The ceremony, held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), saw 14 personalities and one institution picking awards witnessed by dignitaries including former President Jerry John Rawlings, former First Lady Mrs. Theresa Kufour, ministers of state, and members of the diplomatic corps.
The award recipients were from various fields of endeavour, including sports, medicine, literature, education and autism, rural-urban development, entertainment, science and mathematics, peace, democratic governance, agriculture and food, arts, tradition and culture, climate change and international development.
They included investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who received an award in the democratic governance: Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Despite Group of Companies, Osei Kwame ‘Despite’ entrepreneurship; the founder of the Autism Awareness, and Care Training Institute in Accra, Ms. Serwah Quayeson, education and autism.
Playwright James Ebo Whyte shared the literature award with poet and fellow playwright, Prof. Kofi Anyidoho; Inventions and Innovation was won by the founder of the Margins Group, Mr. Moses Baiden and Peace went to a couple, Dr. and Mrs. Brenda Mensah, co-founders of the Ghana Rural Integrated Development.
The CEO of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Dr. Kwaku Ohene Frimpong, and Psychiatrist Prof. Joseph Asare received the award for Medicine; renowned academician Prof. Victor Gadzekpo, mathematics and science; and the late Francis Yartey, Arts, Tradition and Culture.
Dr. Samuel Dapah and Prof. S.K.A Danso were awarded for Agriculture and
Food Sustainability Development; DANIDA received the International Development Partner award; Dr. Seth Osafo, a legal advisor to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, was honoured in the Climate and Environment category.
Mr. Kofi Asare picked the Rural Urban Development award, athlete Martha Bissah and motivational speaker Emmanuel Ofori Ababio received the awards for Sports, Inspirational Motivation and Leadership categories respectively.
Speaking at the event, Life Patron of the Millennium Excellence Foundation, organisers of the awards, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, bemoaned that fact the media, particularly radio and television, were devoting more airtime to politicians than for lifetime achievers who could transform people’s lives, given such opportunity.
“Ghana is turning into a political country and that is not good,” he observed. “We use the media to talk about politics 24 hours a day for the whole year. I would suggest that we use the last three months of every election year to talk about politics and use the remaining period to invite the heroes and heroines we are celebrated tonight to come on our radio and TV shows to talk about medicine, climate change and the rest. That would be beneficial to our development.”
He saluted the awardees for their exemplary achievements in their various endevours and applauded them especially for sacrificing themselves to doing things that inures to general good rather than themselves.
Guest speaker, Flt-Lt. Rawlings, in his speech, was saddened by, what he described as, the non-existence of patriotism in Ghanaians.
Speaking passionately with his usual gestures to emphasise his points, the former President said public officials were so corrupt that citizens have also emulated and are also doing same.
He noted that corruption had dug so deep into people that society had now accepted it as the norm while they regard anyone who dares to be different as either weird or abnormal.
Flt-Lt. Rawlings said it was time officialdom turned a new leave to positively impact on the citizens since the persistence of corruption could spark disaster and lead people into becoming militants and terrorists.
“Let us not take the prevailing peace in the country for granted. Let us not think that we cannot have terrorists here in Ghana. It is corruption and high level poverty that breeds such people. We should tackle corruption from the top so it would trigger to the down but if we leave it as it is then we could be in for trouble.”
Flt-Lt. Rawlings lamented over the rising occurrences of terrorism and said it would continue to escalate if the western world did not stop, what he described as, ‘their unjust prosecution for Palestine’.
He thanked the award winners for impacting on the society and said they should be encouraged by the recognition given them to do more to achieve more for the society they serve.
From Kingsley E. Hope & Gideon Botwe, Kumasi