You are here: HomeNews2006 11 16Article 113964

Opinions of Thursday, 16 November 2006

Columnist: Noble, Alhassan Osman

Re: “Dagbon – Like”War In The Making”


The Public Agenda newspaper is one newspaper I enjoy reading because it focuses on advocacy and developmental issues. It is therefore not surprising that it was adjudged the best newspaper on developmental issues.

However the newspaper sometimes goes off tangent by sensational reportage perhaps to attract a wider patronage like other “political “newspapers. I appeal to the newspaper to stick to its mission of advocacy and development.

The 3rd November , 2006 of Public Agenda on the above caption saddened me. I do not know the intention of the writer Miss Irene Elorm Hatsu by giving that nauseating caption to her story. I do not however think she meant mischief or to ridicule Dagombas and Northerners in general. Many ignorant Ghanaians refer to people from Dagbon or Northern extraction as persons who have the penchant for beating war drums and the least provocation resort to fighting. Chieftaincy disputes or ethnic conflicts is not only the preserve of Dagombas or Northerners in general. It cuts across the ten regions of this country. It has been used by selfish , disgruntled and heartless politicians to achieve their political interests. Chieftaincy or ethnic conflicts have been with us since pre-independence era. I am making a passionate and fervent appeal to journalists and the good people of this country to refrain from using any looming conflict arising from any part of the country and liken it to the disgraceful and embarrassing event of 27th March 2002. Continuous referring to any conflict arising from any part of the country to “Dagbon-Like” or “Northern-Like” would be seen as deliberately ridiculing Dagombas or Northerners’ in general.

The sad events of 27th March 2002 which culminated in the gruesome murder of Ya-Na Yakubu II and forty others (all of blessed memory) was a well orchestrated plan perfectly executed by a group of anarchists with their collaborators in government. This plan was executed because of the ineptitude of the Executive headed by .H.E. President J.A. Kufuor and the entire national security apparatus. This is why to date no attempt is being made to prosecute the perpetrators of this national calamity and disgrace. All that the President and his executive arm of government are telling we the victims and the good people of Ghana they have no evidence to prosecute the perpetrators of this national calamity. .The government and the Wuoko Commission describe the unfortunate and disgraceful events of 25th March 2002 to 27th March 2002 as a war. In the three days “war” Dagbon lost one of her greatest Kings who ever lived together with forty others. Ya Na Yakubu and those who were murdered with him all died as heroes. They all died in defense of truth and the time tested Dagbon custom. When the history of Dagbon and modern Ghana of the 21st century is to be written their names would be engraved in letters of gold. It is only in Ghana under President John Agyekum Kufour that a blody three day “war” is fought and the opposing side has not suffered any casualty and where one side has lost more than forty persons. It is only under this government that mere vultures are rated above human beings. Unfortunately vultures that were killed had justice. The killers of the vultures were quickly prosecuted. This “heinous crime” to quote H.E President John Agyekum Kufuor in his nation wide radio and television broadcast shortly after the murder of the Ya-Na and forty others is an indictment not only to Dagombas but all Ghanaians’. The event of March 27th 2002 is a black spot on the government of President J.A. Kufour and would continue to haunt him unless justice is given to the victims before he leaves office on 7th January 2009. The government of H.E John Agyekum Kufuor has been proclaimed by the United States of America and her allies of Western Europe as a model of good governance and rule of law. This is why civil society organizations such as Centre for Democracy and Development, Amnesty International, the Ghana Bar Association, the various religious leaders and most unfortunately the National House of chiefs whose leading member was murdered have all kept a stony silence on this national calamity because they do not want to incur the displeasure of the darling boy of Great America. Meanwhile a leading contender to the N.P.P. flag bearership at a recent meeting with members of the party told them to vote for him at the national delegates congress. So that he would continue to protect them from prosecution if he wins the flagbearer position and eventually gets elected as the President of the Republic of Ghana.

Northern Ghana and Dagbon are safe havens for investments and strangers. Be they Ghanaians’ or foreigners. Northerners and Dagombas in particular are peace loving people. Dagbon has a unique culture and tradition from all other ethnic groups in Ghana.It is only in Dagbon that a landlord would give up his dinner to a guest who pays an unannounced visit . In Dagbon a landlord would voluntarily leave his room for a visitor and move to the wife’s room. In Dagbon the chief’s palace is open to every one that is why the main entrance to our chiefs’ palaces are left unlocked twenty – four hours. In Dagbon any visitor can walk and take a bowl of meal during times for meals without any one questioning. The chiefs palace is a sanctuary for all manner of persons. The late Ya Na Yakubu II was the embodiment of Dagbon culture. That is why his magnanimity knew no bounds. Even known enemies received undeserved honours from him. It is therefore not surprising that many of the known enemies who benefited from his magnanimity either participated directly in his murder or openly rejoiced over his callous and gruesome murder. It is not surprising because most of these persons are people of doubtful parentage. It is the behavior of such persons that some misguided journalists use as a platform to ridicule Northerners’. and Dagombas in general.’.

Dagbon has been a comfortable haven for many settlers both during the pre-colonial and post-colonial eras. Mention can be made of the Kramos, Tufuors, F.D. Nsiahs, G.K. Apiahs and S.K. Manus all these were settlers who made their wealth in Dagbon. Some of their children have made Tamale their permanent homes.The present generation has Oloso Manager of Modern City Lodge / Modern City Business, Osei Bobie of Quality First Enterprise , Dr. Aklaku of Picorna Hotel, the Quarshie and Marfo familiesare all settlers who have come to the North and have been blessed by The Almighty Allah.

My appeal to some journalists is to find time and travel beyond Kumasi and come up to the North and spend some few days. When we talk of the Ghanaian hospitality it is found in the North especially Dagbon. The stories about the North as being told by some journalists is similar to the Western propaganda about Africa and the developing countries. It is time we focus our lenses on the positive aspects about the North as well. This is not to say that journalists and social commentators should close their eyes and ears when some group of people are carrying out any acts that would destabilized any part of the country , We should be bold and criticize those who fan these crisis to satisfy their whims and caprices . If Ghanaian journalists, civil society organizations, the Ghana Bar Association, the various religious bodies (both Muslims & Christians) and the last but not the least the National House of Chiefs should discard their cloaks of sycophancy and hypocrisy and speak against injustice and discriminations of all the crisis that emerged on March 25th 2002 could have been averted. The billions of the HIPC tax payers monies that has gone down the drain in the name of so called peace maintenance could have been saved. As the adage says “a stitch in time saves nine”.

We have no country other Ghana let us all collectively help build our motherland . Events in our neighbouring countries should serve as guides to us.


Alhassan Osman Noble

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.