Speeches

Good morning. It’s a pleasure to greet you- Mr Chairman, Your excellencies-members of the National House of Chiefs and Regional Houses of Chiefs, members of respective Traditional Councils here present, Nii Mei ker Naa Mei, Nananom, distinguished invited guests, all workshop participants, ladies and gentlemen.

I am so excited to be with you this morning as we come together again for another capacity development workshop designed for our cherished traditional leaders and staff. I recall with pride our workshop held two years ago at this University when we had the opportunity to train the second batch of 50 traditional leaders across the country.

On behalf of the management team of UPSA and on behalf the burgeoning Otumfuo Centre for Traditional Leadership (OCTL), I wish to welcome you all to our homely learning environment where we provide and promote higher professional education and training in a structured mix of scholarship with professionalism. Let me also congratulate the Otumfuor Centre for Traditional Leadership on organizing this workshop at this time.

 

Distinguished guests, you may perhaps know by now that at UPSA, our credo is “Knowledge, a basis for development is relevant when shared and used”. Consequently, the Otumfuor Centre for Traditional Leadership was established here at UPSA a few years ago to provide the platform for an institutionalized training programme for traditional leaders that will enhance their capacity to lead and manage their resources effectively and sustainably. Among the objectives of the Otumfuor Centre is to empower the traditional leaders and staff to bring about the constructive change necessary for development in their various communities.

 

Towards this end, I believe that this is a timely training workshop for chiefs and staff of Traditional Councils, National and Regional Houses of Chiefs and indeed yet another opportunity for them to learn and gain knowledge that enables them to be better leaders; better change agents, innovation-drivers and to be able to solve complex problems more capable. Indeed Knowledge is good, and as observed by our famous Kofi Annan “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society and in every family”. I am therefore so delighted that our Nananom and staff are here to acquire knowledge to improve their performance as leaders.

 

Distinguished Guests, the role of traditional authorities have been dynamic, having changed from one regime to another, as under colonialism and in the post-colonialism. As rightly observed at the OCTL, there has been a paradigm shift in the functions of traditional leaders and chiefs. Gone are the days when chiefs led their people to war to defend, protect and extend territories. In contemporary times, however, the nature of warfare for the chiefs has changed. Wars are no longer fought against external aggressors but against poverty and hunger, diseases, illiteracy, crime, injustice, environmental degradation, depletion of resources, greed and ignorance. Today, it is no longer an affront to require the chief or king to account to the people for how certain decisions have been taken or how funds have been expended. The modern Ghanaian society expects the Chief to be accountable when it comes to the expenditure of public funds. Good Traditional leadership is also about transparency. Without accountability and transparency, there cannot be trust between our traditional leaders and the people they lead. In our contemporary times, therefore, the importance of modern traditional leadership techniques is vital.

 

Distinguished guests, with this kind of paradigm shift in the functions of traditional leaders and chiefs, it has become absolutely necessary to provide the traditional leaders with training for good governance. The provision of training in traditional leadership issues such as leadership skills, land administration, conflict management, negotiation skills, records and documentation management is therefore imperative and will prepare our traditional leaders to handle the myriad of challenges facing their communities. Distinguished Guests, It is regrettable to observe that many of our traditional leaders have the skills and knowledge and indeed the ability to make useful contribution to the socio-economic development in Ghana but fail to do so because of self-interest. I trust that discussions at this workshop will influence the thinking of all of us to refocus our priorities and energies to make a difference for the whole country.

 

Distinguished guests, Nananom, Nii mei ker Naa mei, if we want to see improved outputs or results as traditional leaders, we have to do things differently. We cannot do things in the same ways and expect different or improved outputs or results. It is my cherished expectation that by the close of this training workshop, our leaders would be equipped to network with fellow traditional leaders for collaboration and partnership for community development. As a marketer, I would relish seeing our traditional leaders enabled with marketable skills to prepare marketing plans to showcase their communities to investors and as tourist attractions. This workshop will also empower our traditional leaders with leadership skills that will enhance their ability to manage their communities and all the resources under their care and to generate revenue for community developmental projects.

 

I charge the workshop organizers to provide the platform for traditional leaders to share their experiences which can be used as lessons learnt and benchmarks for other traditional areas. I want to challenge all participants to take the opportunity of this high-value workshop to “improve themselves” during this one week at UPSA and to push up Chieftaincy and Traditional governance in this country. I wish to admonish you that Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero (Seize the day, trust as little as possible in tomorrow). I am looking up to the day when all traditional leaders present here will be cited as successful personifications of the modernized traditional or chieftaincy institution in Ghana

 

 

Before I take my seat, I am happy to announce that UPSA will offer free tuition for professional programmes for all undergraduate and graduate students during the next academic year. Previously we have provided free tuition for B.Sc accounting students offering the CA professional course which has been very successful as we see students becoming professional Accountants by the time they finish their first degree. We will encourage all of you to take advantage of this offer by enrolling in our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and encouraging others to do so.

 

I remain very excited about the prospects and the potentials that this workshop holds for advancing the issues of traditional leadership in Ghana.

 

I wish you a happy week at UPSA.  Thank You and God bless you.

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