You are here: HomeNews2019 03 01Article 727158

Opinions of Friday, 1 March 2019

Columnist: Inusah Mohammed

Thoughts of a Nima boy: An angry letter to Samuel Atta Akyea

Samuel Atta Akyea Samuel Atta Akyea

Dear (dis) Honorable,

I write this letter to you with anger filling the warp and woof of my body. You do not know me. I am Inusah Mohammed. I was born and bred in Nima, the town that gave identity to your mentor and boss in life under whom you nurtured and honed your skills as a lawyer, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

It was reported that you spoke on the floor of Parliament yesterday about the plans your outfit, Ministry of Works and Housing has for slums. It was in consonance with the President’s statement last week that “the most exciting news on the housing landscape, though, is the drafting of plans to regenerate Nima, which holds the dubious title of being Accra’s first slum.

But Nima has been unable to shake off the urban-slum title, will not dislodge or dispossess residents, but would rather transform Nima into a well-laid out residential area with full amenities. I am looking forward to it, good work that is being done by the Ministries of Inner City and Zongo Development and Works and Housing.”

So in your submission during the debate on the State of Nation Address, you lauded your party for the fact that your outfit is in charge of massive developmental drives that is going to be rolled out in the country. You started off very well by talking about the affordable housing projects started under President John Agyekum Kufuor and others under President John Mahama. You indicated that this government is willing to continue with the aabove-mentionedprojects. You stated “We will continue and complete all housing projects that started under erstwhile administrations. The Saglemi housing project will not be abandoned" the first phase of the project will resume when issues about money are sorted out. You then veered off into Slum development and mentioned that “So very soon, you will see Nima transformed.” Then you went haywire by stating that “" Mr. Speaker, there’s a slum upgrading which is about happening, that’s the Nima area. We wouldn’t want to pay lip service to the fact that we have some Ghanaians who are living in slums. We are going, to begin with, Nima and give Nima a facelift and for the first time we will see the good people of Nima flushing toilets like anybody will do in East Legon."

It was reported that the Ayawaso North Member of Parliament described your comments as an insult to the people of Nima. He stated “this is an insult to the people of Nima, for a whole minister to say that Nima is going to have “flushing toilet for the first time. For me, it’s an insult for the people of Nima. We are calling on him to withdraw this statement because it’s highly incorrect and I can mention to him that most of the people in Nima have flushing toilets. Let me also mention to him that even some public toilets in Nima have water closets. ”

When you were contacted on that your response was bereft of wisdom as your statement on Nima in parliament. You made a statement to the effect that Yussif Jajah has a problemtic mind by questioning your statement. You even stated foolishly that “if he [Ayawaso North MP] doesn’t want Nima to have the facility in East Legon then he hates Ghana and it is pathetic.” What a misguided judgement?

In the first place, your statement that Nima is going to have flushing toilets for the first time as in East Legon is reckless, condemnable and lacks wisdom. It clearly shows as a Minister of Works and Housing with plans for the Nima community, you do not even know there. Your statement paints Nima as a jungle and your boss finds his house in there. Few days ago, he boldly stated that he lives in Nima. Can therefore state that your boss eases himself in the streets?

In 2013, you were reported to have stated that you are a very serious lawyer. Our people from the legal fraternity are described as “learned fellows”. A lawyer worth his salt should have a fair idea that “it is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” And that is exactly what you did. You do not know Nima.

Nima may have its problems just like many communities in Ghana. Nima may have its inadequacies. But flushing toilet is not a novelty in Nima. Indigenes of Nima have a well-befitting place of convenience in their rooms not to even talk about homes. There are not many public toilets in Nima. There are just a few. Among the few, we have some that are flushing toilets and are kept almost neat and prim. The numbers may not be encouraging but this should not reduce you to a man who does not think.

The whole nation itself has a problem with the toilet. In 2017, a report titled ‘Out of Order’ released by WaterAid, an international Non-Governmental Organization named Ghana among the top 10 countries worldwide with the highest percentage of its population without decent toilets. It stated that “Ghana has about 85.7 percent of its population without decent toilets and this equals about 23 million people who suffer the fear and indignity of relieving themselves in the open or in unsafe or unhygienic toilets.” To therefore reduce this phenomenon to only Nima is troubling. Especially when you mentioned other places in your submission but did not demean its people as you did Nima.

You are the Member of Parliament for Akim Abuakwa South Constituency. It can be found in the Eastern Region of Ghana. It is made of communities that are better described as hamlets. This was a community which once upon a time was a no-go area for some political parties following the distribution of over 500 machetes to diehard supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). This constituency has nothing to show Nima. In your constituency, we have people who still ease themselves in the bush, no better community amenities not to even talk about how galamsey has rendered the place dangerous for living.

Nima, if for nothing at all shares the same constituency with the President’s house, Flagstaff House, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, TV3 and the Vice President’s house. A feat your constituency will never achieve. Yet you posit yourself arrogantly and spew balderdash in the name of a Minister. If not Ghana, where in the world will a myopic-minded person like you be a minister? I can put it to you that there’s not going to be any significant face-lift in Nima under your watch. It is going to be business as usual.

I found it very strange therefore that, a learned man as you claim could just speak before reasoning. The whole discussion of the plans to regenerate Nima has been reduced to piss and shit by you. How on earth does “face-lifting” a community that is very strategically placed in Accra get synonymous with how their toilet is? This is the reasoning of most of you and your ilk that come from different parts of the country.

Nima finds itself in the Ayawaso East Constituency and this constituency is far better than 200 and above of the 275 constituencies in Ghana. Yet you people view Nima like a jungle. You people have a myopic and jaundiced view of Nima. And this is a very big problem. Once upon a time, one Mr. Sam Pee Yalley stated that President Mills should not operate from the Flagstaff House because it is closer to Nima. We rose up to slap that statement in his face.

It is about time you people start revising your notes on Nima. It is a great community. I repeat with a statement from Robert Mugabe. He stated “We have said we will never collapse, never ever. We may have our droughts, our poverty, but as a people we shall never collapse, never ever.”

Nima will never collapse. We will rise up.

Inusah Mohammed
NB: The Writer is a Nima Boy

Join our Newsletter