President John Mahama has been so profuse with adoration for the King of Ashantis branding him a wise man who has turned the relic of chieftaincy into relevance.
The ceaseless deluge of adoration dominated his 15 minute speech until smiles broke loose on a plain-faced King.
President John Mahama was the guest of honour at the 15th anniversary of the enthronement of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
The regal ceremony was attended by former Presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and Jerry John Rawlings along with their wives Mrs Theresa Kufuor and Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings respectively.
Former Nigerian President Olu??gun Mathew Okiki?la Ar?mu ?basanj?, a friend of the Asantehene was also in attendance.
The Baba Yara Sports Stadium was full of people – and full of traditions in a remarkable display of rich Ashanti culture.
The traditional and ever-popular kente cloth – an unspoken dress code – sewn in different styles took on a brilliance as a hot Sunday sun lights up the stadium. The president, a graduate of history showed grasp of Ashanti history as he recounted the stories of Ashanti colonial wars against the British in which they won two and suffered two defeats.
He said following the introduction of republican governance, one would have thought the key role of chieftaincy and revered place of traditions would have died along with the dismantling of the Ashanti empire.
But not on the life of the 16th King of Asanteman, Mahama suggested.
He said Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has turned the relic of chieftaincy into relevance by “waging a war against dehumanisation, poverty and disease”.
He quoted Otumfuo as saying “today’s fighting is not for conquest over people; today, the war should be intensive against dehumanisation, poverty and disease”. The president proceeded to show how the King has made good his words by backing them with action.
He said the Asantehene armed himself with the belief that “education is the strongest defence against poverty” by setting an education fund that has provided scholarships to about 9,000 youths.
He praised the King’s diplomatic acumen in getting the World Bank to fund his Promoting Partnership With Traditional Authorities project.
The president didn’t leave out the King’s wife and praised the couple for establishing the Serwaa Ampem AIDS Foundation for Children which has been collaborating with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
To his credit, the King has racked up honorary degrees from eight universities from United States, Nigeria and Ghana.
President John Mahama directed the youth to go to Manhyia website to check the king’s illustrious service to Ghana.
The president’s speech could do much to dispel negative press he may have courted after media circles reported him as saying the people of Kumasi were ungrateful to his government no matter the development he champions.