Feature Article of Saturday, 3 March 2012
Columnist: Ampadu–Agyemfrah, John
The Bowiris are among the ethnic groups in Ghana of which very little, or if not, nothing at all is known about the people and the land. The history of Bowiri although rich, has shrouded in mystery. I therefore, call on researchers and the academia as a matter of concern to consider the place for future scholarly acceptability.
The Bowiri people are Guans i.e., the autochthonous people to have inhabited present day Ghana. They were led by Kutuatu as their ruler and a deity and migrated from Moree in the Central Region to their present abode dated 13th Century.
The Bowiri people live in the Northern Volta in the eastern part of Ghana. It lies within the Tropical Rainforest zones of Ghana surrounded by beautiful range, connecting to the famous Attakora range of the Republic of Benin. Typical of any other forest, there abound several economic tree species such as Odum, Mahogany, Sapele and many more such as Odum, Onyamedua, Atan, Kupoli among others are mostly used for their medicinal potency are found in the forest which attract many people home and abroad to Bowiriland for medical attention. Animal species like Dabo, Duiker (Antelope), porcupine, bush cat, tortoise, snails and many others are there.
I therefore, suggest to the Wildlife Division to explore the prospects of the area for the conservation of these gift of nature.
The Tourist Board is of no exception, as the area, has a huge and attractive scenery and tourist potential. They include a rock cave mangrove with a human footprint on the rock, waterfalls, streams, River Volta passes through Bowiri at Odumase and Kwamekrom, beautiful mountainous view and many more that you can imagine. Bowiri, was carved from the Jaskan District which is just 5 kilometres away, and it is now a nucleus of the newly Biakoye District which is far miles away. It was a situation which generated huge contentions among the five traditional areas which form the Biakoye District over the choice of a district capital which have been unwillingly accepted.
The boundaries of the area stretched through Akpafu in the south through Buem and as far as the regional boundary of Volta and Brong-Ahafo Regions.
The population of Bowiri is almost 90,000, which by extension, per the Local Government Laws of Ghana - L.A. 462 of 1993, poised to be a district on it own, thus an issue to be considered in the foreseeable future by government.
Deserving of mention is that, despite the fact that Bowiri is endowed with arable land for economic viability, it is also one of the cocoa and coffee producing areas.
The area is also gifted with human resources of its citizens in the field of legal, medical, engineering, academic, construction, business, farming, trading, local artisanship’s and many others.
One of the sons of the soil is a Pro-Vice Chancellor in the country’s institution of higher leaning.
To the novice of Bowiriland, after a brief exposé of the area and its people, what next?
Bowiri has about 12 communities or even more, notably; Anyinase, Amanfro, Kyiriahi, Kwamekrom, Abohire, Aboabo, Abetinase, Kubease, Takrabe, Fahiakobo, Odumase just to mention but a few. If economic viability is anything to go by, Kwamekrom stands tall and without any expression of prejudice it is strategically placed within the catchment of the district, densely populated and full of brisk activities.
It is often said that “no one points to the direction of his home with the left hand”, to wit, one need not speak ill of where he/she hails from albeit the horror nature of the case. This notwithstanding, the statement, has for the past years been a silent killer amongst many Ghanaians in general and Bowiris in particular. There has been a discovery of an antidote for the above statement by another proactive school of thought which suggests that exposing the problem, it is half solved, which is considered to be most appropriate. The legendary Martin Luther King Jnr., put it in a succinctly manner that, “we continue to die if we remain silent of the things that matter most”. He added, “The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict”.Bowiri cannot continue to remain oblivious and to perpetual obscurity. It is in this vein, that a support is given to the citizens of Bowiri in their clarion call of making known to the power that be, their problems which had engulfed them over the years. It is a general knowledge that, for the past 50 years, Bowiri have not catch the eyes of the drafters of the national budget and that no single concrete project has been acknowledged to have been received by us just to put smiles on our faces.
The total neglect and the general deprivation of Bowiri Traditional Area, make them view politicians with disdain.
