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Opinions of Friday, 18 March 2016

Columnist: Mohammed, Insuah

Who speaks for Nima?

As I sit here putting thoughts together on this issue on my LG D500 phone, I am deeply embroiled in a heated debate at my present location.The present location of mine is Los Angeles Base in Nima. And that is the place I have spent most of my time for the past five years mostly debating my fellow brothers and friends. Los Angeles base is one of the many bases you find in our wonderful community where the youth usually sit to share ideas, have time together, fraternize and solidarize with one another anytime an occasion such as marriage, outdooring or the certainly uncertain situation of death occurs.

As I sit here relishing the moment, I have come to a very strong conclusion that the Nima youth has potential energies that needs telling to the World. The Nima youth has the capacity to rub shoulders with anyone from any place in the world from the village of Binduri to the hamlet of Nankpaduri, from the culturally significant city of Kandahar to the island country of Madagascar and from the internet-focused country of Estonia to the highly-populous state of California. If you find yourself in one of our usual stamping grounds by default, you will realize how a youth from Nima can shake the place with his energy and voice. It is shocking and frightening sometimes.
The erstwhile Youth Organizer and now Communications Director of the Convention People’s Party, Comrade Kadiri Rauf told us that if we could gird our loins and convert the energies we waste debating into productive ventures, we can really shake the world regardless of the small corner in which we find ourselves. He tasked me especially to grab the book Consciencism by Kwame Nkrumah and learn how to convert energies.

All these notwithstanding, Nima is yet to translate this outspokenness of its youth to the outside world. Simply put, who speaks for Nima? Who translates the outspokenness of the people of Nima to the world? Whose actions, speeches or works puts Nima on the world map for the world to have a better appreciation of the “city within a city” as described by the first President of Ghana. Nima has been viewed with a wrongful eye for long by the citizens of this country. People describe it as a violent area and more especially as an “election boiling point.” On the contrary, Nima is an extremely peaceful and tranquil place to live provided you apply the Golden rule. My score and nearly seven years stay on this transient world has shown me that Nima is never an “election boiling point”. Never in my life have I witnessed any violence as a result of electoral differences. At most there is seeming tension which fizzles out with twice the speed of light anytime it rears its head. If you show aggression to your brother because of our regressive, parochial and suffocating partisan politics, who will come help in your marriage ceremony? Who will come say the last prayer to your departed relatives and who will solidarize with you when you have a social function to execute? Our close-knit nature makes electoral violence an abomination in our setting.

Nima is a ‘loud’ community on its own. Yet no one speaks in its interest. No one speaks for it. Our chiefs cannot speak for us. The institution of chieftaincy in our community has really outlived its usefulness. The only time we remember our chiefs is during what we termed “kashikashika” where they parade the streets with pomp and occasion on Eid-Adha day showing our rich culture. Not even the Chief of Nima, Nii Futa.

The truth must be told. A lot of people do not even know that Nima has a chief. A lot do not know him. Chieftaincy in our community is really porous. The porosity of it is so profound that the last time we went to the Adjoa Mai Masara mosque to tie a nuptial knot; chiefs issued a declaration that henceforth, they have to be paid two hundred Ghana cedis before they allow such ceremonies in the mosque. With my scanty Islamic knowledge, I know that it is the clerics and not chiefs that are of major importance to marriage to demand such a thing.

The people who could have landed Nima on Plymouth Rock are our politicians. Unfortunately, our politicians are a joke. They are simply an apology of politics. “Politics” as described by Kwame Nkrumah “is the realization of what is possible.” Interestingly, in Nima, politics is the realization of foolishness. Politics has been reduced to Friday meetings, keep-fits in an election year, daily routine of sitting at one place (and they call such places ‘Parliament’) discussing their own understanding of politics and long queues in the mornings in front of the house and office of our Members of Parliament to take tea and coins. There is virtually no political drive to ensure progression in our constituency. No programmes to develop the youth. No effort to guarantee honor to the old women who have followed the parties religiously till Shiloh. Voices of dissent against our bad system are treated as enemies and marked for public ridicule and mockery. I remember the day some of us were prevented from asking questions when a Minister of State visited our constituency because our ‘leaders’ believed that we will disgrace the visitor (they see being critical of issues as disgrace). Once upon a time, a meeting ended in a complete altercation just because a Vice Chairman of the National Democratic Congress had given the membership of the Ayawaso East Constituency in its entirety a few hundred Ghana cedis and the people were divided as to how to share the money . And in the middle of all this there are large waste containers lining up the Prince Al-Waleed Highway (one at Maamobi Market, Alaska and Nima opposite 31st December school) sometimes full with filth that leaves one in a state of discomfiture. And no one pays attention to it. The highest height of folly was exhibited when these containers were covered the day President John Mahama used that street for a keep-fit. It was uncovered when he left.

So our Politicians can definitely not speak in our interest. Perhaps, it will change one day but as things are presently, it is impossible.
Our Members of Parliament over the years have shown that they are really incapable of speaking in our interest. The late Yahaya Seidu and Farouk Braimah could not speak for us. In 1997, when there was a riot in Nima over sanitation problems, the Late Farouk Braimah who was then the Member of Parliament said that he “bought our votes” and could not be faulted. Next came Major Rtd. Dr. Mustapha Ahmed. He was at the helm of affairs for sixteen solid years until he lost the last year primaries to one of our strong, educated youth that show promise of re-writing our political tell- tales. With his sixteen years in power, one could even count the number of times Mustapha Ahmed spoke on the floor of Parliament. The last time he addressed a Press Conference in Nima was in 2014 after an irate mob vandalized the Maamobi branch of Marwako fast food. And that press conference was meant to allay the fears of the businesses lined up along the highway and to tell them not to feel threatened. No one talked about the life of the Taxi driver that was nearly wasted. No one condemned the tom-foolery of the Police man who opened fire in the full glaring of the public. No one spoke about the interest of the youth in the case. Similarly, six youth were arrested in 2013 just because they came out to register their displeasure on the Nima Drainage project that has taken centuries to be constructed. No one spoke in their interest. No politician, no parliamentarian. Some were even happy the youth were arrested.

Nasser Mahama Toure, the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso East Constituency, is a very fine gentleman. Unfortunately he can’t speak for us. This is a Member of Parliament who cannot sustain a ten minutes captivating talk even in our local language not to talk of the lingua franca of the world. In all his campaigns, others do the talking for him and anyone who asks a question is seen as an ‘enemy’ because they know deep within them that he cannot answer.

The onus now lies on we the youth to stem the tide and change its course. We have a glorious opportunity to rise above the inadequacies of our time . The earlier we rise up to trumpet the glory of Nima, we will forever remain on the scaffold of folly from our politicians.

In his speech Facing the challenge of the new age, Martin Luther king stated “Another thing we that we must do to in speeding up the coming of the new age is to develop intelligent, courageous and dedicated leadership. This is one of the pressing needs of the hour. In this period of transition and growing social change, there is the dire need for leaders who are calm and yet positive, leaders who avoid the extremes of “hot-headedness” and “Uncle Tomism”. The urgency of the hour calls for leaders of wise judgment and sound integrity – leaders not in love with money , but in love with justice; leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with humanity; leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause.”

Inusah Mohammed

NB: The writer is a Youth Activist and a student of knowledge .