PRESIDENT JOHN Dramani Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, yesterday met at the Manhyia Palace, the official seat of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, where the last Akwasidae festival for the year 2014 was being marked.
The two top personalities were each accorded a rousing welcome by the large number of people who attended the historic traditional event which saw the Asantehene sitting in state.
Also present at the function was former President John Agyekum Kufuor, who was equally accorded a hero’s welcome to the palace. The ceremony attracted important dignitaries including people from the Diaspora and all corners of Ghana.
Nana Akufo-Addo was accompanied by top NPP personalities including the National Chairman, Paul Afoko; the party’s Ashanti Regional Chairman, Bernard Antwi Boasiako aka ‘Wontumi; Dr Addo Kufuor, Kwadwo Mpiani, current and former NPP MPs, and other party big wigs. He was met with a rapturous applause as he moved to pay homage to the Asantehene who was gorgeously dressed.
Then came President Mahama whose entry into the palace also attracted wild shouts as he moved through the durbar grounds to exchange pleasantries with the Asante monarch.
The President was accompanied by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Samuel Sarpong, and his deputy, Joseph Yammin, DCOP Kofi Boakye, the Regional Police Commander and Kojo Bonsu, Kumasi Mayor, as well as other top National Democratic Congress (NDC) members in the region.
President Mahama, after paying homage to the Asantehene, asked for permission to leave but Otumfuo Osei Tutu II told him to sit down for a while for Nana Akufo-Addo to shake hands with him (Mahama) before he could depart.
The President obliged and waited for Nana Akufo-Addo to shake hands with him. The handshake of the two top personalities sparked spontaneous shouts from the enthusiastic crowd.
Nana Akufo-Addo and President Mahama smiled as they exchanged pleasantries and their commendable gesture plunged the charged crowd into a state of ecstasy.
The Akwasidae festival, marked on the first Sunday after every 40 days on the Asante calendar, gives people from all walks life the rare opportunity to pay homage to the occupant of the Golden Stool.
During such festive occasions, selected people are allowed the opportunity to shake hands with the Asantehene in public and also wish him well.
The traditional event also portrays the rich culture of the Asantes to the outside world. Akwasidae festivals are usually characterised by drumming and dancing as well as firing of musketry.
Source: I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi
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