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Opinions of Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Columnist: Hardi, Ibrahim

Northerners should all be part of the solution

Northerners should all be part of the solution and not the problem.

Colonialism is partly responsible for the underdevelopment of the north. The colonial masters (British) deliberately denied the people of the north access to formal education.They instead saw the north to be a reservoir for labor supply to the cocoa farms and mines in the south. Education got to the north hundred years after it had gotten to our brothers and sisters in the south. Education therefore came as a beacon of hope to the people of the north. Thanks to the missionaries especially the Catholic Church which opened up the place and built many quality schools including St. Francis Xavier Minor Seminary, Wa, Notre Dame Seminary, Navrongo, St. Charles Seminary, Tamale, St. Francis Girls in Jirapa among other good schools which have produced great sons and daughters for Mother Ghana in particular and the World at large. Nevertheless, much still need to be done to improve upon the level of education in the area since it is only education that can help bridge the north-South dichotomy.

Northern Ghana administratively comprises the three regions of Ghana which lie in the Savanna belt of West Africa; Upper West, Upper East and Northern Region. Geographically, it is boarded to the north by Burkina Faso, to the South by Brong – Ahafo and Northern Volta, to the East is Togo and to the West is Ivory Coast.

Northern Ghana’s fair share of natural resources include sheanut trees,Dawadawa trees, Iron ore, salt, abundant land among others. It is blessed with honest, intelligent, hardworking and determined people who however have limited opportunities as compared to their counterparts in the South. Northern Ghana is poor by every indicator of human development.

First and foremost is the conflict situation in the North. Numerous chieftaincy and land disputes some of which have historical antecedents hamper development in the area. More often than not the youth are used to perpetuate violence in areas such as Bawku, Gushiegu, Yendi and others which often lead to destruction of lives and property running into several billions of cedis. I pity my colleagues use for this atrocities. People of the north should not sit in Accra and Kumasi and allow their fellow brothers and sisters to die like fowls not through any false of theirs but the greediness of some unscrupulous people including some politicians. These conflicts have led to increase in poverty levels in the area which I am part; and since a hungry man is an angry man; the conflicts seem to have no end. We cannot sit in the cities and allow our future leaders in the north to wallow in poverty and in despair. What affect the people of the north affect the people of the south as well, for this reason; we should all be part of the solution and not the problem. I respect Paul A. A. Justice when it comes to supporting the youth in the north, even though he is not a well to do in the society but committed to help talents in the north.

There is huge potential in the north when harnessed will create employment opportunities for the people and bring development. Tourists sites of high interest abound in the area include, Mole game reserve, Larabanga Mosque, the mystery stone all in the Northern Region. The Paga crocodile Pond, the slave camp in Nania, the Tongu hills and shrine in the Upper East Region. The rock pedestals/Mushroom rocks in Wuling near Jirapa, the hippo. sanctuary on the Black Volta near Wichau, the Nandom Catholic church (Minor Basilica) which is the largest stone church building in Africa all in the Upper West Region are just a few of the many tourist sites in the North when well developed and managed will bring development to the people.

Lack of motivation, encouragement often compel most of the youth to migrate to the South especially Accra and Kumasi to look for jobs which are non-existent. They end up as potters (Kayayei) which expose them to rape and the vagaries of the weather since most if not all do not have descent accommodation. Thanks to one lady who wants to be known and call Odopa, from Odopa social service. She is trying everything in her power to make sure solutions are finding to this canker.

Well-to-do people from the north who work in the south and the Diaspora do not want to come back there for fear of being killed by witchcraft. If you stole the drum of the fetish priest, you can’t play it. The evil that men do surely lives after them. These witches crafts mentality reminds me of my early days closed friend Abass Inusah. He was a member of Satellites 2000/2001 that won Silver in the U-20 World Cup in Argentina together with the likes of John Mensah, Michael Essien, Obodai, Derek Boateng, Razak Pimpong, Muntari, Paintsil. Famous for scoring in the Semi-Finals match against Egypt whom we beat 2-0 to qualify to the Finals. He is hiding himself from us since then. Only few family members and newly fond friends knows his where about. This witch craft mentality led to retardation of development in the North for several decades.

There’s lot of pain on my chest about these SADA program, It’s was suppose to help bridge the gap or create some jobs in the North but is being mismanaged by our own northern brothers. I think this SADA project should be giving to people who have North at heart, I will not hesitate in recommending Dr. Rockson Mamboah or my Uncle Adam Alhassan formerly of Irrigation Development Authority, who refused to be a politician. Agricultural development as said elsewhere should be pursued vigorously in the North. Northern Ghana has vast stretch of land and I propose that irrigation dams should be constructed to encourage dry season farming. Poultry farming is another venture that should be encouraged and supported. Farmers should be given credit facilities, farm implements. Through this, employment opportunities will be created to solve the many problems confronting the people of the North. We the sons and daughters from the North should know that the development of the north is in our own hands. No one government can solve all the problems of the north. I respected Jerry Rawlings led ndc government for the wonderful works they carry in the north; roads, electricity and other developmental projects. The problems of the north can be solved by northerners themselves through commitment, dedication, hard work and peaceful co-existence. Poverty is a human problem and not a natural disaster. Since it is a human problem, it can be solved by human beings. The time has come for all of us to stop the blame game theory as I call it and Marshall our strength with zeal and enthusiasm in unity and progress to help develop the north. Let us live in peace and harmony as one people with a common destiny.

The media do not help in the projection of the north for development. It is common to hear in the news about how journalists misrepresent the north. It saddens my heart when I hear in the news that, “Bawku in the Upper West Region” or “Tumu in the Upper East Region”. This is very unfortunate. It is important that as Ghanaians we understand the culture of others and know the regions of the country as well. Thanks to Jerry Rawlings for the establishment of the University for Development Studies. This will help all of us appreciate the diversity in culture in the various regions of the country. The media tend to hype the negative aspects of the north and the least Provocation over there is often likening to Libya War or the War in Israel. The media should do well in their reports.

Love and respect to any Ghanaian who stood for the truth.

Ibrahim Hardi 0208235615