By Gifty Arthur
The Planning Committee of this year’s Asogli State Yam Festival by the chiefs and people of the Asogli State in Ho – Volta Region, has promised citizens and non-citizens, far and near, a very memorable celebrations as the annual event inches closer.
This year’s celebration, begins from Saturday August 22, 2015 with the exploration of the now famous Galenkui Mountain, climaxing it with a grand durbar of chiefs on Saturday, September 19, 2015.
At press launch and stakeholders forum in Accra, last Wednesday, the Asogli State Yam Festival 2015 Planning Committee (ASYF), said there were many unforgettable
programmes earmarked for this year’s celebration, and assured celebrants, they would have a time of their life.
It is a notorious fact that, the reign of the Agbogbomefia, Togbe Afede XIV, has not only brought lot of exposure and international recognition to the Asogli State, Ho the regional capital, but a state of the art public university; the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), in Ho.
The Committee’s chairman for the month-long festival, Brig. Gen. Koku. Ahiaglo (Rtd), noted that under the able leadership of the Agbogbomefia, Togbe Afede XIV, the festival which “used to be a one way thing”, has seen tremendous transformation, and restructured over the past ten years, making it one of the best events on the Ghanaian calendar.
Brig. General Ahiaglo (Rtd), drew the attention of the gathering which included chiefs, queen mothers, institutions, sponsors, indigenes of the state and corporate organizations to the significance of the festival among which includes, offering prayers to the gods of the land for bumper harvest of their staple crop yam (‘ete’ in Ewe), good health and also to foster unity among the indigenes.
He said, the festival which in decade past, has been designed to actively involve men, women, youth, and children, has offered opportunities to patrons to experience the rich culture and tradition of the Asogli State of Ho.
It also provides an opportunity for celebrants to enjoy good traditional music, dance, story-telling, among others. It is also a platform to reconcile and forgive families and friends, who in the course of the year acted wrongly.
Highlights of the four-week programme includes: essay and quiz competitions, clean-up exercises prominent among them will be the one at Ho Cemetery, health walk, lectures, pilgrimage to Notse, street jams, weighing of yam contests, health screening, soccer gala, women’s day celebration, cooking competition, and pilgrimage to the ancestral home of Asogli in Notsie in the Republic of Togo, were all enumerated.
On Saturday September 19, 2015, the climax of the festival, the committee said, there would be a grand durbar of chiefs sitting in state with the Agbogbomefia, Togbe Afede XIV at Ho. This would be attended by people from all walks of life including, politicians.
He heaped praises on Togbe Afede for the “sterling leadership” qualities shown over the past years by uniting all the paramount chiefs of the state, leading to development and harmony for the people of the area and those outside.
Dufia of Ho Heve, Togbe Anikpi III, aside inviting all and sundry to be part of the event, described the festival as an “important homecoming” for the Asoglis and called for the support of all towards a successful celebration.
He also assured patrons of a peaceful event, noting that security would be tightened to check the recent armed robbery cases recorded in the Volta regional capital.
“We welcome all of you to celebrate with us”, he said.
Togbe Anikpi, reiterated that the Asogli Festival was celebrated to foster unity through forgiveness and reconciliation, adding that it also served as an annual re-affirmation of allegiance by all chiefs and their subjects in the Asogli state to the Agbogbome stool.
Deputy Minister for Tourism Culture and Creative Arts, Dzifa Gomashie, commended organizers and sponsors for the event, and assured them of her presence during the festive occasion.
She described this year’s theme, “All hands on deck…Harnessing the full potential of the Asogli State for accelerated development”, as “…a profound statement and a call to duty”.
She added that it is “call to stand up for the state and be counted. It is recognition of the need for each one of us to do our part as responsible citizens with one destiny, one goal and one purpose. It is a call for all shoulders to come together to turn the wheel of change for accelerated development”.
She said, the festival was an opportunity for citizens of the region to “drop everything and anything that divide us and look at what binds us. We are called to bring our resources, both material and human to the table where development and progress are the agenda to be discussed and plan on the best strategy to bring it to fruition.”
She announced her ministry’s preparedness to support the celebration through it fourteen agencies by providing expertise on how the district and municipal assemblies can maximize the potential in the region as far as the development of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts are concerned.
Chief Executive of Premier Events Promotion, Nanahemaa Adjoa Awindor, who presented in detail the festival’s programme, activities and sponsorship packages, invited all especially, corporate organizations to come to their aid by way of sponsorship, donation of all kinds.
She announced that, there were allocations for organizations that want a platform to market or sell their products during the event. Also present at the launch was the Columbia’s Ambassador to Ghana, Claudia Torbay, who confirmed her intention to take part in the festival next month.
The celebration of the Yam Festival by the Asoglis was brought down from Notsie, where it is still celebrated.