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Opinions of Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Columnist: Assam, Balemwo

Northerners Commend Government but...

We just got information; the government has started to do something about the shea nuts in the north. This is good news and need commendation, as we repine, so shall we commend if the right things are done. This will create jobs for our brothers and sisters in the north and alleviate some of the pain.

The Vice President John Dramani Mahama cutting of the sod for work to begin on the construction of a sheanut processing factory in Buipe on November 14, 2009 could be described as good news. The 10 million-dollar Sheanut Factory would process sheanuts into shea butter to be exported to Brazil.

As Ghanaians and as Northerners we applaud this bold initiative by the Government but, it should not be the same old pattern as usual by cutting sods and raising high hopes and nothing happens thereafter. Until we see structures and machines installed, we have every reason to be ambivalent of our politicians.

We understand the passion of the Vice President but, our past experience does not portray a good picture of our northern brothers put in that position. Our brothers are kept in that position to canvass for votes from the north and relegated to the background thereafter. They are not given the power to commensurate with their status as Vice Presidents to enable them implement what is hurting our people and what is promised by their parties. But we want to assure the present and future Government that, not this time!!! If you give our brothers a position and will not give them the wherewithal to perform, we will take him away and vote you out, simple. We are not going to be used as subterfuges to mystify the conscience of our people for votes any more. No more rubber stamp political positions for our brothers and sisters again enough! Our brothers/sisters are no longer going to play any fiddle-faddle trifling positions any more. Any of them who will play the old fashion positions will be voted out, either you are in authority and performing for the people or you’re out period. We know by nature, northerners are gentle taciturn people but, we are not timorous, we are self confident in our undertakings. If any of our brothers and sisters will not perform at positions they occupy in government please, bow out before it’s too late. Because we will expose you and make sure you’re out. We are no longer going to sit on the fringes anymore. We don’t care of whatever political party you belong to, just perform because; we are concerned about the plight of our people. We will observe with eagle eyes from every angle and we will personally get involved, to make sure the narcissist politicians will not be in power to the detriment of our people. While we commend and acknowledge some politicians who have pushed us to some levels in development, we want to point out; most have hoodwinked our people for so long.

We have waited for so long a time that, it has affected everybody in the regions negatively, whether you live there or not. Northerners trust people so; when the politicians come and start their verbosity during election time, our people take them by their words. So the politicians knowing the nature of our people, they keep coming with the same pattern, to artifice, but not this time!

Politicians come to the north and give the people hoes, bicycles; the privileged ones are given motorbikes without compunction. Deep down, they think it’s normal for our people to live in that degrading situation. There are no jobs in the north its plain dry land. But every election year this vague impression to win election is perpetrated unabated.

Northerners have listened to this bending, twisting stretching and distortions from politicians for so long that, while others are exploring the moon for the benefit of mankind, till today as I write this article, our children are still sitting under trees, on the bare floor in their classrooms and lying flat on their stomachs to read and write their books. Some have not even heard of or seen a computer before in their lives.

We have listened to the stories coming out from politicians and believe them that, some of our beautiful sisters are still in Accra and Kumasi carrying loads for a living, with a disparaging name culled for them as “kaya yee”. There is no capacity building mechanism to prepare them for future exigencies. So as they’re growing up, the situations become grim in their lives that, the only alternatives for them are to sojourn to the cities for purgatory subsistence.

Politicians have hoodwinked northerners to alarming proportions that, some say, they will construct a railway from Kumasi to Paga. It’s doable but they forget of these promises the moment they enter the corridors of power. Till date, we have to run far away for cover, from the paths/roads when a vehicle is approaching our areas to avoid ingesting dust. It hardly rains in this part of the country so; I don’t need to elucidate the situation of asthmatic patients in the north especially in the villages. It’s difficult to comprehend the situation in the north; it’s dire, it’s alarming and scary the conditions are from bad to worse.

Now that the Government has initiated this move on the sheanuts, they should get scientist to perform feasibility studies on the Shea-tree to come out with alternatives for much fruitful outcome from the crop, just as was done on the cocoa trees.

But let us be cautious that, all projects going to the north should not be positioned in one area or in one region because, it will not solve the problem. Distribute the projects evenly to benefit everybody in the regions. We appreciate the move by the government for this sheanut processing plant but, we are going to be wide awake to see the last bolt is tightened to the plant and to see the complete fruition of that project. Promises made to our people must be kept. Because we are no longer going to sit on the fringes, we are going to hold the feet of our governments to the blazing fire.

Balemwo Assam balemwo@yahoo.co.uk Washington DC.