Graduation Ceremony of Skillful Training Programme

GRADUATION CEREMONY OF THE GRADUANTS OF THE SKILLFUL TRAINING PROGRAMME DUBBED; VIKINGS VACATION CAMPUS COURSE.                

VENUE:MENSAH SARBAH HALL_ UNIVERSITY OF GHANADATE: FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 2019  

The Vikings Vacation Campus Course(V.V.C.C)initiative was born out of the idea of the Alumni President of the Mensah Sarbah Hall; His Eminence Francis Albert Seth Nyonyo who also fully financed the programme through his reputable N.G.O;  Nyonyo Foundation. Organized by the Mensah Sarbah Hall Alumni Association, the Vikings Vacation Campus Course (V.V.C.C) aims to address the need for practical learning to complement the theory taught in various institutions. A total number of 57 students registered for the program of which 48 were students from the University of Ghana (Mensah Sarbah Hall). The remaining nine (9) participants however, were not students from the University of Ghana. The programme lasted for a period of one (1) month, commencing on 20th December 2018 and ending on 20th January 2019.

Below listed are the training courses covered:

  • Journalism (Print and Electronic)/Public Speaking/Acting
  • Online Marketing
  • Lightening
  • Make-up; Special effects, Beautification
  • Video Editing/Photography/Graphic Design/Animation

During the one month period, His Eminence Francis Nyonyo twice (2) met the students to interact and find out what they had learnt so far; thus the knowledge and skills they had acquired from the program and to also encourage them to keep working hard. 

A graduation ceremony was duly held on Friday, January 25, 2019 for the fifty-seven (57) Graduands of the Vikings Vacation Campus Course (VVCC) at the premises of the Mensah Sarbah Hall.                                                                                 

The Dignitaries present were;

  • His Eminence Francis Nyonyo; President of the Mensah Sarbah Hall Alumni Association,
  •  Professor Dan Bright; Mensah Sarbah Hall Master;
  •  Mr. AlhajiSaddick; Programme Coordinator,
  •  Mrs. Ruth; Mensah Sarbah Hall Secretary,
  •  Mr. AselikAgoba; Programme Supervisor. 

Mr. Saddick gave an opening speech to introduce His Eminence Francis Nyonyo and to welcome the students to the ceremony.

His Eminence Francis Nyonyo addressed the gathering briefly after which the Hall master and Mr. Saddick joined to present the certificates to the graduands.

 

JHS Bock In Deplorable, Deadly State

At the time that the government of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is shouting from the rooftops to have successfully cleared all schools sitting under trees across the length and breadth of the country, one school that goes beyond sitting under trees, considering the dilapidating structure of its building is the Wassa Manhyia D.A. Junior High School, located in Amenfi Central in the Western Region.

The school is believed to be the only educational institution that serves Junior High School (JHS) 1-3 students from about six communities and villages dotted around Wassa Manhyia.  But the sorry and sordid state of the school has led to parents withdrawing their wards from for farming activities instead.

In fact, considering the dilapidated structures of the school, parents have no option than to withdraw their wards for farming activities, for the simple reason that the lives of their wards were at risk, a teacher told this paper.

Information available to The Chronicle indicates that for the last four years since government officials cut the sod to renovate the school, the project had been abandoned, as the contractor could not be traced.  Considering the dangerous-looking structure of the school, the authorities are left with no other option than to close for lessons when the rain begins.

“In rainy seasons, we do not open for school at all, because our roofing is bad and porous,” the teacher told with this paper.  The Assembly Member for the Srae Eyeayie Electoral Area, Raphael Messiah Akuebilla, in whose jurisdiction the dilapidated school structure sits, confirmed the situation in an interview with The Chronicle.

He told this reporter that he was a worried man because the future of the children of his electoral area was being toiled with by this government. To him, every children of school-going age deserved to have a conducive environment and structure to sit in to study.

However, the opposite was the case in his electoral area. “In fact, in my electoral area, the education of the pupils is being toiled with, and this makes me a worried Assembly Member.”  Assembly Member Akuebilla told this reporter that his worry stemmed from the fact that parents were withdrawing their wards from school for farming activities for fear that the structure housing the students could, at anytime, collapse on them.

1Akuebilla confirmed that since four years ago when government officials, including the Amenfi Central District Assembly, cut the sod to renovate the structure, the contractor of the project could not be traced.  He said that he followed up to the District Assembly and lodged a formal complaint on the need to hurriedly save the dilapidated school structure from collapsing on the students.

