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The 2022 Asafotufiami Festival cannot be covered by Radio Ada, according to the Ada Traditional Council.

When the management of Radio Ada noticed that the station's name was not on the list of media outlets invited to cover the 85th edition of the ongoing Ada Asafotufiami festival, it assumed that the Ada Traditional Council in Greater Accra had deleted the station's name by mistake.

Ada's spokesperson is Radio Ada, a community radio station. The station, which has extensively covered the festival for over two decades, was shocked by the turn of events.

On July 14, 2022, the station's management wrote to the Ada Asafotufiami Festival Planning Committee to call attention to the fact that the letter inviting media houses to the festival's start on July 30, 2022, did not mention Radio Ada.

"The management of Radio Ada extends cordial and courteous welcomes to the Ada Asafotufiami Planning Committee, 2022, and wishes to draw its attention to what we believe to be an unintentional absence in the Planning Committee's customary protocol."

"We are specifically pointing to the absence of Radio Ada from the list of invited media outlets during the formal inauguration of the 2022 Ada Asafotufiami Festival on June 30th, 2022 at Treasure Island, Ada." We only found out about the launch through other media. "It is unfortunate that Radio Ada was left out," the letter added.

The celebration was officially proclaimed on Radio Ada on May 9, 2022, by the Senior War Captain of Kabiawe Yumu, Asafoatsengua Owusie Senakey IV, alongside a warlord of the Kabiawe Clan, Asafoatse Otumfuor IV, and Nagodey Baflo, who is with the priest of the Lomobiawe Clan.

The station stated that it repeatedly publicized the launch ceremony, which was videotaped for free.

The Asafotufiami is a historical reminiscence of old fights with nearby ethnic groups such as the Ewe. The "Asafotu" are groups of warriors who celebrate by firing their muskets. The festival is now a great homecoming for the Ada diaspora.

"It is once again regretful that Radio Ada cannot provide the Ada state with first-hand reports on the 2022 Asafotufiami Festival because it was unintentionally removed from the invitation list." "We hope that this oversight will be corrected," the letter said.

In response to management, the Asafotufiami Festival Planning Committee stated unequivocally that it was not an oversight.

The committee stated in a letter dated August 1, 2022, "The Traditional Council examined your letter and decided to invite your station to the Traditional Council for a comprehensive discussion following the festival."

"In the meantime, I am directed to inform you that the Traditional Council has deemed it necessary to impose the following restrictions on Radio Ada during this year's Asafotufiami festival," said the letter signed by Nene Agudey Obichere III, Chairman of the Asafotufiami Festival Planning Committee.

The following constraints were listed in the letter:

Radio Ada will be denied permission to set up a stage at Ada Asafotufiami Park.

Neneme [chiefs] will not provide interviews to Radio Ada journalists.

Noah Dameh, Serwah Warri, and Amanor Dzeagu, hosts of programs containing crude language directed against Neneme, are not to be found in Radio Ada garb at the park.

The letter also encouraged Radio Ada to abide by the rules listed above in order to prevent humiliation.

The reaction of Radio Ada to the ban

Mr. Noah Narh Dameh, Deputy Station Coordinator of Radio Ada, claimed in an interview with The Fourth Estate that the Traditional Council's action, which will restrict residents' access to information about the festival, is a strategy to punish the media house for continuously discussing the contentious Songhor Lagoon lease arrangement.

"I'll attribute this to Dr. Daniel Mckorley [McDanSonghor ]'s lease and a series of programs that we've been undertaking to shed further light on the lease agreement," he stated.

He also claimed that, prior to this restriction, some representatives of the traditional council visited the radio station and warned them not to discuss the Songhor lease arrangement.

"They [Traditional Council] went on to state that we should never reveal the name of Ada's Paramount Chief, Nene Abram Kabu Akuaku III, even if we debate the [Songhor Lease] document at all." But we told them that because we're talking a government document, we can't ignore the name of the Paramount Chief because it won't make the statement full. "These things happened before the Radio Station was assaulted, and the thugs also left the same message that we should not do any program on the Songhor Lagoon, otherwise the attack would be harsher," he explained.

In support of his claim that the ban was solely due to the radio station's discussion of the Songhor Lease Agreement, he pointed out that the letter from the Asafotufiami Planning Committee singled out the three lead producers of "Manor Munyu," a Radio Ada program that discusses the Songhor Lagoon Lease and other developmental issues.

"We've been working on a program on the Songhor Lagoon, and we're a group of four, but they singled out one person and restricted the three of us." So, although they haven't come out directly to explain why they're restricting us, I feel, and the community is aware, that they did so because of the Songhor Lagoon initiative we've been undertaking," he added.

He specifically stated that five chiefs in Ada state are dissatisfied with the radio station's Songhor Lagoon program, thus the restriction. He stated that Ada locals felt scared because some police officers were being utilized to intimidate citizens who spoke out against the Songhor Lagoon Lease arrangement.

The deputy station coordinator dared the traditional council to present evidence in response to the letter's accusation that the three radio DJs who had been singled out were infamous for using "unrefined language" against traditional authorities.

"On the lease deal, we produced roughly 45 episodes of the program, and they were all prerecorded, so if they say we insulted them, they should come out and prove it because the tapes are there."

Mr. Dameh explained Radio Ada's campaigning on the Songhor Lease Agreement by noting that the lagoon, which has been released to a single investor, Dr. Daniel Mckorley, will have an impact on the livelihoods of over 150,000 people because the community has relied on salt extraction for decades.

"We're just making public documents public, that's all the radio program is doing," he explained. "I don't know why they have issues with that if the lease agreement is in the best interests of the people."

According to him, the festival planning committee had assigned the location where Radio Ada used to set up its platform to cover the Asafotufiami Durbar to a new radio station called Eagle FM, which he claimed was owned by Dr. Daniel Mckorley, CEO of McDan Group. One of its subsidiaries is Electrochem, which manufactures salt.

The Fourth Estate attempted but failed to engage Nene Agudey Obichere III, Chairman of the Asafotufiami Planning Committee and Spokesperson for the Ada Traditional Council.

He denied an interview since he was preoccupied with festival events.

Brutes assault Ada Radio

On January 13, 2022, a group of armed men surrounded the offices of Radio Ada, assaulted a presenter live on air, mistreated other employees and customers, and destroyed some of the station's equipment.

The management of Radio Ada at the time claimed that the yet-to-be-identified hoodlums had threatened the station with attacks if it didn't stop airing programming related to the Songhor Lease Agreement before the incident, though the police have yet to fully investigate the attack's circumstances and apprehend its perpetrators.

A loud community radio station in Ada is called Radio Ada.

The Media Association for Western Africa (MFWA) helped in raising money to replace the equipment the thugs damaged during the incident. Justice has not yet been served to the station.

The locals claim that the police have sided with the private investors in an effort to intimidate those who are against the arrangement.

Anti-Lease Agreement demonstrations in Songhor

Residents in the Ada West and East Districts have protested the plans now in place to restore the Songhor Lagoon.

They said that in addition to the portion of the Lagoon that was leased to the McDan Group, five local chiefs went on to lease practically the whole lagoon to the business, which includes some individual lands.

The locals who claim ownership of Songhor Lagoon staged a number of protests in opposition to the mining concession given to Electrochem Ghana Limited to extract salt there.

Since the lagoon is the only source of income for the locals, they feel that the mining lease ignored their predicament. Additionally, they believe that the initiative will rob them of thier lands.

Chiefs' backing for the endeavor

Despite the project being opposed by certain locals, the traditional leaders of the region have officially stated their support for it.

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