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Opinions of Saturday, 27 March 2010

Columnist: Adamu, Tanko Balik

Decent People of Tamale Must Stand up Save Our City from the Ignorant Ones

Tamale and the North for that matter have always been in the news for the wrong reasons. Every time you read or hear about Tamale in the news, it is never about all of the awesome things people in Tamale are doing for themselves and for Ghana but almost always about the barbaric actions of the few uneducated and unemployed morons in the city. It will be easy to blame the press for only highlighting the negatives of the people from the city and that part of the country. I am however not going to go in that direction for the simple reason that all of the negative things that have been written or said about Tamale and the North happened and deserved some coverage. For instance it is only us who are proud to have Azorka or Aboabo Boys speak for us even though everything these groups have one or said in the past involved some level of violence. We seem to accept the presence of moronic and violent groups in our politics. Both the NPP and the NDC in Tamale have these guys amongst them whose job as described by the regional and in some cases the national executives is to visit violence and mayhem on opponents.

We the people in Tamale also sat by and allowed a few misguided individuals to commit the greatest sin of murdering the Yaa Naa and for which reason the entire Dagbon was put in a state of emergency for years. The development of the entire region was curtailed and ended up affecting all of us. Our freedom of movement was curtailed and instead of looking for lasting solution devoid of politics by helping the police and the security agencies arrest and prosecute the perpetrators, we chose in some cases to glorify the real perpetrators while accusing the innocent.

What is even more worrying is the fact that even when we move to other regions, we end up causing headaches for people of that region. Northerners have been involved in clashes in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. People look up to Northerners every time there is an issue of armed robbery in any part of the country. It gets quite embarrassing for me, each time I read or hear about barbaric behaviors from Tamale such as the incident of another murder of yet another chief from Tamale. I have friends in America who want to follow me to my hometown and I get embarrassed by their questions. They have been perusing the internet for news and information about my hometown and each time they see me, I have to explain one conflict or another to them. This time can be used to tell them the good things about Tamale and not conflicts.

As a native of Tamale, I have watched with some level of disbelief how half educated street thugs are showered with respect and authority by some figures who have been put in positions of leadership. I have witnessed occasions where important figures visiting the city have relied on these thugs to protect them while we have a police force trained and paid to perform such tasks. These thugs get interviewed by news media trying to cover stories in the North. They are accorded much more respect than people who are actually making efforts to build the reputation of the city.

It is not possible to list the litany of situations where these thugs have held the entire Region hostage through the use of intimidation and violence. The reasons for such situations vary from political, to chieftaincy and in some bizarre situations to solve personal differences between citizens. The point has been made about how the activities of these people are affecting all of us. The question however is, what do we do about it?

People from my part of the country either do not understand that there are so many ways to settle grievances or conflicts other than through violence or are purposely using this tool to disrupt the development of the region. This is a regional challenge that must be tackled from its roots. We have to as a matter of urgency start teaching our kids at the early stages of their lives that as humans, we are bound to have disagreements but it is how we settle those disagreements that sets us apart from animals. Even when animals disagree and fight, they do not do it until one of them is dead. If you doubt what I am saying, just go to the park and watch two rams fight. We are not animals and can solve our problems amicably, please give it a try, it would not hurt!
While blaming the thugs in the Region for our woes, I can not go without pointing out the negligence of our elite who in a way are enabling the thugs to succeed. So many of the elite from Tamale are afraid to stand up to the morons and this has provided them with a free field to try their trade. I think it is about time the elite stood up to lead instead allowing the blind to always lead. This will have to start by first abandoning the Abudu and Andani Gate, NDC and NPP nonsense. We join groups to solve problems and if our support for any group is creating more problems than its solving, I think it will be time to abandon the group. If we get rid of these biases, it will be possible to come together as a people of the same tribe, the same region or the same country to solve our common problems. We will be able to provide leadership to our people and help them build their common destiny. The elite can no longer stand by and watch while the good name of the region is being dragged in the mud. I am pleading with all the people of Tamale and the Northern Region as a whole who have the development of the region at heart to come together and rescue our people from violence and barbarism. Please! Please help!

The journey to pull together and solve our regions problems can be started by our current crop of leaders in parliament. They can pull together irrespective of their political affiliations and request the police service to do their job by ensuring that justice takes its course no matter who his involved. They should dissolve all miscreant organizations and refuse them membership in their political organizations. The thugs will fade into irrelevant if they are not accorded the kind of respect they are currently enjoying. The media can play their part by not providing them with a platform to spew their hate into the public discourse.

The North is endowed with talent both at home and abroad. Our leaders should know that we all want to come home and contribute our quota to the development of our people. We will however not be able to do that if we are going to be afraid for our lives and in some cases our property and investments. I will like to conclude by reminding our leaders that they were put in that position to lead.

Thanks for publishing in advance!
Yours Sincerely

Tanko Balik Adamu
3801 Logans Ferry Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15239