Am just watching closing credits of Ghana Televisions's coverage of the first day of ECOWAS Games, which started today, to the tune of the infamous "Azonto" song.
Who would have thought that two weeks earlier, the El-Wak Stadium played sorry host to the tragic loss of ten lives as they made their way to their homes in a tro-tro mini-van, after a Nigerian cargo plane crashed.
Even as we speak, ECOWAS officials are shuttling up and down the sub-region trying to bring a degree of closure to the the Mali crisis. Years to come, our yet-unborn children and maybe grandchildren might marvel at the prospect of what might be considered the "West African" spirit, which might be defined as the ability to overcome tragedy, loss, and pain that the sub-region has inflicted upon us...to still come together as one West Africa under an ECOWAS Games.
Please find below the official communique from the ECOWAS Website of the commencement of the Games:
The 2nd ECOWAS Under-23 Games open in Accra, the Ghanaian capital on Saturday 16th June 2012, featuring athletics, handball, volleyball, African wrestling and boxing, which is making its debut at the biennial regional sporting competition. During a recent courtesy call by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop on Ghana’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Honourable Clement Kofi Humado, the two officials reaffirmed the commitment of the country and the ECOWAS Commission to ensure successful Games. While expressing confidence in Ghana’s capacity for the hosting, Commissioner Diop, also assured of ECOWAS’ readiness to assist the country host a successful competition. Members of the Games’ Local Organizing Committee and the Technical Committee, supported by the Monitoring and Supervisory Committee, have been working round the clock to ensure seamless and successful Games. The Technical Committee comprises among others, the presidents of the West African Federations of the five sports featuring in the Games, representatives of the ECOWAS Commission and the Ouagadougou-based ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre which is coordinating the Games on behalf of the Commission, Speaking in Accra on the eve of the opening, the Director of the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, Mr. Francis Chuks Njoaguani, described the level of preparations as impressive. Nigeria hosted the inaugural edition of the regional Games in 2010 with competitions in four sports - athletics, handball, volleyball and African wrestling. The competition seeks to promote and enhance sports as a means of uniting and encouraging the youth in West Africa to progress through balanced development. It also provides a forum for interaction among West African youths; strengthens sporting and economic ties between Member States and promotes a sense of belonging among participants. Eleven of the15 ECOWAS Member States have confirmed their participation in the Accra competition, which is a good opportunity for West African sports men and women to test-run their preparations for the forthcoming London Olympic Games.