A Communiqué of OKUSACA 2018 Odwira Celebration at Chicago, Illinois.
The Okuapemman Association of USA and Canada(OKUSACA) celebrated their 33rd Anniversary of its founding and Annual Odwira/Ohum festivities from August 31st to September 2nd, 2018 at the plush Holiday Inn Matteson Hotel Conference Center, 500 Holiday Plaza, Matteson(Chicago), Illinois. The Anniversary Theme was “Educating and Empowering Akuapem & Asuogya Youth to succeed in Today’s Info-Tech World. This Theme was chosen to enable OKUSACA focus and deliberate on issues that will encourage our Youth to improve and embrace the concepts of modern Technological Advancements.
Delegates from all the Chapters in the US and Canada started arriving at the convention center from Thursday, August 31, 2018 but the official convention activities started on Friday morning with the registration of Participants and distribution of Anniversary Documents and other handouts to officially usher in the opening ceremony. A record number of 450 participants were in attendance and this includes invited Dignitaries from the Government of Ghana as well as Traditional Rulers from Okuapemman and Asuogyaman in Ghana. This year’s OKUSACA Mid-Year Meeting of Delegates and Observers (ought to have been held at Washington DC in May, 2018 but re-scheduled) started in the morning of Friday, September 1, 2018. This meeting has a paramount objective of formulating, discussing and establishing policies for the implementation by the supreme body of the National Council and therefore imperative and obligatory for all Chapters to be adequately represented for deliberations. Mrs. Juliet Vanessa A. Badu-Dwomo, the Out-going National Coordinating Chairperson and Mr. Patrick OsBourne, the National Coordinating Secretary opened the meeting with a welcome message to the Delegates.
The Agenda which was very elaborate consisted of parts 1-6 covering items such as Roll-call; Reading and acceptance of previous meeting; Review of Matters arising from the previous minutes; Presidents’ state of their Chapters report; Appointments of Board of Trustees; Financial Report and Other matters.
Friday evening continued with a special dinner reception organized by the host Chapter as a welcome gesture. Later in the night, the teeming guests were treated to a Special Odwira/Ohum Fun/Sponsor Club entertainment night of Live JASS Band and Ginger Cocktail after the ceremonial opening, to welcome the participants.
OKUSACA General Conference, popularly known as Town Hall Meeting started on Saturday morning with our invited guests in attendance. Seated at the high table were some of our invited delegates from Ghana, namely; Hon. Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei, MP for Akuapem North Constituency and Deputy Minister of Information; Hon. Dennis Aboagye, Municipal Chief Executive for Akuapem North; Nana Saforo Okoampa III, Apiredihene and his entourage of Sub-Chiefs; Okofo Ayeh-Bekoe, Obosomasehene. Others were Nana Yirenkyi Bonsu, Chicago Okuapehene; Nana La-kumi Sasraku, Toronto Okuapehene; Paa Kwasi Sam, President of the Ghana National Council, Chicago; Col.(Rtd.) Prince Twumasi Ankrah, representing OKUSACA Board of Trustees; Mrs. Juliet Vanessa Badu-Dwomo, President(Ohio Chapter) & National Coordinating Chairperson representing OKUSACA National Council and Mr. Patrick OsBourne, representing OKUSACA National Secretariat. The Moderator in charge of the meeting was Mr. Daniel Ofori-Som, President of Minnesota Chapter & OKUSACA National Coordinating Chairman Elect.
After a brief welcoming address by the National Coordinating Chairperson, the moderator invited the keynote speaker and Akuapem North Municipal Chief Executive, Hon Dennis Aboagye, to deliver his message. His message centered on Youth Employment in Akuapem. He said gone are the days when Ghanaians in the Diaspora were called upon to remit money and other items to relatives and friends in Ghana periodically. He said the trend has changed because the Government is embarking on Youth employment drive and has acquired large tracts of land from Traditional Rulers for the purpose of making land acquisition much easier and reliable for industrial and other profitable infrastructural development. He therefore appealed to all Ghanaians in the Diaspora to invest in industrial projects that will provide employment for our Youth. The delegates and other participants were given the opportunity to ask questions related to his address and there were general contributions to the welfare of Akuapem in particular and Ghana as a nation.
