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Opinions of Monday, 26 October 2015

Columnist: Mohammed, Inusah

Nima deserves better

If there’s any animal I will love to be, perchance, it will be the elephant. With my small body in human form, I will jump at any opportunity to be big and huge in another form when cause is given.
In his book The History of the Four-footed Beasts, Edward Topsell hinted “there is no creature among all the beast of the world which hath so great and ample demonstration of the power and wisdom of Almighty God as the Elephant.” That is why I hated the tsetse-fly since I read the hackneyed story of The Elephant and the Tsetse-fly in class six. And I never loved Jomo Kenyatta’s choice of animal (an elephant) to represent how the wicked colonialists took our land from us in his story The Gentlemen of the jungle which was included in his book Facing Mount Kenya.
My love for the elephant took an octave turn when in 2003, a musician likened my home-town to the belly of an elephant. He rapped, “Nima! Tumbin giwa. Koo mey ka kaawo anfiika”. To wit (the similitude of Nima is like the belly of an elephant. It encompasses everything.) A statement that tends to establish the fact that we are masters when it comes to belittling a challenge. After growing up in Nima and involved in various activities, I hold strong reservations on that assertion.
Nima is a very nice place to live in. Growing up in such a community toughens you and makes you hard yet not making you lose your tenderness. Hardly will you hear a case of robbery or any heinous crime commited in my little town. The close-knit nature of our settlement makes us one, out of many. You will never appreciate your stay in Nima until you have an occasion such as marriage, outdooring, death etc. When it arises, others will execute it for you as if it's theirs. Chinua Achebe stated “you can’t wear a deeper indigo than the bereaved". In Nima, we challenge and reject that strongly and prove to the world that we are all cut from the same cloth. It is a place one should be on earth, I believe, in order to fully grasp the intricacies of life.
Contrary to popular opinion, it is a very peaceful and serene place to live provided you will do unto others as you wish to be done unto you.
Politically, Nima finds itself in the Ayawaso East Constituency which has three electoral areas (Nima-East, Nima-West, Kanda) with three more attached in the old Ayawaso East Constituency which now form the Ayawaso North (Maamobi-East, Maamobi-West, Newtown- Kwao-Tsuru).
The location of Nima is strategic as described by Mahmoud Jajah. In his well-written article titled If we are not careful, Nima and Maamobi will collapse, he wrote “Notice that both Nima and Maamobi are strategically located in the nation’s heartbeat. These communities share the same constituency with the Seat of Government; the Flagstaff House in Kanda and two major TV stations…the state broadcaster; Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and TV3 Network. These two communities are also less than thirty minutes’ drive from the Kotoka International Airport, the Central Business District of Accra, the Parliament of Ghana, the Ministries in Accra, and other equally important landmarks. That is how strategic these communities are located.”
Nima has a very large market best described as an international one. The market serves as the purveyor of many foodstuffs to other markets in the ECOWAS sub-region. Every Wednesday, (which is the market day in Nima); the patrons of the market come from near and afar to do their commercial activities. Those of us who live in the heart of the market sometimes abandon town only to return in the evening in order to escape the human inundation of the area. The market makes a monumental impact in the economy of the country at large. During Christmas and Eidul Adha festivities, Nima market becomes the very cynosure of the commerce of fowls. It gets too serious that the Prince Al-Waleed Highway (formally Nima-Maamobi Highway) is lined up with various make-shift coops for the sale of fowls. However, the community is yet to feel the effect of the funds generated by the Assembly from the market. Even the market itself is a victim of such injustice considering how deplorable the state of the market is.
One phenomenon that people do not talk about also is the stalwarts Nima has produced in the political activities of this country. Historically, President Nkrumah was so impressed with the exuberance showed by the inhabitants of Nima in the run-up to the nation’s independence that he passionately resolved to develop Nima into a chain of estates. That is what attracted his famous description of Nima as “a city within a city.” This plan still remained a plan due to the infamous overthrow of that good man.
Nima has produced no less personality like the most popular politician now apart from the President of the land, Nana Addo Danquah. The Greater Accra Deputy Regional minister, Mr. Isaac Nii Djanmah Vanderpuye is also one of those that readily come into mind not forgetting Mr. Charles Kofi Wayo of the United Renaissance Party. The former Secretary of the Convention People's Party, Prof. Nii Noi Dawuona and the former National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party Jake Obetsebi Lamptey are all among the personalities from this little town.
In entertainment circles, Nima has produced one group that has fervidly blazed the trail of Hiplife music in the country, VIP now VVIP.
