Diasporian News of Thursday, 21 March 2013
Source: SIMON ATIEKU
The Ghana Embassy in Italy in collaboration with Council of Ghanaian Nationals Associations in Italy (COGNAI), on Saturday, 16th March, 2013, organized an event in Udine, Italy to commemorate Ghana’s 56th Independence anniversary in the country. The ceremony witnessed an impressive turn-out from the Ghanaian community including the Executive members of COGNAI, traditional leaders and Pastors of the various Ghanaian ethnic groups and churches in Italy. Present also were officials of Embassy of Ghana in Rome, Italy led by Ambassador Evelyn Anita Stokes-Hayford, Dr. Peter Bossman, the Mayor of Piran, Slovenia, as well as the Mayor of Udine, Furio Honsell.
The four-hour celebration was interspersed with Ghanaian-dirges, patriotic songs and brass band music. Dancing groups drawn from the ten (10) regions of Ghana entertained the gathering. At one point, the Ambassador showed her prowess in the Ghanaian “adowa” dance when she got off her seat to join other dancers who were entertaining the audience with the traditional dance. It was colourful and beautiful to watch; the few Italians present in the packed hall definitely took a message home and will not forget the glamour and array of colours, costumes and traditional dance of Ghana.
In her keynote address, Ambassador (Mrs.) Stokes-Hayford quoted from some prominent Ghanaians like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia and Professor John Evans Atta Mills. She averred that their words have kept Ghana’s aspirations alive and have been relevant to our progress till this day.
She extended special greetings from H.E. the President and the Government and people of the Republic of Ghana to the Ghanaians residing in Italy. She said that today the President of the Republic, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama has pledged to make full use of the advantages that the country has to increase prosperity. She quote him “it is still true today as it was during our independence years, that the vision could be an individual’s but it will take the millions acting in concert to bring it to reality. I wish to invite you once more to join me in this venture of nation building by also pledging to believe, to sacrifice and to work for the betterment of this nation-our nations.”
She told the audience that Ghana has a young government headed by H.E. President John Dramani Mahama formed barely two months ago, a developing middle income country with a lot of potential. She said that the recent discovery of oil in large quantities put our country on a pedestal for a rapid acceleration in all spheres of endeavour. She added that it was our President’s resolve that the oil would be a blessing to all our people and would be for the development of the whole of Ghana. Ambassador Stokes-Hayford indicated that the country has maintained a single digit inflationary rate over the last three years, a clear manifestation of the economy as one of the fastest growing in the world. She said no wonder today; Ghana is the gateway to the West African Sub-region and the preferred destination for investors.
She made a humble appeal to our fellow Ghanaians in Italy to set up businesses in Ghana through joint partnerships. She advised them to tap into the small and medium scale industry experience which Italians were noted for and set up similar businesses back home. She told them to be law abiding, respect authority, love one another, be their brother’s keeper and work together at all times for the common good of our dear nation.
In the concluding part of her speech, H.E. Stokes-Hayford reiterated the government of Ghana’s commitment to deepen the bonds of friendship and cooperation with the Italian government and business enterprises. Ghana, she said, would continue to play its part in the promotion of global peace and stability for beneficial growth of our global partners.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, 6th March, 2013 the Embassy organized a reception in Rome, to formally commemorate the anniversary in Italy. In attendance were Italian government officials, Ambassadors accredited to Italy as well as some prominent Ghanaians working in the country.
SIMON ATIEKU (COUNSELLOR)