Former President John Agyekum Kufuor Saturday night counselled Ghanaian youths not to look down on their chosen vocations but to persevere for success.
He told 115 graduating students of EKGS Culinary Institute in Accra who had completed courses in Cake Making and Decorating, Pastry Making Art, Cookery and Balloon as well as Ribbon and Floral Arts that the vocations they had chosen for themselves compared favourably with any other, such as those in the health and education sectors.
What the graduates needed to succeed, the former president noted, was for them to persevere.
“Pursue your service with diligence because I tell you, when you persevere well, your service is as good as your cousins in the health department, in the education department…” he said to wild cheers after turning up a surprise guest at the event and virtually providing the ‘icing on the cake’.
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The occasion was the 32nd graduation ceremony of EKGS, celebrated under the theme ‘Building Solid Human Capital through Hospitality’, and President Kufuor said no better theme could have been chosen for the occasion.
“It is the best theme that could have been used anywhere, because it is inevitably linked [with] solid social national development. Through hospitality we attract people to come from all over the world. When they come and they are happy, they keep coming. So that is where you expect the investments to be made…”, he explained, and added that it also promises good returns.
The former president congratulated the graduating students and those who won awards, wishing all good tidings for the Yuletide.
Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Madam Abla Dzifa Gomashie, who was guest of honour, emphasised the need and importance for Ghanaians to invest in the nation by consuming ‘made in Ghana'.
Stressing on the need to consume made in Ghana goods and products, the deputy minister said it is critical for everyone to join in the promotion and consumption of Ghanaian products because it is one of the best ways to help grow the economy and develop the nation.
“We look with fondness at countries that have developed. We are quick to say countries are ahead of us. Have we paused to ask ourselves whether those countries are living the lives that we live in our country?”
She said for instance, it is now fashionable for Ghanaians to dress like Nigerians to prove they are well-dressed or have arrived, instead of the kaba and kente dress pieces Ghana is noted for.
“How are we investing in this country? This dear country that we all love so much? Is it only his Excellency and the appointed ministers… who must do what is expected of them? The citizens must support the country that they love. You and I did not choose Ghana as our motherland, this was chosen for us divinely. The little choices and the big choices that we make will make or unmake our country,” she said.
“As you get ready to join the workforce of this country, as you get ready to contribute to the development of our country, do not forget the Red, Gold and Green with the Black Star. Do not forget the flag of Ghana. Do not forget Ghana in the choices that you make on a daily basis. I believe that it is through that the development and the speed at which we want it to go will become a reality,” she told the students.
Madam Gomashie asked managers of EKGS to institute an award for the “Best Culturally Aware Student” whose cake craft would reflect the Ghanaian culture by, instead of strawberry for instance, would master the decoration of cakes with a vegetable or fruit found in Ghana. She made personal, life-long pledge to sponsor such an award, saying “…it does not matter whether I’m still the deputy minister or not, I will still sponsor that award.”
She also counselled the graduates to measure their use of sugar in their products because many ailments have been linked with the consumption of too much sugar.
The Director of EKGS, Mrs Efua Otuwaa Goode-Obeng Kyei said the period of the students training and skills acquisition had been very challenging as a result of the irregular power situation in the country and urged the government to do more to ensure stable power supply and to save businesses from collapse.
“The Development of every country hinges on the availability and reliability of electricity to power its industries. But the situation in which we find ourselves in the country now is far the ideal. Industries are smarting under the unreliable supply of electricity, with those which cannot cope with the burden folding up, while others have had to cut down cost by dismissing their workers.”
An added challenge, she said, was the weakened cedi early on in the year which she said had fortunately been brought under control. She however asked the government to continue to work at sustaining the current stability to help businesses better plan and project into the future.
She advised the graduates to prove themselves wherever they go by letting their light shine before men so they would be acknowledged, saying “It is only by bringing out the good in you that you can make an impact on your fellow human beings and be a blessing to them.”
The occasion also featured cakes of many colours and sizes, some giant-looking, as well as other pastries and flowery decorations.