Obama arrives in Ghana, begins business today
US President Barack Obama arrived in Accra Friday night July 10, 2009 to a warm proverbial Ghanaian “Akwaaba” to begin his momentous two-day visit, his first to a sub-Saharan African nation since assuming office.
The US Presidential jet, Air Force One, which is making its third call to the Kotoka International Airport, after President Bill Clinton (1998) and President George W. Bush (2008), touched down around 2105 hours.
Moments later, a brimming President Obama accompanied by his wife Michelle, their two daughters, Malia and Sasha, and a 50-member delegation, came out of the aircraft to euphoric cheers.
There were moving scenes at the airport as President John Evans Atta Mills, resplendent in a smock and his wife Naadu, in a wax kaba cloth, approached the gangway to receive the US first family.
Nadei Okaikoi, eight-and-half years old class three pupil of ALSYDS Academy, presented a bouquet to President Obama.
The US president and his wife and children, full of smiles, were introduced to the welcoming party which included politicians from across the political divide, including Nana Akufo-Addo, the losing presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The festive atmosphere was enhanced by a dancing troupe from the National Dance Company whose Coordinator, Mr George Lamptey, said they were performing heraldic dances meant to welcome the august visitor and his family and make them feel at home.
President Obama savoured the moment by taking a few steps to the “fontonfrom” beat and encouraged his wife, who was then walking with Mrs Mills, to join in dancing to the beat.
A large crowd of youth wearing Obama T-shirts defied intermittent showers as they lined parts of the street to the airport to welcome the US President.
Ghana’s romanticism and optimism of President Obama’s visit has to do with his personal triumphs as these have to do with Ghana’s own progression as a democratic state in a largely politically chaotic continent.
There was heavy security presence and roads leading to the airport were sealed off yet this did not dampen the enthusiasm of people who came out as the motorcade made its way out of the airport.
Foreign Minister Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni said President Obama lived up to government’s expectation as an inspirer.
He said the US president’s whole demeanour at the welcoming ceremony was exhilarating and he lived up to the billing as an inspirer.
Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said everything went well, describing it as “spotless”.
Business for the visit begins on Saturday July 11, with a special welcoming ceremony at the Castle, where he would hold closed-door bilateral talks with President Mills.
President Obama would then be hosted to a big breakfast for about 300 guests, including former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor, as well as the presidential contestants of the 2008 elections, leadership of the religious bodies, traditional councils, civil society and business community.
President Obama would then pay a brief visit to the La General Hospital in Accra, before moving to the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), where Parliament would be convened to hear his formal address.
While at the AICC, President Obama would make a major policy statement that is expected to redefine America’s relationship with Africa.
In line with his earlier pronouncements that his presidency would seek to assist Africa to reach the point where its citizens would be proud to stay and work on the continent, he would be expected, through his policy statement in Ghana, to set the tone for equal partnership between America and Africa, just like he has done elsewhere.
The major address ends President Obama’s official activities in Accra.
He then moves to Cape Coast, the capital city of the Central Region, where he would be welcomed by Vice President John Dramani Mahama and given a private tour of the Cape Coast Castle.
President Obama and his wife would be expected to go through the emotional experience at the gate of no return, after which he would call on chiefs and people of Cape Coast and Mrs. Obama would be enstooled a Queen mother.
He would then depart for the KIA where he and his host would give brief remarks before he boards Air Force One back to the United States.
IF YOU ARE FAITHFUL IN LITTLE, GOD WILL MAKE YOU RULER OVER MANY so the bible says. This is a golden opportunity for AFRICA to seize the moment, turn to the right path of good and accountable governance, and leave behind the curse of the past. If ALL AFRICANS listens then the future is bright. IF after OBAMA’s policy statement, AFRICANS do not follow suit, then the CURSE will continue to be upon us. YES WE CAN. in the name of the LORD.