The participants assembled again in the afternoon for a very colorful durbar of Chiefs and Queenmothers displaying cultural extravaganza to inculcate Ghanaian culture, particularly the Akuapem culture into the lives of members and to assimilate the culture into the fabric of our Diaspora children’s upbringing so that they can continue to appreciate our roots.” Fomtomfrom Drumming and Dancing” is a powerful way of communication and danced through an intricate set of steps and gestures that distinguish the caliber of various dancers. OKUSACA Youth and adults as well as prominent invited Chiefs exhibited tremendous display of culture with regard to Fomtomfrom dancing. This unique display of culture by OKUSACA is in commemoration of the North American version of the Akuapem/Asuogya Odwira/Ohum festivals. The keynote speaker for the Odwira/Ohum Durbar was our Special Invited Guest: Honorable Member of Parliament for Akuapem North Constituency and the Deputy Minister of Information, Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei. The Hon. Minister praised and encouraged OKUSACA to continue to strive to improve the lives of people back home through physical projects and other educational and social initiatives. On the hand, she said the present government is also working hard to improve the educational system of the country, which it has started with the introduction of the free Senior Secondary Education. She appealed to Ghanaians to exercise patience and give His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo, the President of Ghana some time to deliver since it is too early to expect a sudden change in the Socio-economy of Ghana.
Two new Traditional Rulers were ushered in amid Fomtomfrom drumming and singing of traditional songs prior to their installations. They were Nana Kwaku Sakyiama and Ohemaa Adjoa Tawiah Eburamea, Mmratehene and Mmabaahemaa of Chicago Okuapemman Fekuw respectively. To crown an afternoon of cultural extravaganza, participants were entertained by a short display of hi-life music by the legend Barima Okokyeredom Amakye Dede.
The Saturday evening Fundraising Dinner Dance with DJs Chief and Odikro in attendance, started around 9:30pm featuring Mr. Daniel Ofori-Som as substitute MC. The evening commenced with the arrival of the dignitaries, followed by intricately adorned Traditional leaders who displayed the rich Akuapem culture. The highlight of the evening event, the annual Fundraiser drew contributions and pledges from the guests and well-wishers. Distinguished members from all the chapters were given Awards for their outstanding performances for the year. Newly elected officers for New York and Houston Chapters were sworn in. Also sworn in was Mr. Daniel Ofori-Som, the President of Minnesota Chapter with a 2-year mandate to lead the OKUSACA Organization. In his acceptance speech, he acknowledged the delegates for the honor upon him and pledged to work with all the chapters to move OKUSACA to the next level.
The mandate to host 2019 OKUSACA Odwira festivities was given to Okuapemman Association of Minnesota whose President is also the Coordinating Chairman of OKUSACA.
At this juncture, Guest Artist from Ghana popularly known as OBRAFOUR suddenly arrived at the scene and believe me there was pandemonium as he received standing ovation from his fans.
The 33rd Anniversary Thanksgiving and Communion Service was held on Sunday morning from 9:30am to 11:00am at the Holiday Inn Hotel at Matteson and was officiated by Reverend Ben Kwasi Aye-Addo assisted by Reverend Kumi Dwamena and Stephen Atta Koranteng Snr.
Shortly after the service, Guests, Chiefs and other invited Dignitaries gathered at the banquet hall for the much anticipated OKUSACA In-door Picnic with the Nyansapo Live Band in attendance. The host chapter provided all kinds of sumptuous food and alcoholic beverages in an atmosphere filled with merry making and dancing. All said and done, this year’s OKUSACA Anniversary celebration was one memorable week-end of relaxation and enjoyment that certainly was well planned by Chicago chapter and its worthy of emulation.
Source: OKUSACA, Chicago Chapter.
A Communiqué of OKUSACA 2018 Odwira Celebration at Chicago
A Communiqué of OKUSACA 2018 Odwira Celebration at Chicago, Illinois.