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Opinions of Monday, 23 July 2012

Columnist: Kpebu, Seidu

Neglect of Northern Ghana Exposed

By Seidu Kpebu

I am republishing a story I culled from the Metro newspaper in London which was first published on 6th April 2008 by ghanaweb.com to buttress the point that a BBC journalist also made the observation when he was in Ghana for the nations cup in 2008. I was therefore very fair to Mahamadu Bawumia contrary to the criticisms I received for stating that he got it wrong on SADA. Follow link: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=243572

The NPP cannot run away from the fact that they have little regard for the north. Until they change their attitude, perception and oligarchic behaviour towards people from the region and the Zongos, they will always be reminded that people from these parts of Ghana also need developments.

Read below:

The African cup of Nations hosted by Ghana in 2008 was good in the sense that it exposed the hypocrisy of the political establishment to the outside world. In the sea of poverty, we display opulence, absolute media hype and political propaganda whilst the people die with treatable diseases.

In such a grim situation, NPP government has no shame to deceive Ghanaians and the world at large that all is well in the country and that there is no poverty in the north.

However, the critical and most astute journalists who reported for their various media houses in their respective countries did what they do best. They stand up for the disadvantaged and the deprived in society. That is what modern journalism is all about, not the type of greedy and sycophantic journalism practiced by some journalists in Ghana.

Below is what a BBC reported Mark Bright wrote in the Metro newspaper in London on the 29th of January 2008. Read on.

MARK BRIGHT: BBC REPORTER IN TAMALE, REPORTS FOR METRO NEWSPAPER IN LONDON:

"STAGGERING POVERTY GAP THAT SHAMES THE CUP OF NATIONS."

"THE last time you heard from me I was raving about the atmosphere here in Ghana for the Africa Cup of Nations.

But I need to redress the balance by telling you about something the tournament organisers don't want the outside world to hear about- the huge gap brought into sharp focus for me last weekend.

I travelled to Tamale, in the north of the country, for the Angola v Senegal and Tunisia v South Africa matches on Sunday night. I won't go into details but I came very close to being robbed outside the ground. Luckily I was saved by a couple of good Samaritans.

But for the first time since arriving, I felt danger. I also felt a surge of guilt once inside the fantastic new stadium, built especially for the tournament. Less than a mile away are the villages made up of mud huts with no electricity, running water or sanitation.

I'm no stranger to poverty- having travelled all over the world from Soweto to Sardinia. But the huge chasm between the shiny new stadium and the villages which sit in its shadows left me feeling rather uneasy.

To the people living there it must feel like a spaceship has landed on their doorstep. And the worst thing? Very few of the locals will ever get the chance to go inside. The prices to watch games in the tournament are prohibitive for the local population- the majority who live on the equivalent of less than 50p a day.

The stadium is almost empty for most games as well- a symptom of the fact Tamale is a 12-hour drive from the capital Accra and few want to make the journey.

Therefore I implore the tournament organisers to make a gesture to the locals of Tamale. There is a quarter-final here later in the tournament. Let the locals in for free and feel part of the event. I don't want to put a downer on the Cup of Nations but I feel very passionate about this and just want to give you a realistic picture of what life is like out here (Tamale)."

That is a foreigner making these good observations. This has nothing to do with patriotism. There is abject poverty out there and it is a shame we close our eyes to all these myriad of problems.

Fellow Ghanaians, the judgment is yours. If indeed some of our journalists stand for and defend the truth, with your clear conscience judge for yourselves.

seidu@gfmradio.com