The District Assembly, according to the Assembly Member, told him the same story – that the contractor could not be found.  Worried over the dilapidated structure, Assembly Member Akuebilla, also known as ‘RAM’, told this paper he followed up to the District Education Directorate, but there was no help coming from there.

Don’t rely on gov’t work alone to make a living

From Samuel Agbewode

A 63 year old retired Civil Servant, Mr. Eric Tetteh, has called on civil servants to invest in agriculture, especially cocoa farming, which would serve as the foundation for a better life when they finally retire from government work.

He further cautioned them against depending on government work until they retire.

Mr. Tetteh observed that many people retired from government work, only to start a new life full of hardship, due to lack of planning towards their retirement period.

They only depended on their salaries without investing in any lucrative business such as cocoa farming, to enable them to lead healthier and economically viable life.

The 63 year old man, who retired as a civil servant from the Ghana Cocoa Board, said it was time civil servants prepare adequately towards the future, stressing that he (Mr. Tetteh), as soon as he was employed in the government sector, he bought farmland, where he went into cocoa cultivation, and as at the time he went on retirement, he could boast of 10 acres, which generates income for him in addition to his salary.

Speaking to the media at Akpafu-Kokoame, where his 10 acres of cocoa farm is located, he said farming should be seen as a serious business, which was more lucrative than any other activity, with its additional health benefits.

He stated that saying cocoa farming seemed to be more economically viable than any other work, and encouraged those in the government sector to invest in agriculture to enable them to live a more comfortable life upon retirement.

Mr. Tetteh said, even though he initially started benefitting from the proceeds of his cocoa farm, he had recognised that it served a more important purpose for him after retirement, by helping him address economic and health needs.

He noted that without active involvement in agriculture, which served as major income generation after retirement, life would have been more difficult.

Mr. Tetteh who was a Chief Technical Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board, stressed that “there is money in the soil, but many people did not want to get money through farming,” and appealed to the youth to embrace agriculture.

He noted that the country was endowed with fertile land, but unfortunately, the willingness to use the land to help transform the socioeconomic wellbeing of the people was lacking, which had contributed to the increasing youth unemployment situation in the country.

He suggested that the only way to address the unemployment challenges was to make agriculture more attractive to the youth.

Mr. Tetteh continued that though the government was supporting agriculture, a lot more needed to be done to attract many people to the sector, with emphasis on the youth.

He stressed that farm imputes such as fertilisers being provided by the government to cocoa farmers ought to be commended, and appealed to the government to provide farmers, particularly cocoa farmers, with loan facilities, since the cultivation of cocoa was labour and capital intensive.

Mr. Tetteh mentioned motorised spraying machine on cocoa farm as being very expensive, and called for the government’s assistance.

He said, for example, the motorised spraying machine cost GH¢1,900, which was very difficult for many farmers to purchase, therefore, government’s support in that direction would be appreciated.

He added that a lot of the youth were interested in farming, but lack of money to embark on it was a major factor that discouraged many.

Mr. Tetteh said, as an experienced agriculture personnel, he and his colleagues on retirement were prepared to avail themselves to farmers to be educated on modern farming practices that would promote farming activities without any difficulty, and urged the youth to seek the relevant advice from agricultural experts to enable them go into commercial farming.

According to Mr. Tetteh, many farmers only practice subsistent farming, which did not have the capacity to address their financial problems, thereby making it more difficult for such farmers to recognise the economic viability of farming, and urged those interested in farming, particularly the youth, to go into commercial farming to enable them to derive its maximum benefits.

Mr. Tetteh noted that being a commercial farmer has many advantages apart from the financial benefits especially cocoa farmers, their children stand the opportunity of schooling on scholarship which also helped in relieving such parents of the payment of school fees as monies that would be used to pay school fees would be used to address other problems.

He however decried the situation where cocoa farmers smuggle cocoa to neighbouring countries such as the Republic of Togo, because the huge investment being made by government should be considered, and a stop put to the practice.

In a related development, another civil servant still in active serve, Mr. Stephen Kwesi Dogbe, a native of Santrokofi,  has also invested in 8 acres of cocoa farm at Santrokofi, also in the Hohoe Municipality, and has called on the youth to take advantage of available opportunities in agriculture, particularly cocoa farming, to create wealth for themselves.

Mr. Dogbe explained to the media at Santrokofi that he decided to go into commercial farming, in addition to the government work, because the salary alone was not sufficient to address the needs of his family, and asked people in active government work to invest in agriculture to enable them live meaningful lives, even upon retirement.

He explained that as a civil servant, he only works on the cocoa farm during weekends, and employs four labourers to support him.

He said the added proceeds from the cocoa farm was making it possible for him and the family to live a meaningful life, and stressed the need for government workers to put their skills into more productive areas than regular office duties.

