By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana – Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has cut the sod for the construction of a Twenty Million Cedi (₵20million) modern sports complex, for Six Garrison of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), in Tamale, which is to be replicated in all garrisons across the country and to be called THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF SPORTS STADIA.
The sod cutting, which took place in Tamale on Friday, May 3rd, 2019, comes as an endeavour to the fulfillment of a bourne by the Commander-In-Chief (C-In-C) of GAF, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, declared at the graduation ceremony of officer cadets at the Ghana Military Academy (GMA), in October, 2018.
The stadium, which is expected to be completed in April 2020, should contain a standard size football pitch, running tracks with sub soil draining system, spectator and VIP sections, a 400-meter pitch, tartan track around the field, a standard size lawn tennis court, a combined volleyball/basketball court and a 4-court gymnasium for indoor games and other activities.
In addition to the sod cutting ceremony, a fully-fitted Ambulance was presented to 6 Garrison, in fulfillment of a promise made by the Minister for Defence and Member of Parliament (MP) for Bimbilla – Dominic Nitiwul, as well as another to repair the overhead water tank at Kamina Barracks, which has hitherto been repaired.
The Veep, in his speech emphasize however that the facility, when completed, would not be accessible only to GAF, but also to the entire Tamale Municipality and the surrounding areas, thereby enhancing and deepening military/civilian relations.
Dr Bawumia also stated that the projects being undertaken in the security services, are in line with Government’s strategy to transform the agencies into world-standard institutions, with modern infrastructure including accommodation, health and training facilities.
“Government, in its quest to pursue this policy direction, has executed a number of projects such as the Barracks Regeneration – Phase 1, which is 90% complete and would be commissioned this year, with another being the Defence Health Initiative Project, which includes the 500-bed Military Hospital at Afari, in the Ashanti Region, which is 70% complete and would also be commissioned this year”, he stated.
The Vice President continued that, “the Mini Sports Development module, such as the Astro turfs construction in various constituencies and the stadia development in all Regions of the country, are testimonies of the resolve to revive sports in the country at all levels, to reclaim past glories and attain relevance in the global sporting fraternity”.
The Veep concluded by directing the Defence Ministry to repair and fix within the next 2 months, 5 damaged accommodation blocks for 6 Garrison, which have been damaged by a recent rainstorm and hand them back to GAF.
The Minister of Defence, on his part, expressed appreciation to the National Lotteries Authority (NLA), for their financial support of Fifteen Million Cedis (₵15 Million) towards the project and reiterated that the Ministry of Defence took a firm decision for the NLA to run the VAG (Veterans’ Association of Ghana) Lottery and it is through this kind gesture that had yielded the goodwill and financial support from NLA for the project.
Mr Nitiwul also stated that the sports complex, as part of several initiatives to modernize GAF by retooling the services and improving their welfare in terms of compensations and housing needs, would afford servicemen and women, the opportunity to be fit at all times and have the presence of mind to contribute their utmost to national development.
The Defence Minister also said that the facility would offer employment and skills development opportunities to the youth and also increase the camaraderie between personnel of GAF on one hand and sister security agencies on the other, through sports meets.
Present at the ceremony were the Northern Regional Minister – Salifu Sa-eed, Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) – Musah Superior, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) – Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Obed Boama Akwa, Chief of the Army Staff – Major General (Maj Gen) William Azure Ayamdo and personnel from the Ministry for Defence.