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Opinions of Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Columnist: Agbenu, Charles

Blatant intimidation, edginess & provocation from Volta must stop.

The other day, the NPP running mate, Alhaji Dr. Bawumia made a presentation of about 78,000 bloated voters in Volta Region in the national register at his press conference. It became a good breakfast and dinner for my Ewe pals and commentators who were all over reading from their own imaginations and sentiments that: - NPP were discriminating against Ewes; that by singling out Ewe votes for attack in Bawumia's presentation, NPP demonstrated a propensity of hatred of Ewes – (although it was not true, because Bawumia indicated discrepancies about the voting population in other regions in his production).

Enter, the General Secretary of NDC, Johnson Asiedu 'Fur Coat' Nketsia who sent the matter to absurd heights by calling a special press conference and officially and aggressively and without shame accused NPP of being tribal and showing their proverbial hatred and disdain against Ewes – just because of the Dr. Bawumia findings. They postulated that the heavens were coming down on Volta region. The frame up pleased Ewes. It pleased NDC and their frenzied attack dogs who exploited the ethnocentric sentiments in the name of politics.

Enter also, the EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, who was on the authoritative Joy Fm newsfile the other Saturday in front of the host Sampson Lardini, and alleged that Asante region Voters' register was over bloated with more than a staggering 200,000 voters. She said it freely without any iota of compunction. And she singled out Asante Region. Everything was normal.

The simple questions to my fellow Voltarians and NDC is that: - was the EC chair being tribal with that pronouncement? Was she by that, showing hatred to Asantes? Why is the EC Chair freely able to make provocative references to only Asante voters' without anybody - including NPP and their loudmouths referring to that as anti-Asante, in Ghana political spectrum? Also, rolling back, why did late Prof Ata Mills , as NDC Presidential candidate, secure total fresh voter's registration in Ghana in 2008, by freely making constant references to over bloated Asante register – and it was only Asante region - and still nobody , including Asantes, themselves never labelled that or saw that as hatred for Asantes?

Is Volta Region, therefore a sacred cow? Is it that, anytime the Volta region becomes a target or reference point in Ghana, whatsoever, then equalization should be made with other regions, especially, Asante region before it becomes acceptable? So, if it is Volta Region then NPP and others should be gagged? So if it Asante Region then NDC and others should be free to do their own thing? I am disgusted.

I think this is blatant intimidation and provocation from Volta region and should be eschewed in modern Ghana. I have argued several times with my folks to stop this unhelpful attitude and think positively. I continue that, the day Voltarians will accept that they can be freely criticized in Ghana just as they have been criticizing Asante and other regions freely, Ghana will laugh heartily on the road to positive development. Let Voltarians eschew the: - 'sacred cow' mentality: 'victim playing' mentality: 'untouchable' mentality and see themselves as part of the comity of regions and tribes called Ghana – all with equal rights. Then Ghana will be on the road to healthy and peaceful progress. The suspicions are damn too much despite the fact that they are baseless and imaginary. It's just like the Gas who said in 2000 that they feared Asantes would come to power and take the sea to Kumasi and people used such thoughts to vote against NPP in this 21st century.

And I challenge NDC to stop the unscrupulous exploitation of these ethnocentric sentiments, which observers believe have propped their dubious electoral wins over the years. My uncle tells me the ongoing raging controversy of Ghana's population figures, National Identification, Voters register etc has its roots in this negative ethnocentrism and has persisted since Kwame Nkrumah. This should end and it depends on how the frontline Volta volatile political leaders, like Koku Anyidoho, Fiifi Kwetey, Okujeto Ablakwa, Dr. Bokor, Kofi Adams, Anita De Zoozoo, Richard Quarshigah, etc. will embrace the culture of containment and tone down and educate their constituents. Where is this paranoid coming from? Of late, some Northern politicians like Amaliba, Murtala Muhammad, Halidu Mohammed etc are also joining the damnable bandwagon.

Dr. Bokor, Koku Anyidoho and Fiifi Kwetey etc are too sensitive anytime there are references to Volta Region and their reactions are overboard. I don't see the big idea in the edginess and nervousness from Volta. It is needless and unwarranted. I repeat, this has assumed high levels of culture of intimidation, abuse and provocation in Ghana socio-politico spectrum. It should stop.

Charles Agbenu