The Chiefs and people of Bongo in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region has launched the annual “Azambene” fire festival in Accra.
The festival, which attracts friends and well-wishers, is celebrated to commemorate the creation of the present Bongo, thus marking the inheritance of the land from Busasis, the original owners of the land.
It provides an opportunity where chiefs, queen mothers and the entire district come together to reflect on issues of development and also as a platform to fight indiscipline and indecent practices as well institute good programmes and policies in the interest of the district.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Culture Re-awakened to Support Youth in Education”.
Bonaba Baba Salifu Alemyaarum, Paramount Chief of Bongo, said the festival for centuries was celebrated only in Bongo, adding that “for the past six years it had assumed a district character and celebrated in a modernized way.”
He said the launch of festival in the national capital ‘Accra’ this year was done with the hope to find at least a sizable representation of all the communities under the Bongo District.
Bonaba Alemyaarum said through the festival, Bongo had done a lot to preserve the environment.
He said the traditional council had been transformed into a community based organization, which had benefited from the United Nations Development Programme Small Bongo for Grants Support to promote tree planting.
Bongo district is one of the deprived districts in the Upper East Region. A survey in the district had revealed the inability of most parents to meet the high cost of education of their children resulting in low human resource base in the district and retarding development.
Bonaba Alemyaarum said since the festival assumed a distract character, a lot of success had been achieved and that there were challenges as well.
He said the fund also supported the renovation of a sports arena for the district team following its qualification into the division one league last year and needed befitting sports arena for its home matches.
He said there was an ongoing process to established a community radio and that all the villages were committed to contributing to towards achieving that .
Bonaba Alemyaarum said the festival was the only source of funding and was woefully inadequate to meet the increasing demands of students been sponsored.
He said information and education was key to development and that the unavailability of a radio station in the district was retarding the progress of development.
Mr Albert Abongo, Member of Parliament for Bongo, said education was the bedrock of every country and that the introduction of the educational fund in the traditional area was in the right direction.
He said the outreach celebration of the festival would help sensitize the people and also make provision for people outside the district to contribute their quota for development.
Mr Clement Akugry, District Chief Executive of Bongo, said another reason for the launch in Accra was to market the culture of the people of Bongo.
He said the theme of the celebration was in line with the District Assembly’s programme, which was to ensure that every village had a school. Since his assumption as DCE, he said, the Assembly had put up 52 classrooms blocks.
Mr Akugrey said the district had no standard hospital and that it was depending on the chip zone clinics, which was a source of worry to the people. He added that Assembly was working with the Ministry of Health to construct a district hospital.
He said because geographically the district is located in a rocky area, it was making commercial farming difficult for the people.