It was all colour and splendor at the Independence Square in Accra on Saturday where thousands of Ghanaians gathered to celebrate Ghana’s 53rd Independence Anniversary.
The event, which could best be described as a children’s affair, was remarkable in the sense that the entire parade was conducted by school children drawn from the various public schools in Accra.
Previously, the parade used to be conducted by personnel from the security services and school children but this year’s was an all the school cadet corps affair professionally handled to the delighted of the huge audience.
As the smartly dressed Army, Navy, Air Force and Police cadet corps as well as contingents of various schools marched past the President of the Republic on the dais dressed in a spotless white long-sleeved shirt over a black pair of trousers, the dignitaries including Vice President John Mahama, former President J. A. Kufour and his wife, Theresah, former Vice President Aliu Mahama, Ministers of State, Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Council of State, traditional leaders and leaders of the various political parties, could not resist applauding the exciting performance of the children.
There were loud cheers from the stands filled to capacity by people, including tourists waving the national colours in appreciation of the children’s performance, which was capped with an exciting rendition of patriotic songs by the mass band made up of the Boys Brigade Band from Palladduim Adedenkpo, Great Lamptey Mills Academy, Providence Preparatory School and Mary Mother of God School all in Accra.
The usual cultural touch was not left out as students from the Labone, O’Reilly Senior High and Ablekuma Sub-metro schools, exhibited the Bamaya, Adjeiwaa and Kete dances respectively to the admiration of the enthusiastic audience.
The children also treated the audience to a gymnastic display in which they formed a number of symbols representing national unity, attracting loud applause from the audience.
Under the instructions of parade Commander Frank Larnyo, a teacher, contingents of eight public and two private basic schools, eight public and two private senior high schools, cadet corps from 10 public senior high schools and seven youth clubs, marched past the Presidential dais, amid cheers from the audience.
President Mills, whose address was heralded with a beautiful drum appellation, could not hide his excitement as he declared that “Today is a day for the youth.”
“I must admit that I have enjoyed the wonderful turnout, the gymnastics, the cultural display and the dexterity with which the youthful band has rolled out very wonderful tunes,” said President Mills, obviously expressing happiness the youth was allowed to take centre stage of the celebration.
Kwadwo B. Donkor, reports from Kumasi that the celebration was observed in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region with a parade reviewed by the regional minister, Kofi Opoku-Manu. The anniversary had the theme: “Investing in the Youth for a better Ghana.”
It was attended by all the regional security heads including the acting Commander of the Northern Command of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col. Anthony K. Asare, the Police Regional Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Patrick Timbillah.
In all, 42 schools made up of first and second cycle institutions including five cadet corps, the National Vocational and Technical Institute (NVTI) and the Kumasi Special School took part in the parade.
In his address, the Regional Minister cautioned the students to be circumspect in their utterances and urged them to avoid making statements that will portray the country in a different light.
As students, he said, they could achieve a lot if they were disciplined as it was a prerequisite for success in life.
Commenting on the theme, Mr. Opoku Manu entreated parents to take advantage of the numerous governments’ policies in the educational sector to send their children to school.
He said the youth would only become leaders if they had been well groomed and prepared for the tasks ahead.
He said “the industrialized countries are able to make it to where they are now due to the emphasis they placed on education,” stressing that “it is, therefore important that we devote maximum attention to the education of the youth.”
Prizes were awarded to schools that marched better Serwa Nyarko Senior Secondary emerged the best school in the second cycle institution category with the NVTI and the Kumasi Academy, placing the second and third respectively.
In the first cycle category, Kentikrono Basic, Prempeh College Basic and T.I. Ahmaddiyah ‘A’ emerged the best three.
In the cadet corps division, the lasses from the Yaa Asantewaa Girls Secondary School emerged the best and were followed Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Secondary School and Kumasi High Secondary School.
From Takoradi, Clement Adzei Boye, reports that a contigent of 14 officer cadets and 400 students from schools in the twin-city metropolis took part in the anniversary parade at the Jubilee Park.
The parade, which was under the command of Senior Under Officer (SUO) Philip Cheffa of the Ghana Secondary Technical School (GSTS), involved 11 cadets corps from the GSTS, Archbishop Porter Girls School, Bompeh Senior High, Sekondi College, Takoradi Technical Institute (TTS), St John’s School and Takoradi Senior High and Ahantaman Secondary.
The Regimental band from St John’s School provided the music.
The Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo, reviewed the event watched by a large crowd including the Western Regional Director of Education, Mrs. Efiba Dadzie, the Flag Officer Command of Two Garrison, Commodore Tim Appiah, the Regional Police Commander DCOP Hamidu Mahama and other Service Commanders.
Addressing the gathering after inspecting the parade, Mr. Aidoo reminded parents and students of the importance of the March 6.
“The national motto; ‘freedom and Justice, must be ingrained in the psyche of all of us all parents and guardians.
“Schools must take pains to inculcate the essence of this motto in all children and wards so that they will grow up with the values that will safeguard the destiny of this great country,” he said.
Mr. Aidoo asked people of the Western Region to eschew laziness and the “pull-him-down” attitude and do away with chieftaincy disputes and land litigations.
From Ashaiman, G. B. Gibbah, reports that a total of 1,584 school children drawn from 33 public and private basic and Senior High Schools participated in the parade.
Mr. Numo Adinortey Addison, Ashaiman Municipal Chief Executive, took the Salute, addressing the parade paid glowing tribute to the nation’s Founding Fathers and urged the youth to support the government in its efforts to move the country into a middle-income status.
He said block farming, one of the projects under the youth in Agriculture programme would take of this year and urged those interested in it to register with the Municipal Department of Agriculture.
