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Feature Article of Friday, 9 November 2012

Columnist: Sarpong, Justice

Northerners, Please 'Stay Away' From The Free SHS Debate

Northerners, please stay away from the free secondary school education debate should not be taken literally but as a sarcastic heading to delve into this delicate issue that should bring all Ghanaians together instead of the polirization. My brothers and sisters in the North should be part of this conversation but they should not be opposing something that they have benefitted from. Why do Ndc Northern supporters oppose the fee free secondary school for their southern counterparts? Folks, southerners getting the free education will not deprieve you from continuous enjoyment of that freebie you have enjoyed for more than fifty years so why are you trying to deny the rest of us for sharing the national cake?

When Nana Akuffo Addo proposed the fee free secondary education for Ghana, I thought to myself, NPP is going to make inroads to the Northern votes because this is an issue the Northerners can teach the Southerners the benefits of free secondary school education and support fully with President Mahama and his 18 siblings haven used it to get to where they are now. BOY, WAS I SO WRONG. I don't have any children in Ghana but I pay for two nieces secondary school education, one at St. Monica's secondary school in Manpong and another at Holy Child in Cape Coast because their father's could not pay for four children, two at the university now and I was not going to sacrifice their education because of their father's financial situation.

I have had a cardiac arrest arguments with vociferous NDC Northerners who are vehemently opposed to free secondary school education for all Ghanaians despite the fact that these People have depended on this free education for Northerners to educate themselves and are using that discriminatory policy to educate their children while speaking against its implementation in the seven regions that don't have this privilege. One Northerner even told me Northerners pay taxes like their Southern counterparts and therefore deserve to have free education. That I do agree fully and that is exactly what we Southerners or people being denied the same benefit the Northerners are enjoying as Taxpayers. Why do we all pay taxes but only Northerners have to enjoy free secondary school education? These Northerners come up with execuses like government pays only room and board or bursaries for Northerners and not free secondary school. Northerners, that is what we asking for, what you are getting as Taxpayers that we don't get as Taxpayers too. We are not asking for anything different you are getting.

I was really infuriated when a chief in Upper West region inserted himself into the the SHS debate which has reached an intellectual artistic climacteric, a life climacteric of some sort and spoke against it.

"The Chief of Wechaiu in the Wa West District of the Upper West Region, Naa Imoro Gumah II has waded into the free senior high school education controversy which is currently a subject of debate between the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). According to the Chief, free SHS education is not achievable now. He has therefore asked Ghanaians not to be deceived by that promise by the NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo Addo."

Folks, this chief is one of the Northern Chiefs that marry tens of women and breed like rats because they don't have to pay for their childrens education but has the audacity to tell us we don't deserve what he is enjoying. I might sound disrespectful but I get frustrated when people like our Chiefs who are thought to be custodians of wisdom and objectivity get blinded by tribalism and political colours and lose their sense of morality and objectivity. We have a Chief in the North with forty wives and more than hundred children depending on the benevolence of Ghanaians to educate his children for free and these lily-livered Chiefs are telling us what is good for them in the North is not good for us in the South. How dare these people tell us that free education will be inferior education but they have not rejected the 'inferior' education in the North? The so called fee free 'inferior' education has produced people like President Mahama, Alhaji Mumuni, the Foreign Minister, Alba Bagbin, the Health Minister, Honourable Avoka, the majority leader in Parliament so this fee free inferior education is not doing bad afterall in the North and I want the same for my village folks at BUOHO on Kumasi Techiman road.

We have honest Northern men like Dr Abu Sakara, Martin Amidu and host of others who have mesmerized Ghanaians with their honesty, intergrity and objectivity on this splendiferous policy from Nana Akuffo Addo and we don't need these Chiefs and their NDC foot soldiers to poison the fountain of wisdom just so they can cling on to power.

President Mahama has no moral authority to talk against the free secondary school education policy if he is the astute Politician he wants Ghanaians to believe he is. How can somebody whose father was a rich Minister enjoy free education and tell a poor man's children that we don't have the resources now to give them free education when his father fathered 19 children and with all his money allowed his children to become the burden of society to educate? I am even surprised this man can look in the face of Ghanaians and tell us free secondary school is not possible when three of the ten regions in Ghana have been enjoying this largesse for more than fifty years? Do we in the middle and Southern part of Ghana have to wait twenty more years to get the same opportunity President Mahama got forty years ago? If this is not hypocrisy, then somebody has to redefine the meaning of hypocrisy.

Dr Abu Sakara, the CPP Presidential candidate extolled the benefits of free secondary school education provided to him at Yendi Secondary school whilst Mahama put cotton in his ears and refused to listen to wisdom with his incoherent explanation as to why free secondary school education is not possible now. If Dr Kwame Nkrumah has said the same thing about not enough schools, (there was no secondary school in the North when free secondary school education was made free in the North), maybe Mahama's father will not have fathered nineteen children if he had to pay for their education or might have done so and Mahama will not be where he is today.

Free secondary school to all Ghanaians now, not in 2016 or twenty years later, Mr President.

Justice Sarpong

Houston, Texas

(CARDINAL of TRUTH)

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