam Festival, with a mammoth durbar.
The celebration also marked the 10th Anniversary of the installation of Togbe Afede XIV as the Agbogbome Fia of the Asogli State, comprising four traditional setups, Akoefe, Ho, Kpenoe and Takla.
The event under the theme: “Traditional Leadership and Development Redefined” also attracted patrons from the Republics of Togo and Benin.
President John Dramani Mahama, who was Guest of Honour, said chieftaincy was no longer pomp, pageantry and opulence but intrinsically linked with development.
“You are a symbol of that development,” he stated, referring to Togbe Afede.
President Mahama said much as government had the responsibility to transform the lives and dignity of the people, the citizenry also had the responsibility to support government to achieve the development targets.
He said under a Chinese Development Bank loan, government would construct two landing sites in the Volta Region and complete the eastern corridor road.
The President said government in collaboration with the Japanese government would under the Yen loan Portfolio also construct a new bridge on the Lower Volta River.
He said government would also build a new interchange at the Tema roundabout to ease congestion in the area.
President Mahama said government would construct the Sogakope Water Project to supply potable water to the Volta Region and to parts of southern Togo.
He said government would also upgrade the Ho Regional Hospital into a teaching hospital that would serve as a training and research centre.
He also directed the Ministry of Finance to pay the counterpart funding for all Self Help Electricity Projects throughout the country in order to ensure that 80 percent of Ghanaians enjoy electricity by 2016.
President Mahama condemned land and chieftaincy disputes that had bedeviled the country over the years and appealed to the people to unite for rapid socio-economic development.
Togbe Afede XIV, the Agbomofia of the Asogli State, said development was a shared responsibility and appealed to government to bring together all the stakeholders of development to brainstorm on the way forward.
He commended President Mahama for inviting the political leadership of Togo to the programme.
The Agbomofia appealed to chiefs of the region to educate the people and help eliminate negative traditions that inhibit development and promote the positive ones.
“Some reform will be necessary if the institution of chieftaincy is to facilitate development and I want to ask that we uphold and respect traditional practices and customs that inspire us” He said.
Togbe Afede paid homage to those, both alive and dead, who took the decision to make him king, pledging never to relent on the path of progress he had been treading.
“I knew that many people desired to be selected by the kingmakers, and were saddened the mantle fell on the unwilling James Akpo (currently Togbe Afede).
“I acknowledge them and thank them because their interest underscored the importance of the great Asogli Paramount Stool. “I invite them to come along so we can make the Stool even greater.
“All citizens have a role to play in the unfolding history of Ho Asogli,” the venerated chief stated.
Some chiefs from Togo
There were fraternal greetings from President Faure Gnassingbe, President of Togo, Togbe Agorkorli IV, chief of the Ewes in Togo, who led a 100-member delegation from that country and a representative of the Asantehene.
There was noticeable presence of Chinese at the grounds, reflecting the developing business ties between Togbe Afede, as a Business Executive and China.
The Volta Region also has a development pact with China’s Ningxia Autonomous Province.
As the durbar ended, the skies darkened and rain poured down for about 45 minutes pushing the celebration, with loud music and choked drinking bars deeper into the night.
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