Yet in Nima, people live in a shambolic state and condition. Comrade Kadiri Rauf, the erstwhile youth organizer of the Convention People's Party, hinted that the settlement in Nima could best be described as a crime against humanity. In 2014, a seven year old boy from the United States of America expressed shock at the fact that human beings could live in such squalor. No proper and human places of convenience, large waste-bins on the street, rubbish almost everywhere in town. The most serious aspect is the easy-mindedness with which we live in such an appalling situation. We tend not to know how precarious our situation is. Nima deserves better!
One significant problem with Nima has been the people who have been at the helm of affairs politically. When Ghana returned to democracy in 1992, the community had no much schooled people to enter into politics. So a whole lot of characters, who have no standard or have none to measure our progress with, entered politics. The only pure blooded Nima indigene that was able to rise to the position of Member of Parliament was the late Hon. Yahya Seidu. The community still holds his stewardship in high esteem. Per the standard of Nima ( that is even of we have one at all), he did well.
After him came the late Dr. Farouk Braimah (1996-2000). The only thing that is remembered about his stewardship is the 1996 riots at Nima at a place called Mighty Gorillas concerning how to manage waste in the town.
Mustapha Ahmed (now Member of Parliament for Ayawaso North Constituency and Minister for Youth and Sports) took over the reins of power from 2000 to 2012 before he moved to the newly created Ayawaso North Constituency as its Member of Parliament. His stewardship is marred by dismal and abysmal performance. On the whole, he badly represented the people. His performance was so poor for twelve years that the one who replaced him, Hon. Nasser Mahama Toure is held high as a super-performer just because of his cementing of a lorry station and a few corners in town. That is how bad Mustapha Ahmed performed. All the Members of Parliament since 1992 won on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress yet there is absolutely nothing worthwhile to show for that save for some inglorious symbolic gestures in the community.
The earlier we realize how retarded our community is, the better for us. The world is now a global village yet you wonder if we are even part of the world.
In 2015, I run for the District Assembly elections in the Nima-East Electoral Area. I traversed the length and breadth of Nima garnering for votes. There was a day we found ourselves at a place so bad that a friend wondered if human beings really lived there. He stated that, the people who inhabit that place have lost the world. They really are not living and that if they do not worship Allah profoundly and gain heaven in the afterlife, they will lose the hereafter together with the world.
In the year 1961, Yuri Gagarin became both the first human to travel into space and the first to orbit the earth. He did this when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the earth on 12 April 1961. Just when the world thought that will be the highest pinnacle of man’s discovery, something very important happened again.
On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon when “he then turned and set his left boot on the surface at 2:56 UTC”. He then made his famous statement "that's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."
The statement he made signaled the pedestal that mankind had reached in its developmental stages. That mankind had been able to move from the earth that had its make-up described as in a wretch to a heavenly position as wonderful and as grandeur as the moon shows that indeed the world could no longer be in a state of myopia. It signifies the consistency and conscious effort by man to develop himself and break the frontiers of human achievement and establishment.
In one of his wisdom-laden sermons. Martin Luther King quoted Bob Hope. “If, on taking off on a nonstop flight from Los Angeles to New York City, you develop hiccups, he said, you will hic in Los Angeles and cup in New York City. That is really moving. If you take a flight from Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday morning, you will arrive in Seattle, Washington, on the preceding Saturday night. When your friends meet you at the airport and ask you when you left Tokyo, you will have to say “I left tomorrow”". Try to appreciate and understand that.
That was the extent of development of the world in the 1960’s yet we in Ghana more specifically Nima, live in an analog state in a digital age due to the liars, sophistry, empty promises, bootlicking and other repugnant political acts that have become the order of the day.
Last week Wednesday, I had a tete a tete with Hon. Nasser Mahama Toure, the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso East Constituency at Frankies in Nima, he told me that he has done well. He stated that, comparing him to all those that held the position before him, he has done very well. He said he has cemented the lorry station, cemented a lot of corners in town, gone to funerals , marriages, outsdooring ceromonies therefore he is the best.
I beg to differ. He is the best because the people do not have a standard. He is the best because we do not realize that Nima is a town in the world just like Manhattan, Manchester and Zaragoza. He is the best because it is only in Nima that a person like him can become the Member of Parliament because people have refused to see the realities on the ground.
He is the best because Nima has been neglected by politicians and actors for change in the country.
He is the best because we tend not to know that a place like Nima has been very popular in the news for not good reasons for so long and we have no one to speak to the world to at least change the world's misconception about Nima.
Nima really deserves better!

Inusah Mohammed.
NB: The writer is a Youth- activist and a Student of Knowledge.