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Feature Article of Friday, 13 July 2012

Columnist: Odoom, Andrews Afforo K.

Azonto After 2012, Save The Last Dance

Our hearts will not beat with the tensions of the impending elections but with the pulsating rhythms of azonto. Whether you believe it or not, azonto is a new definition of Ghana’s nucleus; a perfect fusion of our diverse local dance moves; “Adowa” (local dance of the Ashantis), “Apaa” (local dance of Gas), etc. The dance, which is usually performed with accompanying smiles, embraces depictions of ironing, washing, driving, boxing, praying, swimming, among others. With these movements, we will tolerate our differences and iron them out, drive away every tension, fear and anxiety, pray for divine guidance and intervention, box away every challenge confronting us, and swim in an ocean of unity and peace, during and after the 2012 General Elections.

For me, azonto has great lessons to offer us if we can interpret its numerous movements. Among others, it teaches the following:

1. UNITY AND STRENGTH

Neither did Adowa nor Apaa on their own like all the other local dances get any better, BUT with a perfect fusion, azonto is now the only local dance raving international waves. If you doubt this, hit azonto on Google to see if you won’t be buttered with all the “goodie goodies” of azonto on Wikipedia and YouTube. This is how strong we can be as people if we stand together by joining our differences together in this election. What we should understand as people is that it is only things that are apart could be united. Therefore, our different political ideological differences should not be magnified into a problem but should be visualized as an opportunity for us to be united; “For united we stand, divided we fall”

2. TOLERANCE AND PEACE

Azonto is the only local dance that comes without tribe and prejudice. There are no special azonto movements for the Christians and Muslims, Partisans and Non-partisans, Northerners and Southerners, NPPs and NDCs.

3. CREATIVITY AND DYNAMISM

We are in an era which belongs to people who could distinguish themselves through creativity and innovation, yet stay uncorrupted in the midst of this rapidly changing dynamism of our world today.

Hey! Who said the Vice President’s display at the ECOWAS games’ opening ceremony was a four by one azonto? Why do you think we have the Gyanian azonto, Tiffanian azonto and Gasmillan azonto? You better learn the latest “Mahaman” move or forever hold your peace!

Already, we are faced with all sorts of daunting remarks flashing our media by experts from both international and local communities.

Without any doubt, Ghana is the shining black star among Africa’s political democratic galaxy. The question we must ask ourselves is not how we can protect this enviable pride of ours but…WHO OR WHAT can deny Ghana from being clad in her priceless ornaments? Is it the media or journalist, party or politician, you or me?

If you doubt whether President Evans Atta Mills holds the key to a better Ghana agenda or Nana Akuffo Addo can make education free up to the secondary school level, you can only make them convince you by asking them how they could achieve them, and keep silent till you make a decision on December 7th through the power of your thumb. Just like us, the political parties have visions different from one another. Our dynamism is in our different opinions. It is either you agree or disagree with me... Our disagreement is not synonymous to enmity!

4. WORK AND HAPPINESS Through azonto people have enjoyed ironing, canoe paddlers have enjoyed paddling their canoes and it’s even more amazing to see Gasmilla (Ghana music artist) “shave his armpit publicly” Whenever, the subject of tolerance and peace is discussed, we often overlook the undeniable role music and musicians play in our elections.

Years ago, music was merely synonymous to entertainment but today; it is far bigger than that…it has political, social and economic influence.

The fact that the government recognized the creative industry in its 2012 budget is a signal that they are ready to collaborate with musicians to ensure tolerance, peace and unity before, during and after Election 2012.

Shame unto you Mr.” music man” if you are jotting down melancholic lines to soothe pains of Ghanaians for anticipated war. Instead, think about your role to ensure peace in 2012 elections. I must be quick to note that, “MUSIGA Tolerance Walk” organized by The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) on Thursday 3rd November, 2011 is commendable.

Politicians and political parties are good partners for our musicians but our musicians are sometimes afraid to do business with them because of what the general public and their fans are likely to say about them. A journalist can write stories on different political parties and nobody will tag him as belonging to one of the parties but let a musician do a song for a political party and eye browse will be raised at him. I would entreat music fans to look at this issue with a different spectacle.I wish to add that political parties should make the creativity and hardwork of musicians pay if they use their music or otherwise during their campaign.

5. POWER AND AUTHORITY

Dear eligible voter, your vote is your power! It is both your right and your responsibility to visit your polling station and decide the future of Ghana. Be reminded, your power ends at voting. If you are not an official for any electoral assignment, go home and come back to observe the count when it is time. If you are not an official security, don’t make yourself one. This is how you can be responsible and contribute to peace.

6. SERIOUSNESS AND ALERTNESS

One thing peculiar about azonto gymnastics is seriousness, yet conscious of every movement, ensuring that their body language resonates with the rhythms of the beat. We appreciate the seriousness with which our politicians, journalists, media and sometimes individuals attach to their message. However, they should always be conscious of sending out information that would deepen our democracy, unite us as people and lead to sustenance of peace and security.

7. VIGOR AND PASSION

Ghanaians are very passionate and it is not surprising to find our youth and even the old dancing with all their energy and passion. At least our religious comrades have lifted up many supplications to the heavens for peace, security and stability within our borders (National prayer).

However, we can not afford the luxury of melting everything under prayer and fasting. Without any qualm, praying and fasting definitely have their place in sustaining peace in elections like what has been termed the mother of all elections by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?”(James 5:15, NIV). This marks a clarion call to the political parties, media, NGOs, business men, musicians, and all other corporate entities.

My valued business man, we understand your busy schedules may not allow you to be on the field with us in this peace campaign but you can be involved by supporting us financially. How can you run your business should the nation be thrown into a state of disrepair? If you think this is joke, ask companies who had to abandon their lucrative businesses during the immediate crisis at La Côte d'Ivoire.

On this note, I would like to congratulate all cooperate bodies who have already contributed in this tolerance and peace campaign. My dear brothers and sisters, why should we direct our passions against one another? In case the remnants of war have faded from your memory, allow me to sadden you with history. What caused a man to lift his machete against a fellow man from the same land and butchered him like a goat, then raped his wife and daughter, set his son ablaze and plugged the eyes of his next door neighbor, cut the belly of a pregnant woman and smashed her fetus on the ground as the helpless husband and father watched in tears and grief? These are but just a few scars of war in Rwanda, Kenya, Cote D’Ivoire, Congo and Cambodia.

By divine authority, I hereby decree! Blood shall not well-up our streams, our atmosphere shall not be filled with stinking stench of corpses and wailings of maimed sons and daughters of our own, and our land shall not be polluted with any war remnants. It is nothing but merry making, entertainment, gladdening glee-PEACE that will fill our hearts after 7th December,2012 elections…Therefore, Where ever, you find yourself dancing; whether in the church, party, or wedding…remember to save the last dance for AZONTO after 2012.

Isaac and Issaka, Aboagye and Agbenyega, Amanfo) and Akatakyie, NPP and NDC…REMEMBER…IT IS GHANA FIRST!!!

Andrews Afforo K. Odoom

andrewafforo@gmail.com

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