The road network is nothing good to write home about.
It is a dead trunk with deep pot holes. It is ridiculous, that since 1986, when that portion of the road linking the north was given to Abu Construction, it has since not experience any resurfacing. The indigenes, only know of the contractors who worked on the road during Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s era and Chairman Rawlings’ era. They ask, whether they belong to the unitary state of Ghana. As asserted earlier, it is just 5 kilometres to Jasikan, but on a sad note, it is avoided by motorists thereby, worsening the case of their plight. This is because one has to pass through a long distance with an exorbitant fare for avoidance of the deplorable nature of the road which hitherto, was of a short distance before getting to Jasikan. From Kwamekrom, Aboabo, Takrabe, Kubease, Aboabo, Odumase, Abohire to Jasikan and Kyiriahi, Amanfro, Anyinase to Jasikan portion of the road, is to say the least, horrendous.
A cursory reflection of the numerous budgets and the state of the nation’s address to parliament by past and present government reveal the level of political demagogue. Why? The reason is that Jasikan-Brewenease road, now of a new emerging jargon i.e., the eastern corridor road is frequently mentioned and it remains an illusion or for a want of better expression, a mirage.
Time for Central Government to act is now. No excuse whatsoever will be acceptable. Construction of the road is a must since it is the shortest route from Accra to the north.
Education in the area is on the decline. The condition of study is virtually not the best. In almost all the communities, they either study in dilapidated mud structures which have existed more than 100 years or under trees. The conditions of the current wards are of apathetic to the aged whose era if not better as compared to their folks in the cities were enough to rub shoulders. The attention of government is needed in Bowiri for a complete elimination of schools under trees. Teachers do not accept postings to the area and even the few are more truants than the pupils.
Ghana Education Service (G. E. S.) Inspection Directorate must embark on a surprise tour of the area and confirm the veracity of the issue. Government must be responsible in this regard to save the lost of the best brains, future leaders of the area who do compete with their compatriots in the cities. Indeed, the missionaries- the Catholic and the Bremen Missionaries have contributed their part by leading them to the Christian faith and introducing them to education. For how long can we continue to be under the structures they provided over the centuries? It is regrettable to learn that no one remains in the area to pursue education to the highest level unless he/she sojourned outside the perimeters of the area and it is enough to buttress my point.
It is on record that there was no single Secondary School in the area. It is a fact also, that through their communal efforts they have one by the invaluable contribution of Nana Okogyeoman Simpiripi,known in private life as Godwin Harding Attu of blessed memory and many visionary minded citizens of the land which appeared in the Daily Graphic edition of 12th September, 2010 to establish one. We salute your efforts. Nana Simpiripi, you were a true son of the soil and immortalized.
For the Member of Parliament of the area, he is a failure, because, in his home backyard there is no tangible projects apart from street light that he can said to have bequeathed his people. The road from the main, to his hometown is just enough to deter a stranger and a first time visitor.
The roads on the Nkonya side reveals the contrast between Dr. Kwabena Adjei and Lawyer Emmanuel Kwasi Bandua, the former and the current M.P respectively, Dr. Adjei is celebrated among the Nkonya’s. Hardly, does the sitting M.P. honour invitations within the constituency. Considering the cosmopolitan nature of the Volta Region, the M.P. is qualified to be a minister of state but since it is the sole prerogative of the president, we appeal to His Excellency, to consider Lawyer Bandua for a ministerial appointment so that geographical balance can be enhanced for him to have the political muscles to develop his area. It is for this reason of marginalization that the Northern Volta was in demand for a creation of new region for accelerated development between the north and the south.
Given the situation on the ground, a true minded Bowiri will agree with me that most of the problems had been the cause of the citizens.
Indeed Bowiri is suffering from a protracted chieftaincy litigation of which the issue of paramountcy is in a serious contention with bad blood running between Anyinase and Amanfro.
It is said that “when your neighbours’ house is on fire, you set an extinguisher close to yours”. It happened in Apesokubi which is between the same enclaves.
