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Opinions of Friday, 1 July 2016

Columnist: Abdul-Yekin, Kofi Ali

Could Brexit be a lesson for Ghanaians in ECOWAS?

"We have got our Independence!" is what the leader of the Leave Campaign, Boris Johnson, said to the Thursday, 23rd June, 2016 victory on the EU Referendum. "The British people have spoken, and our democracy has won us the world's respect again. It is indeed a respect we the British politicians earned from our people!" He added. Nigel Farage on his part shouted "We are free to deal with our Commonwealth nations without any interference from the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels". But who will think anyone, in their right frame of mind, can imagine Britian was not a free nation in the EU for the exit to be translated as independence? Well, the majority of the British people do! What then does the Ghanaian think of his or her own fate?

The lessons I personally learnt from the life time experience are, politicians who respect their people tell them the truth no matter how unpopular, provide leadership as alternative opinions and allow the people to have the final say. The British Referendum on the EU was a war of civilised people, fought by everyone, in favour or against. It is a war that the civilised politicians did not hide behind the complicated nature of the what is at stake to hijake the whole thing and make it about themselves alone, by choosing to determine the fate of their people and generations to come, but had everyone on board to make such critical decision. The British were give the opportunity of having their say on the fate of their children and generations to come, and they had their say. Every adult of voting age has had his or her say on the future of their country. Civilised people have once again used democracy in sending a strong message to the less civilised ones that every citizen is an equal stakeholder, in his or her nation's future and genuine respect to the people, is only when each is allowed to express themselves on the fate of their nation.
In a land where politicians respect their citizens, politicians allow their citizens to decide what is good for them, than limiting everything to the level of the elite. Our fate in ECOWAS is a big challenge as Ghanaians. Our politicians have developed the "dead goat syndrome" on whether the Ghanaian must have a say about the future of ECOWAS or not? It is just a wine way train heading to no where! We ask to let the Ghanaian vote for his or members of the ECOWAS parliament as makers of our regional laws, but our politicians feel the Ghanaian is so daft that he or she might get it all wrong. Thus, individuals from within the Ghanaian parliament are asked to add the responsibility of representing the Ghanaian in ECOWAS to their heavy load of the national parliamentary role of law making.

How strange is it to feel that our politicians who want us to trust them do not have the same trust in our judgement? How strange is it that our politicians who want us to believe that they know what is right for us, do not think we also know what is right to us? How strange is it that our politicians who want us to believe in them, do not have decency to believe in us as well? How strange is it to know that our politicians who believe that we are wise enough to elect them to our national parliament in Ghana to make national laws for us, do not believe that we are also wise enough to elect our representatives to the ECOWAS parliament to make regional laws for us?
If Boris Johnson believes that the EU in which the British citizens vote for their representatives to the EU parliament for regional laws making, does not make British people independence enough, what will Boris say to the Ghanaian politicians who do not have any decency to allow Ghanaians to have a say on their representation to the ECOWAS parliament? Could this be why the aspiring US Presidential candidate, Donald Trump referred to Africans as "slaves who are being enslave by their own kinds", implying Ghanaians are not independent? If Boris is complaining about the British annual contribution to the EU, despite the fact that almost 60% of the British trade goes to the EU and the EU is known to be funding a lot of projects within the UK, what will Boris say about the ECOWAS politicians that directly collect Tax from Ghanaians at our ports, and deny us the least in electing our ECOWAS MPs? "Slaves to ECOWAS?" Boris Johnson complains that 60% of the UK laws are now being replaced by the EU laws, indicating that he at least know the EU laws and their impact on the UK laws, what are the ECOWAS laws, if I may ask and who makes them?
Well, as we are looking at the bullish attitude of our Ghanaian politicians, it is also fair to look at the slavish attitude of our populace. It takes a foolish donkey for a selfish rider to enjoy a free ride. Now that Britain is out of the regional body and they are eyeing the Commonwealth, how strange is it to hear some Ghanaians to be jubilant about having their former colonial master now free to do as she pleases with her former colonies? It it strange to even hears some Ghanaians calling for Ghaxit from ECOWAS so that we can submit ourselves totally at the mercy of the former colonial mater in herding its commonwealth? The only thing that crosses my mind when I hear such utterances is the story of the hunter and the dog.

The Story of the Great Commonwealth and the British Coloniess is the best representation of the History of the Hunter and his dogs. One day, the hunter went out hunting for animals to feed himself and his family. In the course of the adventure, the famer came across a dog and its puppies. To achieve his mission, the hunter hunted down the bitch with the aim of using all means necessary to get the dog dead or alive. As fate may have it, the great hunter managed to get the wild dog alive and decided to kill the dog later. The dog and her puppies......

Even when the hunter was in a very big problem of his own future, all that the dog could do is to wait for the hunter to recover his composure and assume control over the psychologically captured dogs. Ironically, if the hunter had been a friend of the lion, instead of the enemy, the dogs would have done the same. Well, some of us saw some strange relationship Ghana entered into with the EU while the Brits were in it. The dramatic signing of the EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) is still fresh in our minds. What will be our fate when the Brits have now left the EU?
Instead of Ghanaians asking ourselves what twe will do in corporation with our fellow West Africans in consolidating our rank and file while the Bricks are struggling to re-establish their control of their colonial empire, Ghanaians are happy of the British exit from the EU. This to some is an opportunity for a life in the Commonwealth. What is common about the Commonwealth can never mean tha culture of the hunter and the hunted to some Ghanaians. Instead of joining us to make the ECOWAS better, they are calling for Ghaxit as the best option. Instead of joining us on our demand for the right in earning our respect of voting for our ECOWAS MPs to make our regional laws for us, than being disrespected into having others choosing on our behalf, all they think about is how to please the Brits. Could this not be that the British thought us everything except the ability to identify our interest beyond our colonial master's interest?

Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
Chairman ECRA
(ECOWAS Citizens Right Advocates)
kofialiabdul@yahoo.co.uk
044 773724787/044 7984445344, 00233277180508