The chiefs and people of the Effutu Traditional Area in the Central Region held a grand durbar in Winneba last Saturday to climax their annual Aboakyer Festival, which was on the theme: ‘Unity — Our strength for development’.
The festival is climaxed with the hunting of a live deer by the two Asafo companies — Dentsifo and Tuafo — from the sacred forest, which is presented to the Omanhen at the durbar for him to step on it three times, as custom demands.
At this year’s deer hunt, it was the Dentsifo Asafo company that made a catch.
At exactly 9:22 a.m., news broke that the Dentsifo Asafo company had made a catch, which led to wild jubilation among the gathering at the durbar grounds, some of whom left the place to welcome the victorious Asafo company from its hunting expedition.
However, after parading the animal at the durbar grounds for some few minutes, the group did not present the live deer to the Omanhen for him to step on it three times, as was the custom.
Amid dancing and the chanting of war songs, the Dentsifo Asafo company left the venue with the deer, to the surprise of the gathering.
Later, about 10:05 a.m., members of the Tuafo Asafo company, clad in all-white apparel, returned from the hunt to inform the Omanhen of their inability to make a catch.
The Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, who addressed the durbar, called on the people to continue to live in peace.
He said unity of purpose and peace among the people would provide the foundation and catalyst for the development of Winneba, the traditional capital, and its adjoining communities.
He said the festival was an attraction to many people from far and near and, therefore, should be preserved to promote tourism and protect the cultural heritage of the Effutu people.
Mr Duncan appealed to the people to desist from actions and inaction that might negatively affect the celebration of the festival and pledged the commitment of the government to continue to support the traditional council towards transforming the Effutu municipality for the benefit of the people.
Fill vacant seats
For his part, the Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr Kofi Dzamesi, commended the people for a successful celebration and urged them to be united to attract a lot of development to the area.
He charged the traditional council to take immediate steps to install new chiefs in all the towns without chiefs to ensure that the council had its full complement of chiefs to make for effective deliberations and administration.
On education, he said the free SHS policy had come to stay and, therefore, called on the people to support the government in the implementation of the policy which, he said, was intended to develop the human resource of the country.
On behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the minister made a cash donation of GH¢10,000 in support of the festival.
Neenyi Ghartey VII
In his welcome address, the Omanhen of the Effutu Traditional Area, Neenyi Ghartey VII, commended the government for the bold implementation of the free SHS policy whose benefits, he noted, could greatly help transform the country.
Touching on the challenges confronting the municipality, he said since the area was a fishing community, it would be in the interest of the people if the government constructed a modern landing beach for Winneba.
Neenyi Ghartey expressed delight at the decision by the Ghana Tourism Authority to establish a beach resort in Winneba and to protect the sacred forest where live deer were annually hunted.
Among the dignitaries in attendance at the festival were Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Minister of Transport; Mr Joe Ghartey, the Minister of Railway Development; Dr Henry Lartey, the Leader of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), and the Effutu Municipal Chief Executive, Mr John B. Ninson.