General News of Saturday, 16 December 2017
Former administrator of Accra Hearts of Oak Football Club, Tommy Okine – who prides himself as Gbese Mantse with the stool name, Nii Ayi Bonte, in spite of a 7-0 Supreme Court ruling, yesterday praised President Akufo-Addo and his barely one-year-old New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration.
The man swore an oath to abdicate his stool ahead of the 2016 general elections, if then President John Dramani Mahama lost his re-election bid, because of what he (Ayi Bonte) claimed to be the good works of Mahama and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, almost taking over the NDC campaign.
Nii Ayi Bonte, however, failed to do so when Mahama lost miserably to then NPP candidate Akufo-Addo and his party in the 2016 general elections, defying all pressures.
But barely a year into President Akufo-Addo’s administration, the Gbese Mantse has started singing from a different hymn book with different notes and chorus.
At a ceremony to cut the sod for the commencement of the Marine Drive Tourism Investment Project in Accra yesterday, obviously overwhelmed Nii Ayi Bonte could not but praise President Akufo-Addo and his government for their achievements so far in less than a year in office.
“Fifty-four long years ago when Nkrumah started this project, he could not finish; leader after leader had come but none of them, except Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has shown his love for Gas…we don’t even know how to thank him because many are those who have come and gone but when he promised, he has fulfilled it. So all Gas say ‘thank you,” he said to the surprise of the people who had gathered there.
He therefore called on the chiefs and people in the Greater Accra Region and specifically the Ga State not to do anything that would negatively affect the project.
That, he said, was because the project would create many jobs for the teeming Ga youth.
The Marine Drive project, which covers over 241 acres of beach front – stretching from the Osu Christianborg Castle to the Centre for National Culture (Arts Centre) – was first proposed by Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1963.
The objective of the project is to develop the coastline of the capital city, Accra, an initiative being spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts.
Speaking at the sod cutting ceremony, President Akufo-Addo said in line with the ministry’s target of generating jobs, especially for the youth and unemployed, the Marine Drive Tourism Investment Project, from construction to the operational stage, is expected to employ some 150,000 people.
He expressed appreciation to all who had, in diverse ways, helped to ensure that the Marine Drive Tourism Enclave becomes a reality.
President Akufo-Addo was hopeful the project would be completed on time.
“I am confident that all of us gathered here will be present again here, very soon, for the commissioning of this project,” he added.
He also commended the sector minister, Catherine Afeku, for bringing the initiative into reality, recounting the pledge to revive the country’s tourism in the run-up to the December 2016 general elections.
“Today, we begin the realization of this pledge, with the construction of the Marine Drive Tourism Investment Project. We are all aware how countries all over the world, particularly our neighbours in West Africa, have made good use of their beachfronts, and as a result, rake in considerable revenues for the development of their communities and countries. We intend to go down that path,” the president said.