History be made today when the first ever black President of America, Barack Hussein Obama, touches down from Air Force One at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana’s capital city, at exactly 8:30pm.
President Obama, who turns 48 this August, arrives with his wife Michelle, and two kids, Sasha 8, and Malia 10. He would be the third incumbent American President to have visited Ghana in a row but Obama’s very first visit to black Africa. His choice of Ghana has earned some noticeable envy for the developing country.
President John Mills and a host of the crème de la crème of Ghana’s government officials would be at the airport to welcome the First Family of America, after which the two Presidents would hold brief consultations. The visit has been heralded by a wild euphoria across the country, most especially by residents in Accra and Central Region, the two places Obama would be visiting. Giant bill boards showing the portraits of Mills and Obama and having the inscription ‘Akwaaba’ have sprung up across the city and various paraphernalia including cloths, T-Shirts, miniature flags and many more designed to welcome the US President are selling like hot dogs in the two cities.
Security arrangements are at their peak and a couple of ceremonial roads near the airport would be closed to motorists and pedestrians during the period. Already, a number of US fighter jets have been spotted parading the skies and the Ghana Police Service have deployed several thousands of officers and men to take strategic positions across the country. The security agents of both countries are collaborating to provide maximum safety for the visiting President.
The US President would lodge at the Holiday Inn Hotel near the airport and would have a breakfast meeting with President Mills on Saturday morning before moving with his wife to visit the maternity wards at the La Polytechnic in Accra.Hundreds of journalists from both within and outside Ghana would on Saturday pitch camp at the Accra International Conference Center where President Obama is expected to make a major statement on Africa when he addresses specially invited guests at midday.
The program was originally scheduled to be an outdoor event at the open-air Independence Square where Ghanaians from all walks of life would have trooped to, to listen to and catch a glimpse of the American President largely considered as the pride of Africa.The unpredictable nature of the rains was what prompted State Protocol to shift the program to the enclosed and much smaller International Conference Center, which to the disappointment of many, takes a little below 2, 000 audience. The event would however be telecast live on both national and private Television stations.
Obama and his family would, after the address, move to Cape Coast, capital of the Central Region, to attend a durbar of chiefs at the Palace of the Oguaa Omanhen, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, who would himself sit in state with his sub-chiefs. Michelle Obama would be honored with the title of a traditional queen at the durbar before joining her husband to visit the slave dungeons at the historic Cape Coast Castle.
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