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Manyoro: FAO Festival Held in Grand Style

His Royal Majesty Pe Dr. Atudiwe Atudiparee Manchi III in Royal regalia receiving homage from the Paramount Chief of Navrongo,His Royal Majesty Pe Balinia Addah Asagipare II.
His Royal Majesty Pe Dr. Atudiwe Atudiparee Manchi III in Royal regalia receiving homage from the Paramount Chief of Navrongo,His Royal Majesty Pe Balinia Addah Asagipare II.

The chiefs and people of Manyoro in the Kassena-Nankana  East Municipality of the Upper East Region of Ghana have held their annual Fao festival with a grand durbar at the Manyoro cluster schools’ park on 27th December 2023, with pomp, pageantry and gaiety.

The annual event is meant to honour the ancestors and to thank the gods of the land and the Great Spirit for a successful farming season and a bountiful harvest.

Manyoro is noted for cultivating various crops and vegetables, such as millet, guinea corn, maize, groundnuts, beans, rice, and sesame. In addition, they rear poultry, piggery and livestock. They also use dry-season gardening to produce pepper and tomatoes in commercial quantities. 

As early as 9 am, throngs of guests and people from all walks of life gathered at the park, awaiting the arrival of the overlord and his chiefs. The overlord and his sub-chiefs were dressed in colourful regalia.

The overlord of the Manyoro traditional area, His Royal Majesty Pe Dr. Atudiwe Atudipaare Manchi III, dressed in his royal regalia with a cone-shaped crown to match, sat in state as his sub-chiefs and their subjects took turns to pay homage to him. There were songs to praise the overlord for his vision, tact and diplomacy in handling his kingdom’s affairs. Besides being a traditional ruler, Pe Dr. Atudipaare Manchi III is a legal luminary and lecturer in law at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon.

Among the dignitaries who joined the indigenes of Manyoro to celebrate the Fao festival were Guono and Manga chiefs from Burkina Faso, His Royal Majesty, the paramount chief of Navrongo Pe Balinia Addah Asagipare II who is a senior officer of the Ghana National Fire and Rescue Service. Representatives of the ruling and opposition parties were also present.

In the words of the overlord of Manyoro, “The festival was initiated about five years ago to bring about unity. On account of unity, on the strength of unity, by the value of unity, we develop and move forward as a people. Unity is a resource critical for development”. He further said that “unity cannot be achieved without our cultural cohesion or the cultural resources that we deploy to bring us together.”  

“The festival is also an opportunity for us to reflect on our common needs and aspirations, our core values and standards that are embedded in our traditions and customs that were bequeathed to us by our ancestors. Our traditional and cultural practices can be harnessed for our development”, he observed.

The overlord equally had a word of advice for his subjects. “People should avoid propaganda, acts of peddling falsehood against people, destroying people’s dignity, assassinating people’s character, casting aspersions and lying against people in our community. We should always speak the truth and stand for honesty and integrity. We should strive for togetherness and recognize that we are one. Only then can we move forward as one people with a common destiny”, he affirmed.

There was heavy security to maintain law and order. This was because the durbar grounds were chock-a-block with many people.

There was cultural drumming and dancing by various dance groups who took turns entertaining the overlord, chiefs, guests, and people present. The rich culture unveiled by the people was impressive and could be an essential avenue for resource mobilization towards the area’s development. It could also become an essential tool of tourist attraction.

The main sponsors of the event include Manyara residents in Accra/Tema, the Muslim community in Manyoro, Kuliya elders of Manyoro, Tazika community, the Manyoro Livestock Sellers Association,  Navrongo Central NDC parliamentary candidate, Manyoro Fashion Designers Association, Mr. Solomon of Gumongo, Manyoro Hair Dressers Association, Navrongo Central NPP parliamentary candidate, Church of Pentecost, Manyoro,  Zagsi of Bagtua, Manyoro. Others are  Fowl Sellers Association, His Royal Majesty of Manyoro, Mirigu Traditional Council, Sirigu Traditional Council, Bolgatanga Traditional Council, Natugnia Chief’s palace, His Royal Majesty of Nabango, His Royal Majesty of Navrongo, His Royal Majesty of Gonuo in Burkina Faso, Manyoro Catholic Church.

The rest are The Physically Challenged Association of Manyoro, the NDC parliamentary candidate, the Paga-Chiana constituency, Reaching Souls Good News Bible Church, Manyoro, and last but not least, the Church of Nations.

 All in all, the Fao festival was a resounding success. It is hoped the festival will be celebrated outside of the community and abroad to promote tourism and foreign investment in the area. Our customs, traditions, values and morals embedded in our cultural heritage must be preserved. They have the potential to promote esprit de corps, communality and the spirit of oneness, which are critical for meeting our common aspirations and needs.

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