24 October 2011

Ghana: Yefri Celebrates Yam Festival in Tears

The chiefs and people of Yefiri in the Nkoranza North District of the Brong-Ahafo Region, at the weekend, celebrated their annual yam festival to give thanks and praises to God and their ancestors for a bumper harvest of yam and protection.

Though the occasion was colourful and cheerful as usual, the chiefs and people used the occasion to express their bitterness towards what they described as the total neglect of their community by the Nkoranza North District Assembly, headed by Mr. Kwadwo Adjei Dwomo, the District Chief Executive (DCE).

The Yefirihene, Nana Osei Bonsu Koforobuor II, at the yam festival, noted that Yefiri was well-noted for its self-help development projects, because the natives of the town had a unique communal spirit that had contributed to the development of the community.

He said the community, through communalism, had been able to put up a Senior High School, a modern police station, fire service station, post office, health center and bungalow for health workers, but it seems the District Assembly does not appreciate the efforts of the Yefiri people.

Nana Osei Bonsu noted that aside these efforts, Yefiri had been denied its fair share of the national cake, particularly, when it comes to basic education, which puts the future of their children in danger.

According to the chief, the Roman Catholic Primary School block had its roof ripped off by a rainstorm in February this year, for which several petitions had been sent to the Nkoranza District Assembly, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the District Education Directorate for support, but all to no avail.

He said the situation was so pathetic that the people of Yefiri felt they had been totally neglected even though Yefri was part of the Nkoranza North District, because the DCE had only visited the town once, during this year's annual fundraising ceremony, where he promised in the name of the Vice President, His Excellency John Mahama, to deliver a hundred bags of cement for expansion work on the health center.

Nana Osei Bonsu said ever since the promise by Mr. Kwadwo Adjei Dwomo he had never visited the town again, and the promise of hundred bags of cement made in the name of the Vice President had also not been fulfilled.

The Development Chief of Yefiri, Nana Kwame Owusu, also noted that the DCE should urgently deliver the hundred bags of cement promised in the name of Vice President John Mahama, because Mr. Mahama is a fine gentleman who always delivers on his promises.

Nana Owusu continued that the DCE was intentionally denying Yefiri its share of the national cake, because since 2009, the only support gained from the government, through the Assembly, was nine electricity poles and a bulb.

The Headmaster of the Yefri R/C Primary School, Mr. Fosu Baffoe, noted that it seemed the Assembly was not willing to come to the aid of the school, because all efforts had been done by the school's authority, and traditional and opinion leaders, yet nothing had been achieved.

Mr. Baffoe said the situation was negatively affecting teaching and learning in the school, disclosing that the primary pupils had been moved to use the Kindergarten block, whilst the Kindergarten, which has three classes, has been combined to use the St. Joseph Catholic Church building.

He said the situation becomes worst when it rains, because there is no place to keep books and other stationery and properties of the school, whilst both teachers and pupils are soaked by the rains, affecting effective teaching and learning.

Mr. Baffoe indicated that the school, with a population of 345 pupils, was gradually reducing in terms of student population because of the situation, thereby creating unnecessary school dropouts in the community.

He said the District Assembly, Education Directorate and NADMO should urgently come to rescue the situation before it get worse, as some of the teachers had threatened to abandon the school, because none of them comes from the community, and if they come to suffer under such a harsh conditions, it might compel them to go back.

The Headmaster commended the St. Joseph Catholic Church for its support in establishing the Junior High School (JHS) through their own efforts, and also allowing the Kindergarten to be run in the church building.

1. The primary block with its roof ripped off

2. The abandoned Yefiri RC Primary School block

3. Mr. Fosu Baffoe, Headmaster of Yefiri Roman Catholic Primary and JHS

4. The St. Joseph Church building which now serves as classroom for the kindergarten classes

5. Nana Osei Bonsu Okoforobuor, Yefirihene

6. Nana Kwame Owusu, Nkosuo of Yefiri

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