Mr. Dogbe mentioned the periodic labour that cocoa farmers employ to work on the farms, which, he noted, was expensive, as well as the black pod disease that farmers had to face and deal with to save the farms periodically, as major problems facing farmers, and called for government’s support finically to aid farming activities, particularly in cocoa cultivation.

Akatsi North Strategises To Promote Rapid Development

From Samuel Agbewode
3The Akatsi North District has strategised to promote the rapid development of the area, as it celebrates the 4th anniversary of the creation of the district, which would be used to showcase achievements over the past four years.
The Assembly would also use the 4th Anniversary celebration to promote the rich cultural heritage of the people that has helped in the promotion of peace, unity, as well as improved socioeconomic activities.

It is also to market the tourism potentials in the district to attract investors and tourists to improve on the Internally Generated Fund (IGF) to enable the Assembly carry out more development projects.

Addressing the 2nd Ordinary Meeting of the Assembly at the district capital, Ave-Dakpa, the District Chief Executive for the area, Mr. James Gunu, noted that the creation of the district was one of the important developments in the history of the people, because it had helped in bringing the much-needed development to the people since its creation.

Mr. Gunu, who was very delighted at the numerous developments achieved over the past four years, commended the chiefs, assembly members, religious leaders and the staff of the Assembly for their hard work and cooperation that culminated in the current developments being experienced in the area, and assured the people that more development projects were being executed.

The DCE noted that the district was endowed with a lot of resources which could be harnessed to fully benefit the people, particularly, in the areas of tourism and agriculture, saying the necessary efforts would be made to ensure that local resources would be put to effective use to develop the numerous socioeconomic potential.

Mr. Gunu, at this juncture, stressed that one major tourism potential in the District was the crocodile pond at Ave-Dakpa, for which the Assembly was putting in place measures to develop.

He, therefore, proposed the formation of both male and female football teams with the names “The Forest Crocodiles” for the males, and “Crocodile Ladies” for the females to help in marketing the crocodile pond and the District.

The crocodile pond, which is being developed, according to the DCE, would be named after the late Prof. J. E. A Mills and would be called Atta Mills Crocodile Pond, as way of honouring the late President, because it was during his regime that the Akatsi North District was created.

Mr. Gunu continued that the Assembly would continue to play a leading role in development activities in the area, and that was the reason why the Assembly came up with “Operation One Project, One Month”, which was aimed at completing and inaugurating at least one project every month in its communities which was progressing steadily.

The DCE explained that the project to complete and inaugurate one project in a month was a development strategy, dubbed “triple jump” development skills and tools, which was ‘hop, step and jump’, to ensure that the development needs of the people were properly addressed, which was in the development plan of the District.

Mr. Gunu pointed out that, every Assembly, to achieve its development target, would largely depend on the support it receives from the people, particularly, in honouring their tax obligations.

He revealed that the Assembly budgeted to collect GH¢122,943 tax in 2016, and as at 31st May 2016, a total of GH¢48,344.53 was collected, which was a clear indication that the people were paying their taxes.

2He, therefore, commended the people for paying their taxes regularly, stressing that local governance largely depends on the internally generated funds for development, and that development at the local level would only become meaningful, if the people live up to their tax responsibilities, and asked those who have not been paying taxes to turn a new leaf and support ongoing development activities in the area.

The DCE said the taxes being paid were properly used to provide the development needs of the people, such as the building of health facilities, educational infrastructure, District Assembly’s own initiated School Feeding Programme, which he noted, was fast attracting more children to basic schools in the area, and urged parents to take advantage of the programme to send their wards to school.

Mr. Gunu said the Assembly had taken up the issue of agriculture in the District more seriously to ensure that it becomes very attractive to the people, especially, the youth, to enable them to produce enough to feed the people in the area and beyond, as well as generate more income for them.

He said, as part of efforts to promote agriculture, the Assembly has developed a programme to subsidise fertiliser for farmers to solve the problem of non-availability that characterises farming activities in the area and which would no longer be experienced during farming seasons.

1He announced that the District was promoting irrigation farming, through the use of a dam at Ave-Afiadenyigba, to encourage farmers to go into all-year farming, particularly, in the area of vegetable cultivation, which has an existing market, and would definitely boost the income generation of the people, and improve on their standard of living.

The Akatsi DCE announced that the District Assembly had established a Local Economic Development Fund (LED) to assist petty traders in the District to expand their business activities.

He also stated that the Management Committee formed to disburse the Fund has not started the disbursements, and when started would definitely help boost business activities in the district.

