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The beauty of a crowd of Ghanaianspdf print preview print preview
14/07/2008Page 1 of 1
By Lucy Adoma Yeboah

On Thursday July 3, 2008 Ghanaians from all walks of life thronged the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) to either receive a national award or witness the ceremony where more than 200 distinguished Ghanaian men and women were honoured.

Notwithstanding the fact that the programme was scheduled to start at 10.00am., I like many other enthusiastic members of the public, got to AICC around order to catch every bit of the show and I did not regret getting there early at all. Though I had no breakfast before leaving for the programme, I got satisfied just looking at so many beautiful Ghanaians.

The scene was splendid. No wonder a colleague of mine, Daniel Nkrumah reported in the Daily Graphic the next day that “in spite of the controversy surrounding the selection of nominees, this year’s National Honour Award recorded impressive patronage as hundreds of Ghanaians turned up at the Accra International Conference Centre for the ceremony.

“The conference centre was packed throughout the ceremony and some guests had to scramble for seats, while others had no option but to stand through the programme”.

The crowd was very impressive since it comprised the very old, the old, the young and the very young who assembled either to cheer on the award winners or have a glimpse of some of them for the first time.

Among the distinguished personalities who are not often seen in public these days but personally went to receive their awards were Mr. Justice Kingsley Nyinah and Mrs. Alberta Ollenu.

It was a showpiece of colour style and traditional regalia as distinguished guests from diverse walks of life and various nationalities graced the occasion.

Like many other state functions, Kente stole the show and let me quickly add that the kind of Kente people wore on that day, was not the kind we usually see at other functions. Those were the best of Kente beautifully woven to into unique symbols. A casual look at some of them without touching was enough to inform one that he or she would need to contract a master weaver to weave at a special cost

T here was one particular Kente with the designs of the porcupine; another one with designs of stools and umbrellas and also adinkra and Ghanaian symbols. Also on display were different shades and sizes of fugu, batakari, boubou and expensive suits and ties to match.

On the other side were those appeared in expensive lace materials sewn into beautiful styles and for those who went for the all traditional kaba and slit, their styles were impeccable.

T o cut the matter short; let us just say that people appeared in their best.

What actually made me excited was the way the crowd, in spite of the fact that people came from different parts of the country and even abroad, interacted with one another. Like one big family where each person knew the other, the conference centre saw a lot of personal interaction were people freely exchanged conversation conversations, shook each other’s, pat one another on the back, hugged and openly smiled broadly at one another.

The story could not be complete if the Master of Ceremony (MCs) Godwin Avenorgbo, good old Mike Eghan and Doreen Andoh are not mentioned. They really contributed to the success of the programme with their sense of professionalism.

Those present at the function and others who watched it live on GTV TV might have observed Uncle Eghan “drilled” President Kufuor. The president was on his feet throughout the period considering his age, it is an indication of how strong the man is. Single-handedly the man was able to decorate all the award winners shook the hand of each of them and pose for photograph with each one of them.

I said Uncle Mike drilled the president because anytime there was a short break and the “Old Man” made an attempt to sit, Uncle Mike would quickly call him to continue. On all the occasion the “Old Man” moved back to take a break, Uncle Mike quickly called him to duty. On the third occasion, the “Old Man” moved slowly as if he was bypassing Uncle Mike, got close to him and gave him a gentle knock at his back which sent everybody laughing. In response, Uncle Mike, who had in the previous year received a national award, said he considered the knock as another presidential award and the crowd laughed the more. How beautiful it is for brethren to stay together in peace.

The atmosphere was so much relaxed that when it was time for the group photographs with the award winners, the President move out from the conference room and freely interacted with a wide range of people, Being about an arm’s length away prom the President, I had a good look at the medal around his neck, (I am referring to the newly instituted Grand Order of the Eagle and Star of Ghana) and it looked beautiful.

The medal consists of a collar, a collar badge, a sash badge and a breast star.

My interest was on the collar which holds the badge described in the brochure for the event as a set of insignia comprising a collar consisting 15 alternative 18-carat yellow gold and adinkra symbols.

The symbols are Akofena, which stands for courage, valour and heroism; Mpatapo, meaning reconciliation, peacemaking and pacification; Wo Nsa Mu A…..meaning participatory government, democracy and pluralism; and Ese Ne Tekyerema, which stands for friendship and independence.
The rest are: Nyame Biribi Wo Soro, which is a symbol of hope; Gye Nyame, a symbol of the supremacy of God; Bi Nka Bi, meaning peace and harmony; and Katakyie Atiko which stands for bravery and valour.

The newly instituted Grand Order of the Star and Eagles of Ghana, as symbolized in the nation’s Coat of Arms and meant for the President of the Republic was for the first time presented to President Kufuor by the Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood

In addition, five eminent members of society were awarded the next highest honour, which was the Order the Star of Ghana (Companion).

They were the Vice-President Alhaji Alui Mahama, for Public Sector and National Governance; the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, for Traditional Authority Public Service; Nayiri Naa Bohugu Mahami Shirigu, the Paramount Chief of Mamprugu for Traditional Authority Public Service and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the flag bearer of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) for National Politics, Advocacy for Human Rights and Rule of Law.

Five others were given the Order of the Star of Ghana (Member).The rest received honours in the Order of the Volta (Companion), the Order of the Volta Officer), the Order of the Volta (Member) categories and the Grand Medal.

As I sat through the programme I looked at the faces of the audience and observed that just like me, many of the people assembled there haboured the ambition that one day, they would have the honour of being decorated by a President of the Republic of Ghana.

                  Daily Graphic          page 23        Monday, July 14, 2008
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