President Mahama arriving at Kumasi Airport yesterday
AFTER SEVERAL postponements, President John Dramani Mahama finally arrived in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi, on Friday afternoon, to begin a two-day working tour of the region.
The President was accorded a rousing welcome by hundreds of charged supporters of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) who were bussed from all corners of the region to the Kumasi Airport.
But the President?s visit was not without a controversy, as one of his aides openly discriminated against some media houses perceived to be anti-NDC, right at the airport.
The President, after inspecting a military guard mounted in his honour, was supposed to inspect ongoing works on the runway of the Kumasi Airport; and this was where the discrimination started.
Peter Wisdom Awuku, an aide of the President, shocked most of the journalists present as he surprisingly selected his favourite media houses to accompany the President for the inspection.
The media practitioners were stationed at one area of the airport busily covering proceedings of the President?s visit when Wisdom Awuku, an ex-reporter of the DAILY GUIDE, popped up at the scene.
He was then seen pointing at some of the journalists, perhaps, his favourites, to board a waiting pickup vehicle to join the President?s convoy for the inspection of the airport?s runway.
The action of Wisdom Awuku shocked the neglected journalists to the marrow as they were denied the opportunity of reporting about what transpired during the President?s inspection of the runway.
A DAILY GUIDE reporter who had stood in the scorching sun for several hours was among the rejected journalists, so he could not report what exactly happened on the runway.
Most of the rejected journalists were seen cursing Wisdom Awuku for his open bias which prevented them from carrying out their duties after hours of waiting in the scorching sun.
Meanwhile, President Mahama was accorded a rousing welcome by the NDC faithful in the region, led by Party Chairman, Yaw Obimpeh and other top functionaries of the NDC.
Clad in the party?s colours, the NDC supporters stormed the Kumasi Airport in large numbers on Friday morning and patiently waited until the presidential jet arrived around 4:00pm.
There was deafening spontaneous shouts all over, which nearly shook the foundation of the airport when President Mahama emerged from the presidential jet with his right hand pointing to the sky.
The enthusiastic NDC faithful were falling over each other in an attempt to get a clearer view of the President who seemed to be happy about the deep love being show him by the crowd.
President Mahama?s convoy of flashy vehicles then hit town, causing massive vehicular traffic as the people lined up the streets, waving at the Ghanaian leader.
The President, during the tour of the region, would inspect ongoing government projects in the area and also pay a courtesy call on the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at the Manhyia Palace on Saturday.
?. Promises Free Shoes For Students
PRESIDENT JOHN Dramani Mahama announced that plans were in the pipeline for government to add free footwear to the school uniforms which are distributed to pupils.
He said he had tasked the Ministries of Trade and Industry and Education to work on modalities which would make the free footwear to school-going children dream a reality.
The President was addressing a large crowd when he paid a visit to the revamped GIHOC Footwear Division Ltd at Ahinsan on Friday, as part of his two-day working visit to the Ashanti Region.
He noted that it was his wish that the shoe factory would be expanded on time so that it could meet the demand of footwear for the pupils? project and other demands, to make more profit.
President Mahama recounted that he visited Czech Republic sometime ago where the government secured a deal which had resulted in the revamping of an almost collapsed shoe factory.
The factory now has staff of 50 and had also trained about 200. Plans are in the pipeline for the factory to be expanded so as to employ more people, soon.
President Mahama, after touring the facility, stated that he was impressed with what was taking place there, pointing out that, for him, the country was blessed.
Made In Ghana Goods
He said the factory was now manufacturing shoes for the Ghana Armed Forces, announcing that the Immigration Service had also placed an order with the factory.
The President therefore tasked the other security agencies including the Police, CEPS, Fire Service and Prisons to follow suit by placing orders with the shoe factory.
He was of the view that Ghanaian products were of good quality and nicely made, so the populace should develop the habit of patronizing goods which were made in Ghana.
President Mahama said government would support GIHOC Footwear Division Ltd to expand in order to create more employment opportunities for the unemployed so that it could meet the high demands.
He said from what he witnessed at the shoe factory in Kumasi, there were clear indications that Ghana was making giant strides to develop, urging the people to support his administration to deliver.
President Mahama admitted that Ghana was currently facing temporary challenges, but stated confidently that his government would turn the economy around.
FROM I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi