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Feature Article of Thursday, 29 March 2012

Columnist: Abass, Mahamoud

Who Is Alhaji Bature?

I read and follow the news with much amazement the activities of this man called Alhaji Iddrisu Bature, the Togolese now turned Ghanaian based in Nima Accra. I write as a citizen of Nima who knows and worked closely with Alhaji Bature the greatest pretender of all times in the history of Ghana. I would have minded my own business but you see there is an adage which says that if the house of your neighbor is fire, the best and wisest thing to do is just get a bucket full of water ready before the extension of the fire is caught up with you.

Alhaji Bature came to start business along the Nima-Mamobi Highway somewhere in the mid nineties. Alhaji Bature comes from neighboring Togo and through maneuverings, found himself in the Ghanaian educational system. He is of the Kotkoli extraction from that country (check his face; he has some vertical tribal marks we call in local parlance as single one eleven). He cleverly went to stay in the Upper Eastern Regional capital, Bolgatanga. That was where he had his secondary education by using the Ghanaian educational system under the pretext of being a northerner from Ghana. He never went beyond that level. He holds Ordinary Level Certificate-simplicita

Then in the early eighties and nineties, he could not survive the heat of economic pressure that characterized the country under different regimes.

He ‘stowwayed’ his way to America and sojourned for sometime before coming back to Ghana. He brought nothing, just returned to the country with practically nothing in hand only a wretched bag and some few dollars. Alhaji came and was staying around Nima in one of the ‘Lungus’ (corners) and was messing up with the young Zongo girls and lured an underage of a Kantosi extraction and used money by marrying her. After the first pregnancy and the girl delivered, Alhaji Bature threw the girl out of the matrimonial home.

Mother and child were left to their fate. Till date as I scribble this piece, ask me how are they faring? Alhaji Bature never set eyes on them. Go ask anybody who knows him; Alhaji Bature can never stay under one roof with a woman to be called his wife. After Alhaji Bature’s ‘burger cash’ got finished he was reduced to total penury with nothing to fall on. Even how Alhaji Bature got food to eat was such a herculean task that he was always found under some trees playing draught with friends,with such friends buying food for him to eat.

Alhaji could play draught entirely for the day until a ‘messiah’ in the person Ibrahim Adam, former agric minister, came along to put up a project along the Nima Highway. Ibrahim Adam wanted a place to put up chain of stores. In those days it was very fashionable to get landlords whose houses are by the road side come under a kind of agreement so that the investor would build and calculation is done and spread over a period depending on the amount of money invested in the structure.

When Ibrahim Adam arrived and wanted a headman for his project, somebody among the crowd suggested that Alhaji Bature was sitting under a tree over there playing draught. Ibrahim Adam wondered initially how a draught player could manage a whole project like putting up a stream of stores in a given location. It was there that somebody went to Alhaji Bature on the quiet. He arrived with torn trousers. Ibrahim Adam looked at him with suspicion, but it was impressed upon Ibrahim Adam by the people around to go ahead and allow Alhaji Bature do the job. Reluctantly Ibrahim Adam gave Alhaji Bature the nod. That was the beginning of his breakthrough. Just about the same time Ibrahim Adam and others were dragged to CHRAJ on corruption charges. So when Ibrahim Adam was clearing his name from the CHRAJ, Alhaji Bature severally and jointly owned the project. That was where he had a problem with Ibrahim Adam and with all the humility associated with him; Ibrahim Adam left Alhaji Bature to his fate.

This is because at the time Ibrahim Adam wanted peace to be able to defend and clear his name. So Alhaji Bature ‘hijacked’ the project and claimed ownership of the project much to the amazement of all. And as if by design, that was how the matter died a natural death and the greedy and insensitive Alhaji Bature claimed something that was never his, without investing a dime.

