General News of Wednesday, 20 December 2017
The Second African Genius Award 2017 was a beautiful programme with all the good intentions, but the inclusion of the large numbers of schoolchildren bused to attend the function, which started after 7p.m. and dragged to after 10p.m. was a big minus.
What was expected to be an adult programme put together to celebrate the contribution of African genius to the making of civilisation, was heavily patronised by schoolchildren some as young as five years.
The idea in itself was not bad, as such awards could inspire and spur on children to aim high in life, but what made it ugly was the timing of the event, which started a little after 7p.m. and dragged to after 10p.m.
It was understandable that the numbers of the children were crucial in order to soar the numbers of the attendees, which otherwise would have been described as poorly attended.
Naturally, most of the children were sleeping and restless as they showed signs of tiredness, some of whom reclined on their mates to sleep.
Little after 9p.m. the headmaster of one of the schools that attended the event, New Star at Alajo, Rev Gilbert Addision, who attempted to take his children out of the hall, was confronted for “taking the children out of the hall when a minister was talking.”
Rev Addison explained that the school agreed to bus its children to the programme because they were assured that by 8pm, it would be over.
He said, when it was after 8pm and there was no sign of the programme ending, he was not confortable as parents started calling him questioning why the school was still keeping their children.
Rev Addison explained that he considered the safety of the children paramount and that informed his action adding that the man who accosted him at the gate questioning him why he was taking the children out of the hall threatened disciplining him.
“He asked of my name, the name of my school and even my telephone to which I provided all the information because I was moved by his threats.
“To me, it was more about the safety of the children and no amount of threats could intimidate me. We finally left the premises of the National Theatre at 9.53pm,” Rev Addison told the Daily Graphic.
Request from Dr Mensah
He said management of the school who were at the event grounds with the children allowed the children to re-enter the hall to demonstrate their respect for one of the award winners, Dr Thomas Owusu Mensah, who pleaded with them to allow the children to stay when he received his award because he wanted to motivate the children.
Dr Mensah, who received the African Genius Award in Science/Technology and Innovation, is a world renowned inventor with 14 US and worldwide patents in fiber optics over a period of six years.
He encouraged the children to be proud of themselves as Ghanaians and that they were capable of doing whatever their counterparts anywhere in the world could do.