At the end of the day, you will very well agree with me that wherever, a conflict (Chieftaincy) the area suffers from serious deprivation and a massive neglect. It is therefore, a common knowledge that development can only thrive in an atmosphere of tranquility devoid of litigation. Since the traditional amalgamation in the 1960s, Bowiri was aligned to the Buem Traditional Council and is still under it, with it huge population. The Buem Traditional Council is headed by Nana Akpandjah, Omanhene of Buem Traditional Area. Chieftaincy dispute have not and will not help Bowiri and have rather contributed to the bane of the area. It is time now for deadlock to give way for dialogue; litigation must allow brotherly love to permeate the entire Bowiri. It will be recalled that a district Farmer’s Day which should have been hosted by Bowiri was relocated to a different location because of the contention of the paramountcy. Indeed, one cannot recollect the last time a durbar was held of which any official of the state attended.
Presidential candidates in their quest, for political power during campaigning do by-pass Bowiri for apparently the same reason because their safety is at stake and will not want to be dragged into traditional politics. Who will hear the grievances of Bowiri as it has been the case elsewhere?
The Secondary School needs to be upgraded. Who will tell our story for us?
Since the bitter lessons of chieftaincy dispute among some ethnic groups are fresh in our memories, I am by this piece of work hereby, direct both the Regional and National Houses of Chiefs as a matter of urgency to step in and avert a possible blood spillage by executing their core mandates as stipulated by Article 274(3)(b)(c)(d)(e); Article 273 of the 1992 Constitution to the latter, without fear or favour in search for the truth, Nana Akpandjah is the one to contact with the available documents of the real occupant when it comes to Bowiri paramountcy issue. Reference can be made in the Ghanaian Chronicle edition of 12th March, 2008 when the creation of the Biakoye District was announced that we had a sour experience of pen battle between the two claimants Nana Kwaku Salo II and Nana Kwame Adom V.
Of course, chieftaincy is of bona fide right and ownership, it is not for the loudest noise-maker nor is it for the one with heavy largesse. Although, I am a citizen of the land, it must be stated that I do not have any locus standi for any of the claimants, but as a son of the land, the truth is what we are calling for towards a speedy development of the area. The various chiefs must come together for a unilateral decision and long lasting settlement to nip the situation in the bud. Our revered leaders must rise beyond triviality and stem the tide.
Development is a must for Bowiri. Bowiri must awake from its deep slumber. Anarchy must not be allowed since we belong to a common ancestry. In unity lies strength. Both Regional and National Houses of Chiefs must be proactive to resolve the fracas amicably for Bowiri to enjoy its place of pride in the annals of the nation.
With our population, health posts in the various localities are just negligible as they cannot cope with the growing health needs of our people. A modern hospital would be graciously welcomed by both the inhabitants and its neighbours. Indeed, as true sons of the land, I join the people to appeal to government to remember Bowiri since when developed; it can be salubrious to shapen national policy to reduce the burden of rural-urban drift of the working youth in search for non existing pastures elsewhere.
Bowiri cannot continue to be in doldrums. Bowiri must rise above under development and the quagmire. Is it to say that these are the days when men of all social disciplines and all political faiths seek the comfortable and the accepted; when the man of controversy is looked upon as a disturbing influence; when originality is taken to be a mark of instability; and when, in minor modification of the scriptural parable, the bland lead the bland. My passionate appeal to my people is to remain calm and forged in unity because in unity lies strength. The truth will definitely come in the not distant future. The enemy of progress, the miscreant, the charlatan and the on with the divisive tendency would soon be exposed for Bowiri development. Our consolation is in the Matthew gospel, Matthew 26:52 “he who pulls the sword shall die by the sword”.
With the dwindling fortunes and abject poverty starring our people and seemingly conflicts which is seriously affecting the emotions of the indigenes coupled with poor quality education, lack of opportunities and almost neglect of our land by politicians, should we continue to remain in this fate and shall we be fair to posterity?
Long live Luwuli! Long live Bowiri!! Long Live Ghana.
By Chief John Ampadu–Agyemfrah