As expected, all the glitz and glamour was at the Crystal Grand Banquet, 12416 Archer Avenue, Lemont, Illinois, where the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago (GNC) organized a splendid fundraising dinner dance to mark Ghana’s 66th independence anniversary Celebrations.
The hall was relatively small for such a grandeur celebration; as a result, the tickets were sold out Friday before the event. However, the current President, Mr. Kassim Abubakari, demonstrated he was ready to lead the community as displayed by the exceptional managerial skills of the organizing committee. We give kudos to the GNC for a job well done. As usual, most attendees were Ghanaians. Ghana’s Independence is significant and historical. It marked the beginning of the end of direct colonial rule in Africa. The event also strengthened the civil rights movement in the USA and freedom fighters across the globe.
One of Chicago’s own, Dr. Prince Hodogbey, delivered the keynote address on the theme: “BETTER UNITED THAN DIVIDED.” He also serves as the Director of the flagship program of the Council, the Ghanaian Community Health Clinic, GCHC. The GCHC is a volunteer-based healthcare provided by the GNC.
Dr. Prince Hodogbey observed that the theme on the surface appears simple but not an easy task when he said, “Please think about how easy life will be if we all agree to unite and collaborate on everything. In reality, however, unity has always been difficult, sometimes even on simple issues that will benefit everyone. For example, think about the struggle to gain Independence for Ghana. The fight was not only between our forebearers and the British. There was a bigger fight among the various leaders at the time. Some of them were openly against the idea of Independence and worked hard to undermine the efforts of those in favor”.
He rightly pointed out that the struggle for freedom would not have taken more than ten years to achieve if our forbearers were united from the beginning. He noted that the GNC has existed for over 30 years but has underperformed in many areas due to disunity. He also disclosed that the Ghana House project is the most significant achievement that has eluded the Council. Nevertheless, he gave hope to the audience when he said, “the chance still exists for us to attain this goal. I am therefore throwing the challenge to all; we should unite through our various associations that form the Ghana National Council and resolve that within the next four years, by the time we celebrate the 70th Independence Day of Ghana, we will be doing that at our own place”.
He asked the attendees to spread the word about the monthly GCHC to enhance participation.
In conclusion, Dr. Hodogbey posed a rhetorical question to the audience about how independent our country is. He explained in detail, saying, “There is no one correct answer to this question. Some people may expect me to take a political path in answering this question. However, I am apolitical, and I approach everything as such. This is because all our needs as human beings do not favor members of one political party against the others. For example, when our healthcare system is not functioning well, it affects everyone and not only members of a particular political party. When the roads are not good, we all drive on the bad roads. When there is no electricity, the lights are off for everyone in that area, regardless of which party they belong to. When the water is not flowing, this does not affect only one political party members. When the exchange or interest rates are not good, these also affect everyone. I can go on and on, but you get the point. This is why it is better for us to unite and improve our country than to be divided along political party lines and see the country underperform in all areas of development”.
The President of the GNC, Mr. Kassim Abubakari, thanked the founding fathers who made Ghana’s Independence possible and pitched the GNC to the community when he asked the community to support its vision through active participation in all programs and activities organized by the GNC. In addition, he used the occasion to remind community members to join an affiliate organization of the GNC.
The President appealed to community members to find time to attend GNC meetings, brainstorm ideas, and constantly seek progress, prosperity, and development for ourselves and our community.
In conclusion, he used the opportunity to thank all the past leaders of the community and attendees for making this day possible in Chicago.
Some of the night’s highlights include awards to deserving community members selected by the Council. The Excellence to Humanity Award went to Dr. Jamilah Okoe, also the Assistant Medical Director of the GCHC, while Dr. Chris Chalokwu received the Community Development of Excellence Award. In addition, the immediate past President, Mr. Paa Kwasi Sam, deservedly won The Pioneer of Excellence Award, as the legend Nana Yaw Marfo fittingly received the Community Support of Excellence Award. Finally, Ohemaa Akosua Asantewaa Somuah received the Service of Excellence Award for her late husband, Nana Stephen Somuah. In addition, portraits of the Founding Father of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and others donated by ArtbancGH were auctioned at the event.
Deejay Odikro confirmed why he is among the best in the Ghanaian community. His trendy selections rallied the crowd to the dance floor all evening long.
The emcee, Mr. Cosby Michael, had energetic vibes and charisma that kept the crowd enthusiastic and joyous.
The vice president of the GNC, Dr. Eunice Cromwell, DNP, FNP-C, thanked all participants and those who made it possible for the program to come on smoothly.