Mr Stephen Yakubu, Upper East Regional Minister, has called on traditional authorities and opinion leaders to uphold the Ghanaian cultural values from deteriorating to promote sustainable development.
The Minister was speaking at this year’s celebration of the ‘Azambene’ a festival of the chiefs and people of Bongo in the Bongo District, where he said globalisation and modernisation were strong forces that posed threats to preservation of the Ghanaian cultural values.
He said the situation was worse among the youth leading to numerous environmental and social challenges and underscored the need to imbibe in youth values that will enhance growth and development.
Mr Yakubu explained that increased teenage pregnancy, school dropout’s rates and HIV/AIDS was as a result of neglect of the Ghanaian values and called for the urgent need for reorientation of people to appreciate the wealth of the Ghanaian tradition and values.
“Today, destruction of our environment for the purpose of illegal mining, excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco have become fashionable that many innocent people have died from related causes.
“Television sets and cell phones have taken the vital times for teaching young people and above all, our cultural values and folklore,”
“We should consider the task of passing down our culture not as an option, but a moral and social obligation, which could have devastating consequences on society if we do not get it right,” he added.
The Azambene festival, celebrated annually by the chiefs and people of Bongo to commemorate the victory, inheritance, and creation of the present-day Bongo from the Busasis, the first occupants of the land.
This year’s celebration, which was characterised by cultural dance performances and merry making was on the theme, “Gurune Language, a tool for development: the role of the traditional authority.”
Naba Salifu Atamale Lemyaarum, Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, reiterated that education was key to preserving culture and promoting development and there was the need for stakeholders to prioritise the teaching of local language in schools.
“I wish to call on teachers of the Ghana Education Service who teach Gurune to take the subject seriously so that we will make an input in that regard,” he said.
The Paramount Chief encouraged parents to also take advantage of the government’s flagship programme the free senior high school education, to educate their wards.