On Saturday, April 16, 2016, the Asanteman Council of North America (ACONA) held an extraordinary delegates’ conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, during which the delegates reviewed the aims/objectives of the Council and its history, and also formulated concrete plans for future implementation. The conference was well attended as evidenced by the huge number of attendees present. The delegates included chiefs, queens, and representatives of the various member associations from various cities in the United States and Canada.
As described in its charter, ACONA is the umbrella organization which coordinates the activities of its member associations — the various Asanteman associations in the United States and Canada — in pursuance of their common cause or shared interests. A few of those interests are: (i) To encourage and assist member associations to undertake Cultural Education as a means to inculcate Asante cultural, traditional and social values among the children of Asantes (therefore, the establishment of chieftaincy has always been of paramount importance); (ii) To raise funds to assist in developmental projects and (iii) To provide material and financial assistance to Health care Institutions, Social Agencies and Philanthropic Organizations in the Ashanti Region in particular and Ghana as a whole.
Current members of ACONA include: The Asanteman Association of Toronto, The Asanteman Association of Chicago and Midwest; The Asanteman Association of Southern California; Asante Kroye Kuo of Greater Houston, Texas; The Asanteman Association of Greater Cincinnati, Ohio; The Asanteman Association of the Carolinas, Charlotte; The Asanteman Association of Columbus, Ohio; The Asanteman Association of Tennessee; The Asanteman Cultural Association of Quebec and The Asanteman Association of Worcester, Massachusetts.
The highlight of the conference was the keynote speech given by Dr. Agyenim Boateng, a former Assistant Attorney General of the State of Kentucky, and also one of the founding members of ACONA. As the adage has it, “If you forget where you come from, you will never know where you are going.” Consequently, Dr. Agyenim Boateng began his address by giving a detailed historical background of the Council. He traced the establishment of ACONA to as far back as the 1980’s during which the late Otumfuo Nana Opku Ware II was the then King of Ashanti. His Royal Majesty, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II commended the founders of ACONA for their good intentions and hard work during one of his visits to the United States, when the ACONA members had audience with Him. Our current Asantehene, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II has also recognized ACONA and has thrown his full weight and support behind it to ensure the continuity of its worthy causes.
Dr. Agyenim Boateng’s speech was interrupted with intermittent rounds of applause by the delegates as he highlighted some of ACONA’s major achievements such as the Council’s contribution to the Manhyia Palace Museum, Medical Equipments and Supplies to Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Jachie Pramso Hospital, Tepa Hospital and South Suntreso Hospital worth millions of dollars. He also mentioned a fundraising effort which led Project CURE to ship medical equipments worth 1.1 million dollars ($1.1M) to Tepa Hospital in 2009. This also led the Project CURE’s Business Development Manager, Claire Cunningham to adopt a child from Tepa who was having an eye problem to be flown to USA for further medical help.
Dr Boateng reminded the delegates that, contrary to some misconception that anyone or groups from outside can dissolve ACONA on their own volition, ACONA is a non-profit organization chartered under the laws of United States and operating under the authority of United States Internal Revenue Service. Therefore, no one or outside group can dissolve the organization except by the members themselves or if the organization violates the laws under which it is operating.
The leaders of the Council, namely: Prof. Samuel Agyeman Duah (Executive Secretary), Mr. Kwabena Agyarkwa Boansi (Assistant Executive Secretary), Nana Adu Poku, Asantefuohene of Cincinnati (President), Nana Yaw Marfo (Public relations officer) and Nana Kwabena Gyimah Bonsu (Youth Organizer) all took turns to advise members to do their best to support one another and also to always remember that they have a moral obligation to assist their brothers and sisters back home in Ghana, especially the Ashanti Region. In addition to formulating plans for the future, the delegates resolved to work assiduously to ensure the continuity of developmental projects ACONA has already undertaken in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
ASANTE KOTOKO TEASE DAA !! ACONA BOHO PIM !! Long live ACONA !!
BY: NANA OSEI TUTU