The chiefs and people of Effutu (Winneba) in the Effutu municipality of the Central Region, at the weekend climaxed the celebration of their annual Aboakyer (deer hunt) festival with a call for unity among the people for the development of the area.
The anxious crowd who thronged the durbar grounds had to wait until 12:15 pm when the Dentsifo (Number Two Asafo Company) emerged with a catch that sent the crowd into an ecstatic jubilation.
In accordance with rituals associated with the festival, the Tufuhen, Neenyi Otubua Siripi II, stepped on the captured deer to signify its acceptance.
This year’s festival was on the theme, “Unity: Key to development”.
Earlier, in the day, there was a rumour that a group had caught a deer and was in the process of presenting it to the Paramount Chief of the area, Neenyi Ghartey, which prompted the police to move swiftly to the chief’s palace to cordon the area to prevent any form of presentation and subsequent reaction from the people.
There were reports that the Tuafo Asafo Two company on hearing about the presence of the police, changed their course and moved to the shrine where they handed over the deer.
Neenyi Ghartey VII had, over the past years, been prevailed upon not to be present at the durbar grounds during the festival to avoid any disturbances as a result of a chieftaincy dispute in the area.
The usual euphoria associated with the celebration of the festival seemed to have affected patronage of the festival due to rivalries and disputes which always resurface when a date is fixed and preparation for the celebration for the festival commences.
The Central Regional Minister, Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, addressing the durbar, noted that the disputes always drained the resources of the assembly in series of Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) and Regional Security Council (REGSEC) meetings as well as ensuring adequate security during and after the festival.
He said the resources could have been used to package the festival into an international tourism product that would help in bringing the needed economic benefits to the people of the area.
He urged the people of Effutu to strive in finding solutions to their differences and explained that it was not ideal for them to mar the celebration of such a unique festival for the needed tourism promotion.
Mr Quansah noted that without unity, the development of the town would be truncated and reiterated the determination of the Regional Coordinating Council to meet the factions in the dispute to iron out their differences.
On development projects, he mentioned ongoing expansion of water supply to newly developed areas in the town, construction of an abattoir which, he said, was 95 per cent complete, among other projects.
The Tufuhen of Effutu traditional area, Neenyi Otubua Siripi II, commended MUSEC and REGSEC for their contributions towards the celebrations of this year’s ‘Aboakyer’.
He appealed to the Regional Minister to leave no stone unturned to facilitate a peaceful resolution to the chieftaincy dispute in Winneba.
He urged the government to facilitate the construction of a market complex at Winneba Junction and the establishment of an oil refinery at Effutu Gyangyanadze which was promised by the President.
He further appealed to the government to construct a community senior high school to support the existing senior high school within Efuttuman saying, “The community school will serve as one of the conduits to poverty alleviation process directly or indirectly”.
He asked the people of Effutu to be focused and work towards the attainment of peace and unity needed for the development and transformation of the area.
“I cherish that with unity and collective sense of purpose, we shall build on our achievement of the past and look forward to a happy and brighter life,” he said.
From David O. Yarboi-Tetteh,