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General News of Thursday, 9 August 2007


Ghana@50 Was Not A Tea Party - Oboshie

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Hon. Mrs. Oboshie Sai Coffie, has observed that the Ghana @50 celebrations was not about tea partying and having fun, but was an occasion for sober reflections and accelerated development. She has therefore tasked journalists and media personnel to help showcase the legacies bequeathed to the nation arising out of the event.

Hon. Oboshie made the above observation when she led a team of government officials and members of the press on an inspection tour of some of the Ghana @50 project sites on Tuesday, August 07, 2007. Accompanying the Minister were Mr. Andrew Awuni (Presidential Press Secretary), Hon David Annang (Tema Municipal Chief Executive), Mrs. Catherine Afeku (Government Spokesperson on Infrastructure), Hon. Reginald Nii Bi Ayi Bonte (Former MP, Odododiodio), and other senior officials form the Ministry of Information and National Orientation.

The tour took the team through to the inspection of sanitary facilities at the Kinbu Gardens, La Agyeman, and Kakasunaka in Tema. It also included an inspection of Ghana @50Housing Projects at La Wireless, The AU Village at Ridge, and the VVIP Lounge at the Kotoka International Airport.

At the Kinbu Gardens, the Project Manager of the sanitary facility intimated that projects of similar nature were under construction nationwide, with four in Accra alone. He said most of them were about 60-75% complete.

The 22 - seater Kakasunaka sanitary facility, which has almost all its inner parameters tiled, has been painted. The project is almost complete. On the unwelcome stench that has engulfed the facility, the Tema Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. David Annang, who conducted newsmen round said the area is a swampy one. The use of the area as a landfill site is therefore a deliberate attempt to fill the area, which will later be covered with laterite.

The La Agyeman sanitary facility has 16 closets, 15 wash basins, 7 urinal pots. The Project, which commenced on April 22, is expected to be completed within a month, pending the disbursement of their remaining funds.

The entourage made a stop-over at the La market where the Minister interacted briefly with some of the traders, who were so joyous in witnessing such a scene, especially when it was not elections time.

At La wireless, one could not help but marvel at the splendor and beauty of the landscape and thoughtfulness of the developers as the team were led down the Osagyefo Boulevard down to the office of an official of the Secretariat, Mr. Francis Dadzie who conducted them round. There were 103 housing units, all completed, with the Ghana @50 Secretariat owning 30 of them, as well as all the furnishings in the remaining apartments, something the Secretariat intends to offer as equity in the sale of the ones owned by the private sector. Mr. Dadzie seized the opportunity to correct reports in the media that the Ghana @50 stake in the estate is on sale. He minced no words when stated that there has been no official decision yet on the issue. He hinted that it is the private sector that has started disposing off part of its stakes in the area. The facilities are just magnificent.

The ambience, splendor, and grandeur that greeted the team as it was ushered into the ultra-modern and prestigious Ministerial and Presidential VVIP suites at the Kotoka International Airport cannot pass without comment. What an edifice? The Minister tasked journalists and the public to desist from tagging such areas as restricted zones, and to rather feel free to visit there by simply seeking authorisation from the appropriate quarters. The lounge confirmed that Ghanaians are indeed championing African Excellence, in ushering in dignitaries to the country in such a serene and cozy environment. Any dignitary who visits the new VVIP will attest to the much touted hospitality of Ghanaians and indeed the magnitude of the work undertaken by the Ghana@50 Secretariat.

The final stop was the AU Village at Ridge. The facility was among those that were used for the AU Summit. There were thirty (30) completed, well furnished housing units. Each has five bedrooms, 2 living rooms, dinning rooms, well furnished kitchen, etc. As we were led round by project manager, workers could still be seen doing minor maintenance works on the site.

At the end of the tour, in one of the rooms, pressmen had the chance to interact with the Minister and her entourage, on their impressions of the entire tour. So overwhelming was the sight that a journalist from the Ghanaian Voice Newspaper remarked that “to some extent the allegations about the misuse of funds are baseless”

In winding up the tour, the Information and National Orientation Minister admonished the pressmen around to tell the story as they came to see for themselves and disabuse the misconceptions that the taxpayer’s monies voted for the Ghana @50 activities were used for jamborees.

On his part, Mr. Andrews Awuni stressed that there were tangible things to show as legacies for Ghana @50. This, to him, include the inspected facilities at La wireless, Ridge, the VVIP at the KIA, as well as over 50 rest stops, regional jubilee parks, sanitary facilities, and other projects across the country. He noted that this is a deviation from the past, for example Ghana @40 where but for the anniversary cloth, all is history. He disclosed that the gains and intrinsic values to be derived from the facilities far outweigh the expenditure on them. Mr. Awuni advised media personnel to visit project sites before making a fuss about them, more so when it was easily within their reach to do so.