Winston Tamakloe reports from Ho that 2,000 pupils and students from 25 first and second cycle schools as well as some voluntary organisations took part in the anniversary parade.
The reviewing officer was, Mr. Joseph Amenowode, the Regional Minister who was accompanied by Mr. Gabriel Kploahyi, Regional Director of Education and the Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Reverend David Ampah-Bennin.
There was splendid cultural display and melodious patriotic songs by the dance ensemble of the Ho Centre for National Culture.
OLA Girls’ Senior High School won the cadet category march past competition, followed by Mawuli Senior High School, with Mawuko Girls’ Senior High School placing third.
For the Senior High School Category, Mawuli emerged first, with Saint Prosper placing second and Mawuko Girls’ coming third.
Kabore Junior High School emerged winners in the Junior High School category while Sunrise and SSNIT Flats coming second and third respectively.
The primary school division was won by Dora Memorial, followed by Ho – Dome Evangelical Presbyterian Seventh-Day Adventist in that order.
Mr. Amenowode in an address, advised the youth to desist from crimes against the state and strive hard to be faithful and patriotic.
Castro Zangina-Tong, reports from Koforidua that the crowed at the Koforidua Jackson Park was treated to a splendid acrobatic display.
The Regional Police Band provided music for the March.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, commended the citizenry for their continuous contribution to peace efforts in the country.
He asked Ghanaians to eschew greed and all negative practices divide the country which had carved a niche in good governance in Africa.
“As we celebrate this historic event, the need to recognise the contribution each and everyone has made cannot be over looked or down played.”
Mr. Ofosu Ampofo said that the Regional Co-ordinating Council had received a total of 4.8 million books of various types for distribution to public schools in the region under the strict supervision of the Regional Directorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES).
From Wa Matthew Ayoo, reports that about 1,226 students drawn from 43 primary Junior and Senior High Schools including the Wa Methodist School for the Blind and the Wa School for the Deaf.
A 15-member delegation from neighbouring Burkina-Faso led by the South-West Regional Minister, Colonel Pascal Sawadogo, present at the parade grounds, gave the event an international touch.
The Upper West Regional Minister, Mahmud Khalid and the Regional Director of Education, Fabian Belieb jointly took the salute.
Addressing the parade, Mr. Khalid urged the schoolchildren to be disciplined, saying it was the hallmark to any successful venture.
Mr. Khalid told the children to respect their teachers, parents and the elderly besides taking their studies serious in order to attain higher academic and professional laurels.
“You should avoid truancy, drug abuse and all vices that can jeopardize your future. Today peer influence is a major cause of several vices among the youth and therefore you must learn to avoid bad company,” he advised the schoolchildren.
About 18 people selected from all the nine district of the region including Dr. Felix Ahorsu, an eye specialist, who had served the Upper West Region for 14 years, were honoured for their meritorious contributions to the development of the area.
They were presented with plagues and citations.
By Francis Xah
From Amasaman in the G West District that, 28 public and private schools took part in the 53rd anniversary parade at Amasaman park.
In the march past competition, Pokuase Roman Catholic School emerged winners in the public school division with 81.6 per cent followed by the Pokuase AME Zion school with 80.6 per cent and the Amasaman Municipal Basic School placing third with 78.8 cent.
First Foundation Senior High School at Sapeiman won the private schools category.
The Municipal Chief Executive, Nii Armah Tackie, took the salute and later addressed the gathering.
From Adenta in Accra that about 1,000 pupils and students from 16 basic from the Adenta Municipality and three Senior High Schools took part in the celebration, reports Lawrence Akpalu from Adenta.
The Municipal Chief Executive, Nubyl Kakra Van Lare, addressed the gathering and called on parents to sacrifice for the education of their wards.
Such a move, she said would complement government’s efforts to prepare them for the future administration of the country when the older generation passed away.
“The institutionalization of Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education Policy by the spate is to ensure that all children of school going age are in school so any parent who deprives any child from benefiting from such an intervention, is doing the country much disservice.
“We have the free exercise books free uniforms, free bus ride and the school feeding programme, what parents must do is to offer their children the needed moral support to scale through the academic ladder with ease, she said.
A total of 1,320 pupils and students from 22 public and private basic and Senior High Schools converged at Tema Sports Stadium for the occasion, according to our correspondent, G.B. Gibbah.
Mr Kanpes Ofosu Ware, Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive and Mr Augustine Gyenning, Tema Regional Police Commander jointly took the salute.
The state school for the Deaf in Adjei Kojo, Star Basic School and Datus Complex School performed gymnastic and cultural displays.
Mr Ofosuware, paid tribute to Dr Kwame Nkrumah and his colleagues for their struggle to attain independence from Colonial rule.
Christabel Akoto-Manu and Agnes Opoku Sarpong report from the Odogonor Senior High School Parks in Accra , the Ga South Municipal Assembly celebrated the anniversary with a colourful march past by pupils and students.
Thirty-five basic, junior high and senior high schools with a total of 1, 176 students from various public and private institutions, participated.
Addressing the pupils the Municipal Chief Executive, Sherrif Nii Oto-Dodoo said the government was considering the establishment of a National Youth Training and Placement Board to train the youth and equip them with employable skills besides constructing information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centres in all districts.
The Municipal Director of Education in the Municipality, Mrs Florence Addo, said it was essential for parents to start investing in their children’s education as early as possible to secure their future because children were the greatest investment for a better future.
She said nationalism, patriotism, diligence and hard work were the ingredients to build a better Ghana.
Erica Adumoah, a pupil, on behalf of Ga South Municipality school children, in a message to the president, expressed appreciation for the free school uniforms the increase in capitation grant and the expansion of the school feeding programme.