The Assembly, as part of its policy to promote local governance and to ensure transparency, invited chiefs and opinion leaders to the meeting, which saw a fruitful discussion that mostly bordered on how to promote the development of the Assembly rapidly in the near future, as it celebrates its 4th anniversary, and called for the strengthening of the existing cooperation between the various stakeholders and the Assembly.

Peki College Principal Lauds GETFund Projects

From Samuel Agbewode

1The Principal of the Peki College of Education, Mr. J.N.M. Baako, has appreciated the government’s efforts to address the infrastructure needs confronting the institution, through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) projects, however, he expressed concern about the slow pace of work.
Mr. Baako explained that the institution was in serious need of accommodation for both male and female students, and that a female hostel project under the GETFund was almost completed, but the slow pace of work remains a matter of concern to the school authorities.

Speaking to the media at Peki-Avetile, the Principal of the College explained that there was the need for the project to be completed early to pave way for the institution to admit new students, because the continuing students were facing challenges in the area of accommodation, as there is congestion in the hostels, particularly, the female ones.

Mr. Baako, therefore, urged the authorities to compel the contractor on the project to speed up work and complete the project. He continued that an auditorium project under the same GETFund, which started in 2012 and was expected to be completed in 2014, saw the contractor fencing the site and abandoning it, a situation that resulted in the project to being re-awarded to a new contractor, who is currently working on the it.

Mr. Baako said the authorities of the school were worried about the long delay in the execution of the auditorium project for the past two years, and hoped that the new contractor on the project world work hard to complete it. This would include offices for heads of the various departments, as currently the heads of departments are without offices.

The Site Engineer of Jins Construction Company Limited, the new contractor working on the auditorium project, Mr. Eric Nah, said, so far, the company was not facing any difficulties, while the school authorities were cooperating which made it possible for them to work effectively on the project, and hoped it would be completed by the end of 2016.

2Mr. Nah explained that the company would work hard to meet the expectations of the authorities, saying work had reached the filling level, and more than half of well compacted filling had been done, assuring the authorities that in the next one week, the filling would be completed and over-site concrete cast.

The Site Engineer pointed out that when completed, the modern auditorium would have the capacity to take 1,400 people, with an administration block, offices for the heads of departments, and staff common room, stressing that work on the project was fast progressing without any hindrance.

Re-Construction Of Hohoe Roads Begins

From Samuel Agbewode

3Residents of Hohoe have expressed joy over construction work currently being carried out on portions of the town roads, which, they said, even though has been long overdue, needs to be commended, because it would not only beautify the town, but also make motoring more comfortable.
According to the residents, the town roads were neglected for far too long, and had become very nasty during the rainy season, a development that compelled some taxi drivers to avoid using certain roads due to their bad nature, with those willing to ply them charging exorbitant fares.

Mr. Emmanuel Sogbey, speaking to Volta File at Hohoe, said the town is one of the commercial centers, and highly strategic in the socioeconomic development of the region, therefore, there was the need to improve upon the road infrastructure.

He observed that it was a common knowledge that when an election year begins, governments would always start new projects as a way of attracting more votes, and as soon as elections were over, the projects would be abandoned, and hoped that the Hohoe town roads would not become a victim of such politics.

Mr. Sogbey lauded the work of the contractor, John Mork Construction Limited, working on the Hohoe hospital area roads, and appealed to the authorities to award all the town roads to the contractor, in view of the seriousness he attached to the work, to ensure an early completion of the project.

Madam Veronica Atitsogbey commended the government for the project, saying even though work on the roads was expected long ago, she appreciated the commitment on the part of the government. Briefing the media, the Managing Director of John Mork Construction Company Limited, Mr. John Morkli, said his company was committed to working within the allotted time, and assured the people that within the next three weeks he would complete work on the Hohoe hospital area roads.

Mr. Morkli continued that his company had the capacity to construct all the town roads if awarded the contract, and commended the people for the cooperation that the company enjoys, stressing that his outfit would deliver to the satisfaction of the people.

Volta GNATLAS Supports Inmates Of Ho Central Prisons

The Volta Region Coordinator of the Ghana National Association of Teachers Ladies Society (GNATLAS), Nana Yaa Owiafe, says society is committed to promoting the growth and development of women to enable them to act decisively as they contribute their quota to national development.
Nana Yaa Owiafe said her outfit was concerned about issues that affect the growth of women, and as part of GNATLAS programmes in the region, would continue to extend support to women, particularly the less privileged in society, to encourage  them to lead lives that are worthy of emulation as they play their civic roles responsibly.

