Kingmakers of the Effutu State, the Otuano Royal Stool House, have expressed concern that their age-old Aboakyer festival is gradually losing its popularity and significance due to differences between the paramount royal family and the Omanhene, Neenyi Ghartey VII.
According to them, the misunderstanding between the two is affecting the festival, which is arguably considered one of the highly recognised festivals in the country and even abroad.
They have, therefore, called on the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Catherine Afeku, to take immediate steps to resolve all differences surrounding the festival in order not to lose its tourism potential.
Addressing a press conference to express their reservation about the royal family’s exclusion from the official launch of the Aboakyer festival this year, Neenyi Bondzie, the Head of the Royal Stool House, said it was totally unacceptable and wrong for the festival to be launched without their consent.
He stated that under normal circumstances, the Omanhene, together with the royal family, should have met and discussed everything about the festival before its official launch.
He noted that the ‘Rambo style’ action of the Omanhene, in connection with the official launch of the festival, had cast a slur on the integrity of the Aboakyer festival, thus clearly bringing the real significance of the festival into question.
“It seems under the reign of Neenyi Ghartey VII, the festival is gradually losing its spiritual significance,” he lamented.
He added that for an occupant of the great Penkye Otu’s stool to totally disregard the status quo without even clearing himself first with the stool house, the custodian of the festival, was an affront to the customs and traditions of the state and for that matter the festival.
He observed that it was very sad for a chief who should know better to sidestep the customs and traditions and yet want to celebrate the festival at all cost without even bothering to get the whole community involved.
Neenyi Bondzie stressed that by slighting the very house that had in its custody the principal deity of the state, the Omanhene was not ready to help restore the dwindling image of the festival.
He announced that the Minister of Railways, Mr Joe Ghartey, who was the guest of honour during last year’s event, promised to personally involve all the stakeholders towards solving the problems confronting the smooth celebration of the festival but nothing had been done ever since.
He explained that as law-abiding citizens they would not do anything to disturb the peace of the land and insisted that “no one has the right of entry into the shrine of Penkye Otu, the principal deity of Effutuman, without the permission from the stool father and the elders of the Otuano Royal House.”