Then there was a very interesting development. After some time,the time agreed upon for using the piece of plot, the tenancy agreement was coming to an end. What did the maverick Alhaji Bature do? He went to the Lands Commission in Accra and prepared fictitious documents and changed ownership of the place in his name. This time not between him and Ibrahim Adam, but fake documents to take away the land from the original owner of the property. He brought it to the owner, who is now of blessed memory, to append his thumb print. The man an illiterate sensing danger told Alhaji Bature to allow time. It was there the man made somebody to read for him the contents of what Alhaji Bature wanted him to thumb print. The real implication was mentioned to the man; the old man collapsed and had to be revived.

The place is located along the Nima Highway, in the Mamobi area, near a place called ‘American House’. In that house which is a popular place called ‘Tuon Zara’ was miraculously saved from the claws of this greedy and insensitive Alhaji Bature. That was how the man’s wife with two children, one boy one girl were saved from the hungry and dangerous mischief of Alhaji Bature. But for the timely intervention of a thoughtful person, Alhaji Bature now the moralist standing on high moral grounds condemning even the Rawlinses, whose minister, Ibrahim Adam made Alhaji Bature what he is today and would have succeeded fraudulently in taking away somebody’s prpoerty.These are his actions.

The story did not end there. He opened up a restaurant and a guest house on the rented property called Hamdullah guest house. Workers who actually worked with Alhaji Bature were never to get their salaries at the right time and in some cases it became a bad debt. In his ignorance he picked up the name of the international food chain, McDonalds and started operations, until a ‘Samaritan’ drew his attention about the legal implications of his actions. Quickly he changed the name to Mcbonald and was operating it until he became very bankrupt again. When the restaurant was operating he turned the place into a prayer camp, playing upon the poverty level of the people by buying simple things like orange and banana for Muslims during fasting time. But I can bet you that during fasting time, Alhaji Bature himself does not fast at all. It was very common to find him eating openly during fasting period. It was also very common for us to hear issues of abuse of female workers during those days, those girls who prove hard nuts to crack, there was only thing he would do; show them the exit. When all was lost again,Alhji Bature found himself at Radio Gold as a moderator of that controversial program, ‘Alhaji and Alhaji’.No wonder, there was a rift and dirty exposure of the ‘moralist’,Alhaji Bature, forcing him out of the place. And today he styles himself as editor of a newspaper with what training? May Allah save Ghanaian journalism.

In 2000,Alhaji Bature was nursing the ambition to contest the Ayawaso East constituency on the ticket of the NDC.But today if you ask him his association with the very party he wanted to stand on their ticket to parliament, he tells us that his association does not extend beyond the sympathy he has for the NDC.In fact his ambition to stand for the Ayawaso East was scuttled when he heard that Dr Ibn Chambas was also nursing similar ambition and when Alhaji Bature tested the ground and realized that it was no go area, especially the way and manner he left his wife and a child which became a public knowledge, gave him a rough working idea as to what was actually in store for him-DISASTER. Like Raskimono would say ‘he run fi cover’, a very shameful way of accepting defeat.

I write as one person who has once upon a time lived with Alhaji Bature in the Nima community with other folks. If a fish comes out of the river to tell you that the crocodile with whom he lives with in the river is blind in one eye, any need to doubt it? Such is the story of the man through a cheap medium like radio can be heard loud mouthed everywhere. Insulting all manner of people including people who laid their lives in defense of the truth and justice in the country. We must not allow such characters like Alhaji Bature to have a field day when he himself knows for sure that he can never pass the litmus test of morality.

For those workers who worked for him and never got paid at Mcbonald at Mamobi, some of them still tell us that they have forgiven him.Others, majority unfortunately, are still swearing fire and brimstone and are looking for his head in demanding their pound of flesh. Those who are interested in finding out the truth or otherwise of this matter raised here, I will urge you to go to Nima Highway, Mamobi, near ‘American House’, a popular spot for verification. His sordid past hangs precariously there and it’s a known fact and a cynosure for all who care.

I will rest my case for your perusal.

ahamoud Abass

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