The GNATLAS Coordinator, who said this when the society presented food items and sanitary materials to the inmates of the female ward at the Ho Central Prisons, noted that the situation in which the inmates found themselves was very unfortunate, and urged them to use their current situation to learn to enable them effectively re-integrate into society when released.

Nana Yaa Owiafe explained that the gesture, which forms part of the International Women’s Day celebration by the Society, was dedicated to tackling problems confronting women in society, particularly on gender violence and discrimination that has the tendency of negatively impacting on the development of women.

The Regional Coordinator of GNATLAS observed that the upkeep of the inmates should be seen as a collective responsibility of all, which ought not to be left in the hands of the government alone. She also urged the inmates to allow the fear of God to dominate their lives, as well as be respectful to the prisons authority to enable them to receive the necessary training that would ensure that they would no longer commit similar offences that brought them to the prisons.

The Officer in Charge at the Ho Female Prisons, Superintendent Grace Allan-Ganyinah, thanked members of GNATLAS in the Volta Region for the gesture, which, she said, was timely, because it would go a long way to help in the upkeep of the inmates, and assured them that the items would be put to good use to serve the intended purpose.

Superintendent Allan-Gnyinah stressed that the inmates needed help, saying the GH¢1.80 a day, being the feeding fee for each of the inmates, is not adequate, therefore, the need for organised groups and organisations to complement the government’s efforts through regular support to the inmates.

Biakoye District Now Has A DCE

From Samuel Agbewode

The members of the Biakoye District Assembly have described His Excellency John Dramani Mahama as a listening President who pays attention to the concerns of the people and acts decisively, particularly, when members of the Assembly rejected his first nominee, Mr. Casmire Addo Mensah, from becoming the District Chief Executive for the area.
They also stressed the need for the President to be mindful of government officials who would mislead him into making crucial decisions like appointing people to the position of municipal and district chief executives, explaining that the case of the first nominee being rejected outright was an example of how people could mislead the President for their selfish gains.

The President’s first nominee only had 14 votes out of 42 total votes cast, as against 28 votes against him, which resulted in his outright rejection, thereby paving the way for the President to nominate Mr. William Sedor for the position.

The members of the Biakoye District Assembly spoke in an interview with The Chronicle at Nkonya-Ahenkro, after they confirmed Mr. William Sedor in an extraordinary assembly meeting. Mr. Sedor polled 36 out of the total votes of 43 cast, representing 86.3 percent, with 6 members against him and one rejected ballot.

The new District Chief Executive for Biakoye District was born in 1969 at Nkonya- Wurupong. He is a teacher by profession, a psychologist, holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration, and a staff of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) until his appointment. He is married with four children.

The Deputy Volta Regional Minister, Mr. Francis Ganyaglo, who was very elated, noted that the confirmation exercise formed part of the constitutional mandate of the assembly members. He further stated that the President had done much consultation before Mr. Sedor was nominated, which, he noted, led to the confirmation of the nominee.

Mr. Ganyaglo noted that the new DCE was a dynamic person with vast experience, and urged him, as a matter of importance, to initiate moves to build a modern assembly complex for the District. The Deputy Volta Regional Minister asked the DCE to serve as a unifier who would help in addressing the misunderstandings of the various groups in the area, and that he should involve all stakeholders in the decision-making process by consulting them before initiating major development projects to ensure the rapid development of the District.

Mr. Ganyaglo said the government was prepared to promote development activities in the Biakoye District now that the political head for the area was confirmed, but was quick to add that the DCE could not do it all alone, and called for cooperation from the assembly members and other stakeholders.

The Magistrate at the Kpando District Court, His Worship Seth Aduedem Alafa, who swore the new Biakoye DCE into office, administered the oath of allegiance and secrecy, and asked Mr. Sedor to adhere to the oaths he took, because a violation of any of them would lead to a bitter experience whilst in office.

The Omanhene of Nkonya-Wurupong, Nana Kwadwo Asiakwa, commended the new DCE on behalf of the chiefs in the district, and pledged their support to enable him work more effectively. He also called on the assembly members to cooperate with the DCE to help ensure the smooth administration of the district.

Mr. Sedor thanked the President for the honour done him, and also commended the assembly members for the confidence reposed in him, noting that he would not disappoint them, as he would work closely with them to help tackle the development concerns in the district.

Mr. Sedor said he would operate an open door administration that ensures people contribute meaningfully towards the development of the district, stressing on the need for the people to unite, since there could only be a meaningful development in a peaceful environment. The District Chief Executive’s position in the Biakoye District became vacant in 2015, as a result of the death of the occupant, Nana Akata Louis, after a short ailment.