The Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies (UPS), Professor Anthony K. Ahiawodzi, has stressed the need for chiefs to undergo some form of formal education to enable them to serve as agents of development in the society.
He said the critical role of chiefs in the society required that they acquired knowledge in areas such as Information and Communications Technology (ICT), to enable them use modern technologies like social media to engage their people.
Prof. Ahiawodzi was speaking at the opening of a four-day seminar organised for chiefs by the Otumfuo Centre for Traditional Leadership (OCTL), at UPS in Accra yesterday.
The seminar aimed at creating a platform for the traditional rulers to share ideas and experiences, with the view of coming out with policies that would strengthen the chieftaincy institution.
The seminar covers topics on legal issues, leadership and governance, and ICT, among others, to equip them with leadership skills.
Prof. Ahiawodzi noted that chiefs held the key to the country’s political development saying, “anytime politicians need any information on how to engage or relate with people in a particular society, they fall on their chiefs”.
He said the country could not develop as it should if citizens continued to disregard the importance of traditional rulers in the society.
The Pro-Vice Chancellor said traditional rulers had a lot to offer in terms of maintenance of peace and order, protection of the country’s culture and preservation of its heritage.
The Director of OCTL, Lepowura M.N.D Jawula, noted that the role of chiefs in the socio-economic development of the society could not be underestimated, and stressed the need for chiefs to be given “their right place in the country”.
“People still think the country is not under the leadership of chiefs. They think it is under the leadership of political parties, though the political leaders run to chiefs for advice and votes,” he said.
He said that people like Yaa Asantewa and the Fante Confederation fought the colonial masters to protect their heritage which, in the end, contributed to the attainment of the country’s independence.
He said although the National House of Chiefs had been established for the chiefs, they lacked the necessary resources to enable them to contribute effectively to the development of the country.
Lepowura Jawula stressed the need for chiefs to be well educated on a wide range of issues, to enable them to lead in the development of their communities.
By Yaw Kyei & Jennifer Apprey