The people of Burkina Faso celebrated the 48th anniversary of their independence on Thursday December 11, although the actual date for the occasion fell on August 5.
The reason for the postponement was that August 5 came in rainy season, and the authorities deemed it fit to push the occasion forward to allow for an uninterrupted farming season.
Considering the good neighbourly relations that has prevailed between the Upper East Region of Ghana and the Centre East Region of Burkina Faso over the years, the 'Gouverneur' or Regional Minister for that province extended an invitation to his counterpart in Bolgatanga to join in the regional event of the celebration at Ouargaye, a small town about 60 kilometres from Tenkodogo the regional capital.
A seven-member delegation led by Mr. Isaac Nsoh Amoah, Bolgatanga Municipal Chief Executive who represented the Regional Minister, Mr. Alhassan Samari, attended the ceremony. Other members of the delegation included Mr. Sammuel N'Lary, Chief Director at the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), Mr. Issaka Sagito, Regional Economic Planning Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police Kanyog Jerome who represented the Regional Police Commander, and Mr. Abdul Khassim Mejida, Public Relations Officer to the RCC.
The theme for this year's celebration is "The Valorization of our Forest and Fauna Resources", which was amply demonstrated during the mass parade when members of various associations and women's groups took their turns to file pass the dais where the Gouverneur and other dignitaries sat.
After the ceremonial parade by the security agencies and school children, came a number of farmers' groups, displaying their agricultural produce as they went by. Then came hunters with their locally-made rifles and clutching a variety of game ranging from partridges and porcupines to rabbits and deer.
Licensed wood-loggers took their turn with donkey-cart loads of freshly cut fuelwood, which to the first-time observer would look like a contradiction of the theme for the celebration. "No it is not. Rather the message to the people is that they have to register and obtain licenses before they can cut fire wood," explained an interpreter attached to the Governor's office.
Through such regulation, the authorities are able to keep their activities in check, and also get them to plant trees in place of those they fell, as required by that country's law.
Fishermen clutching their nets and fresh fish also had their turn, followed by a number of women's organizations, each show-casing samples of the area of production they were engaged in - weaving of local cloth, sheabutter processing, vegetable farming, and pito-brewing, among others.
Significantly, this aspect of the ceremony was given prominence on the itinerary to lend emphasis to the theme for the occasion.
An anniversary message from President Blaise Compaore conveyed to the people of the Region by the Gouverneur, Mr. Simeon Sawadogo, dwelt on the importance of stability, food security, and an efficient decentralization system, to the government's plans towards building a strong economy for the nation.
Mr. Sawadogo also spoke of the government's commitment to poverty reduction, but indicated that the objective could be attained if good relations continued to prevail between Burkina Faso and her neighbours. "Let us join hands to ensure the attainment of our common dreams," he said.
In a speech delivered on behalf of Mr. Samari, the Bolgatanga Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Isaac Nsoh Amoah, noted that the Centre East Region of Burkina Faso and the Upper East Region of Ghana share a lot of historical cultural, geographical and linguistic similarities.
"Though we live in two different countries, we share one heart, and a common vision to love our people, to wage a relentless war on poverty, disease, ignorance, and to raise the standard of living of our people," he said, calling for a combined effort, unity and mutual support on the part of the two neighbouring countries.
The celebration was climaxed by the conferring of national honours on 48 people from the the region who had made outstanding contributions to the development of their communites in education, agriculture, health, the environment, and other fields of human endeavour.
Needless to say, the ceremony was coloured by rich customary regalia spotted by the chiefs and elders in attend, and punctuated by a fantastic display of traditional drumming and dancing by different troupes.