President, John Dramani Mahama has hailed the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, for the creativity and industry he has brought to the chieftaincy institution.
He said as an agent of change, Otumfuo’s innovations had translated into improving the lives of not only Asantes but also people from other parts of the country.
Speaking at the Akwasidae Kese to climax 15 years of the enstoolment of Otumfuo Osei Tutu at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi yesterday, President Mahama gave an assurance that the government would solidly stand behind the Asantehene in his efforts at doing more for Asanteman and Ghana.
In a speech, the biggest part of which was devoted to giving recognition to and praising the Asantehene for his industry and enterprise, the President said Ghana was blessed to have Otumfuo Osei Tutu.
The Asante people
President Mahama, who had great things to say about the Asante people, traced their history and said probably they are the best known people in Africa.
He said when Asante was mentioned in any part of Africa or the world, many people readily remembered the legendary Golden Stool.
“The story of Asante is so thoroughly engraved in history that it has become a symbol of Africa development. The story of Asante is one of pride and perseverance,” he stressed.
He said the fact that Asantes fought the British colonial army in four battles, winning two and losing two, attested to the history behind the great and proud people.
Turning to the Otumfuo Education Fund, Mr Mahama said since the Asantehene instituted it just after his enthronement, he had not rested in ensuring that as many young people as possible from all tribes benefitted from it.
The fund, he said, had manifested in scholarships, the provision of infrastructure for schools and the institution of the Otumfuo Teachers and Educational Workers Awards.
The President said the role played by the Asantehene in educational development and other initiatives, such as health, had provided enough ground for at least eight universities around the world to give him honorary doctorate degrees.
“Otumfuo is a man of wisdom who wants to protect and work for the progress of his people and others from other regions,” President Mahama said.
Touching on the negative developments associated with chieftaincy disputes, President Mahama said it was refreshing that the Asantehene had given the problem his utmost attention.
He stated that taking upon himself to settle chieftaincy disputes at his palace, instead of allowing the people involved in the disputes to travel to the law courts, had cut back on cost and ensured peace in Asanteman.
The President said the fact that the 1992 Constitution gave recognition to chieftaincy provided ground to underline the important role the institution occupied in national development.
He said the colonial administration had attempted to cut the powers of chiefs but the reality dawned on all that the relevance of the chieftaincy institution was a matter of importance and that it was not possible to dismantle it.
The wars of today
President Mahama quoted from some of Otumfuo Osei Tutu’s speeches at various fora and said the king was so much attached to fighting today’s wars against poverty, ignorance and diseases.
The event, which was witnessed by a number of dignitaries, as well as people from all parts of the country, was held in style, with tradition being at its best.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu arrived at the stadium about 12.55 p.m. riding in a palanquin.
The stadium rose to its feet to greet the king.
Dressed in a rich Kente cloth and adorned in pure gold ornaments, the king danced majestically to throbbing fontomfrom and atumpan drums.
Some of the notable stool regalia on display included the ‘Dwete Kuduo’, a silver bowl in which the Asantehene keeps gold dust.
The mmenson (horn) blowers were also in full attendance.
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