Vice President Bawumia, Chief Imam and Father Campbell
VICE PRESIDENT Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has called on chiefs and other traditional authorities to complement government’s efforts at protecting the environment, especially rivers and water bodies, and make these useful to humanity.
Speaking at this year’s Ohum festival of the chiefs and people of Akyem Abuakwa at Kyebi in the Eastern Region on Saturday, Vice President Bawumia said it is the duty of the present generation to uphold and defend the ancient tradition of keeping the environment clean and healthy for posterity and generations yet unborn.
Historically, the Akyems have used the Ohum festival to thank the almighty for blessing their land with the Birim River. During this period, the sons and daughters of Okyeman use products from the lands and the river as symbols to remember the ancestors, who struggled and persevered in keeping the society intact. They further give pledges to continue the tradition and keep the kingdom strong.
However, the present state of the river, and many other water bodies in the country, leaves much to be desired, Dr. Bawumia bemoaned.
“Nananom, ladies and gentlemen, as we pledge this day to continue the tradition of our ancestors in keeping our environment safe and clean, we should reflect on the current sorry state of the Birim River, the pride of Okyeman. Today in Ghana, our rivers are polluted with an alarming carelessness. It is either we have farmed or built so close to the river banks, callously polluted the rivers with activities of galamsey, or encroached the river path for human settlement. These activities expose the waters to all forms of pollution.
“To overcome this canker of environmental degradation and pollution requires the commitment of everyone, including the government. In times past, communal labour and volunteerism were effective avenues used by Nananom and local authorities to deal with the issues of filth in our neighbourhoods. This noble initiative and activity, however, seems to be lost on us these days. I implore Nananom to work collaboratively with the local administrative authorities to rekindle that communal spirit to help deal with filth in our societies,” he urged.
Government, the Vice President pledged, “will continue to pursue efforts such as Operation Vanguard to affirm our commitment to protect the environment and water bodies. We will continuously need the support of Nananom and the people of Ghana in this pursuit in order to rid our environments of filth.”
Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin called on sons and daughters of Okyeman to remember their roots and give back to their communities, in whichever form they can.
“When you go out there and succeed, don’t make a difference just where you are; come back home and make a difference too. It should not be the sole duty of government to develop our nation,” he advised.