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Opinions of Thursday, 3 August 2017

Columnist: Abdallah, Abdul Matin

Naming Tamale Sports Stadium after Aliu Mahama is long overdue

Tamale Sports Stadium, a US$20 million multipurpose sports facility constructed in 2008 to serve as one of the finest playing grounds for the 2008 African Cup of Nations which Ghana played a host.

Before then, Northern Ghana suffered in chronic levels from a lack of a befitting sports facility to contain any international fixture. Ghana's clinched bid to host CAN 2008 therefore came as a manna sent from the high heavens to the sports fanatics, fun lovers and the good people of the north.

Alhaji Aliu Mahama, late former Vice-President of the Republic and who is of northern descent, passionately and heartily made a strong case for Northern Ghana to get its share of the stadia.

The late former second gentleman of the state was enthusiastic about and precise with the stadium prototype he wanted for the north.

At his insistence for a Shangai prototype, his fancied prototype was adopted for the Tamale and Sekondi Takoradi Sports Stadia.

The late former Vice-President besides playing a significant role in the realisation of Tamale Sports Stadium, was also a known sports fanatic and a pioneer of commercialized sports in northern Ghana.

He was a founding member and board chairman of the Real Tamale United (RTU) which birthed, honed and shot Abedi Pele and a host of others into stardom. Abedi Pele today is arguably, the most prominent sports personality to ever happen to our country- Ghana to date, is enjoying the 'sportship' of his two sons, Ayew and Jordan.

I cannot but unreservedly congratulate President Nana Akufo Addo, for not reneging on his edifying pledge to christen Tamale Sports Stadium after Alhaji Aliu Mahama.

To-date, since his sudden relapse into eternity no significant national monument recalls the memory and legacy of this honourable man. Heated calls on the erstwhile government to seriously consider naming the flagship sports facility after him was greeted with shameful refusal and abject failure.

It is a trite knowledge that a nation which does not recognise its heroes is not worth dying for. The heroism of distinguished Ghanaians should not be seen from a political lense, for such a character makes the recognition of differing political martyrs even more improbable.

Alhaji Aliu was a cr?me del? cr?me within the political circles in the North, being the first of most events that happened to him. He was the first Vice-President from the north. He was the first muslim Vice-President.

He remains the first and the longest Vice-President to have serve for eight years. Aliu Mahama, at the expense of his booming construction firm, rendered his selfless stewardship to his nation.

It is therefore extremely worrisome for me why humble appeals to reward the industry of a great man was turned down by the former government.

The good faith shown by the reigning government should be materialised so that Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium will come to pass.

Moving forward, I would also encourage that independent bodies be established to overseer matters concerning honoring our national heroes so as to tone down the political and tribal sentiments that had always associated naming monuments after deserving national heroes.