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Opinions of Sunday, 10 July 2005

Columnist: Alhassan, Osman Noble

Open Letter To His Excellency The President And Govt

Ever since the gruesome murder of the late King of Dagbon, Ya ? Na Yakubu Andani and forty others; on that fateful Black Wednesday; March 27 2002; the government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by His Excellency Mr John Agyekum Kuffour have through their actions and inactions have shown that they were willing accomplices of that criminal act which has brought Dagbon on its knees for well over three years.

First was the callous and insensitive way in which the then Minister of information Mr Jake Obetsebi Lampteey announced the death without due regards to the custom and tradition of the good people of Dagbon.

The ministerial team led by Senior Minister Mr Joseph Henry Mensah who visited Yendi immediately after the carnage proclaimed to the whole world that they had come not to pass judgement but to reconcile the victims and the perpetrators. In the presence of the J.H. Mensah team when they met the Abudu gate one oldman by name Mr Iddrisu Iddi who parades himself as Mba Dugu (ie chief Linquist of the Ya ? Na) and calls himself spokesperson of the head of the Abudu Gate Abdulai Mahamadu (alias Bolin Lana) had the courage to tell the J.H. Mensah delegation that they were the cause of the mayhem. The reason being that for twenty-eight years during the reign of Ya- Na Yakubu as overlord of Dagbon he and his fellow collaborators had no peace. Such character of person who was indicted by the Wuako Commission is still roaming the streets of Yendi and is seen leading delegations of the Abudu gate to official functions in the Golden Age of Rule of Law in President Kuffor?s Ghana. This particular old man who has not shown any sense of remorse and his collaborators are still roaming with their chest open that this is their govt and can commit any crime with impunity. Only President Kuffour and members of his government can tell the good people of Ghana why this character cannot be prosecuted.

Miss Elizabeth Ohene then Minister for Media Relations admitted on a Radio Gold programme on March 29 2002 that the NPP in their campaign trail at Yendi promised the Abudu gate that if they assisted them capture political power they would also assist them to perform the late Mahamadu Abdulai?s (ex-Ya-Na) funeral. How this was to be done was only known to then candidate Kuffour and sections within the Abudu family. To majority of the Abudu gate and those in the kitchen cabinet of the NPP what transpired from March 25 to March 27 2002 was in fulfillment of an election promise. To President Kuffour we say thank you for fulfilling this great electoral. Promise. May The Almighty Allah shower his mercy on you and your team.

When the Gang of four eminent persons gave evidence at the report that was sent to Accra by the GBC correspondent Mr. Leonard Amengor. Was twisted on the instructions of the then Attorney General; Nana Akuffo Addo. To date Nana Akuffo Addo who was floored by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata in the famous fast track court case. Before Nana Akuffo Addo was given a technical knockout by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata I used to think Nana was the best legal brain Ghana has ever produced. Thanks to President Kuffour for redeploying him. Mr. President your redeployment was rather late.

Mr. President before the setting up of the infamous Wuako Commission you did promise Ghanaians and the world at large that what happened was a heinous crime and you were going to get the perpetrators to book. Three years on and still Mr. President the widows and children of your beloved friend are still waiting for the justice you promised them.

When Dr Addo Kuffour was acting as the Minister of Interior on his first official visit to Dagbon he promised the chiefs of Dagbon swift justice and until he was relieved of that responsibility; Dr Addo Kuffour is yet to come and tell our chiefs why justice has eluded them. The fine gentleman once voted, as the best minister in President Kuffour?s team did not leave any good legacy for which the good people of Dagbon would remember him.

Enter Mr. Hackman Owusu Agemang a former diplomat with FAO as minister of interior. To Dagbon Mr Hackman came; like his predecessors found it necessary to call on our chiefs. Like the President he had to make promises to our chiefs. To President Kuffour and his team they do not pay any money to make any promise. But they forget that if you make a promise you are putting your integrity on the line. After Mr Hackman had made those sweet promises our chiefs who listening attentively but not enthused since they had heard such sweet stories even from the President himself but which were all nothing but absolute lies. When the spokes person of our chiefs Alhaji Abdulai Ziblim (Gulkpegu Regent) reminded Honourable Hackman that; that was not the first time they were hearing of such stories from members of the NPP administration; he retorted that he was different from the rest. He promised the chiefs to give him two weeks when he gets back to his desk in Accra. Our chiefs have been vindicated when they say the President and his ministers are people whose words they have to accept with a pinch of salt. However not to the surprise of majority of the people of Dagbon instead of Honorable Hackman pursuing the perpetrators as he promised the good people of Dagbon he instead went to Parliament and said what occurred between March 25 to March 27 2002 was a war and he had seen the video clip. I believe the Honourable Hackman is a devout Christian and not a churchgoer can he please for the sake of truth and justice let Ghanaians watch the video clip and determine whether it was an attack or war as he alleges.

