His voice was soft, gentle and meek but his eyes gleamed with determination. He greeted in the traditional ‘anuula’ with the customary grace and respect, the place containing the sparse wares he was selling delicately balanced on his head.
Young Aziz is one of many Tamale natives taking advantage of the rare opportunity presented by an unconventional but progressive government decision to mark this year’s independence anniversary parade in the Northern regional capital of Tamale.
He was selling chips and will not take no for an answer. Convinced that we would buy some of his wares, Aziz, determined, stuck to his spot by the Joy FM crew which was more consumed by efforts to secure space and power source for Wednesday’s coverage of the historic 62nd independence celebration. Why would he let the opportunity pass?
He was right. Eventually, Arnold Asafo-Adjaye bought some of the chips even if he didn’t need it. It was his small contribution to the significance of this event. It may, however, have meant a great deal for Azizi, who, like many, milled around the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in anticipation of the independence march.
Tamale is largely a busy town but government’s decision to hold this year’s event outside Accra and in Tamale, added a thick layer of activity to the city.
Evidence of this was all too visible right at the Tamale Airport. Politicians of all political persuasions hugged, shook hands and teased each other jovially – proof that the politicians are not quite enemies as their rhetoric may sometimes suggest.
At the airport, the airforce plane Casa 295 which conveyed Second Lady Samira Bawumia and ministers of state proudly on the tarmac. Landcruisers, buses, and of course, motorbikes littered the roads leading to the airport. Obviously this is a remarkable day.
The trees draped with Ghana flags testified to the national character of the event. In the tamale township, billboards announced the events with exacting clarity.
The host of the Joy FM team, Arnold, founder of Radio 123, said benefits of bringing the event to Tamale are enormous. He said hundreds of street lights have been erected, illuminating streets hitherto rendered dangerously dark.
At the stadium, Mahmoud, a presidenctal staffer announced the order of things Wednesday and that no one will be required to pay any gate fees.
All is therefore set for the 62 independence celebration.