When President Kuffour?s mandate was renewed for the second term a lot of us in Dagbon felt this was another opportunity offered him to redeem his battered image as far as the regicide of March 2002 was concerned. The President himself promised Ghanaians that the Dagbon problem which has being hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles would finally be resolved within the first six months of Positive change chapter two. I believe the President made the promise based on the elections 2004 results from Dagbon and the reception which was accorded him during his campaign trail and which he publicly admitted at the Gulkpegu (Tamale) chiefs palace. Mr. President do not forget your promise. There is a Dagbani proverb which says that when an issue takes a longer term to be resolved at the chief?s court, the weaker party is right.

Mr. Habib Tijani (Yendi DCE) and Mr Iddrisu Adam Yogu (Tamale MCE) renomination did not come as a surprise to many. These were two personalities who were employed to do the dirty work of their masters. Not re nominating them would have been a stab on their backs. Whilst the former was the chairman of the District Security Council and the latter acting chairman of the Regional Security council at the time of the carnage, they both denied the Ya ? Na protection when he sent SOS messages to them. Funny and ironical enough those who denied him protection when he was alive are today spending billions of the Ghanaian tax payers money under HIPC conditions to give his corpse twenty-four hours protection. The people who denied our King and father protection and did not need ten million cedis to save his life and many others who perished with him should bear in mind that the monies they are wasting to take care of his corpse thus denying the people of Dagbon and the North schools; portable water; health facilities and motorable roads would one day be dragged to the fast track courts for willfully causing financial loss to the state.

However the retention of the above two personalities is good for the president but they should be aware that the two persons are singing the funeral dirges of the NPP government.

Come Positive change chapter two leading to a change of batons and Honourable Papa Owusu Ankoma fins himself at the Ministry of Interior to may be complete the unfinished agenda of his predecessors. Duty brought him to the north and instead of coming and leaving quietly to save his image; he also decided to call on our chiefs to as usual throw dust into the eyes of the people of Dagbon. After wasting our chiefs time .He also went back to Accra and what mattered to him was the murder of three NPP activists at Jakpahi and Gbuling. The Honourable Minister without shame gave the police a three weeks ultimatum to look for the killers of the NPP activists. Mr. Honourable Minister please give the IGP and his men an ultimatum to look for the perpetrators of March 27 2002 or else give us a break with the typical NPP hypocrisy.

I am taking this opportunity to make a passionate appeal to our chiefs in Dagbon to throw diplomacy to dogs this time and refuse to give audience to the President; his ministers; civil defense organizations; religious bodies; human rights organizations such as the Ghana Bar Association and Amnesty International and NGO?s. For over three years all these organizations were in Ghana and they heard and saw the start and completion of the March 2002 carnage and none of them I repeat none of them came to our cries neither have any of these bodies been bold enough to openly condemn what not even to compel the govt of President Kuffour to ensure that justice is given to the widows and children of those who perished in defense of Dagbon. After witnessing and keeping mute they are now wasting meager resources which could have been channeled to productive use to organize workshops on conflict resolution and management. To our chiefs for over three years you have lost count over the number of such workshops and what have you. What benefits has it brought the people of Dagbon or the widows and children of those who perished in defense of Dagbon. My dear fathers I think you should learn to say enough is enough. Until justice is done and our King laid to rest do not waste your time and resources as we; as risking your precious lifes to attend meetings organized by people most of whom are sycophants and hypocrites and being used clandestinely by the government to buy time. Next time such organizations approach you inviting you for such workshops please tell them to use such monies to fight poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and malnutrition which is our common enemy in the north.

The abduction and murder of the three high court judges and the retired army officer on June 30 1982 was a day no Ghanaian can wish away it thus became a scar on the government of the PNDC of which our President was. The declaration of that day as a Martyrs Day by the Ghana Bar Association is therefore to remind we the present and future generations never again should we as Ghanaians allow such a national tragedy and disgrace to happen. To the widows and children of those victims my sympathies. To commemorate that national tragedy and disgrace our honorable Members of Parliament made various statements. However when the Honourable MP for Tamale North Alhaji Abukari Sumani drew the attention of his colleagues to the tragic events of March 27 2002 and the callous murder of Alhaji Issah Mobilla on December 2004in the hands of the military under the govt of Mr J.A. Kuffour and the govt had turned a blind eye to these callous and atrocious acts. Members of the NPP took offence. The most unfortunate statement came from the Majority Leader Felix Owusu Adjapong. The Honourable Majority Leader retorted that when serious national issues are discussed in the House, Honourable Alhaji Abukari Sumani should not bring such issues to the floor of the House. To characters like the Honourable Majority leader the carnage which occurred on March 27 2002 does not merit discussion in Parliament. The same Majority Leader once said in Parliament that if the Wahala demos were not stopped monies would not be released for the rehabilitation of the Tamale Teaching Hospital. This behaviour portrayed by the Majority Leader shows the disdain and contempt he has for Northerners and the people of Dagbon in particular. I believe those who sold Dagbon to her enemies to destroy because of their parochial interests are listening.

Much as the murder of the high court judges and a retired army officer under the PNDC administration (even though the perpetrators were apprehended tried and convicted is worth condemnation, equally worth condemnation is the murder of the Ya-Na and 40 others as well as the murder of Alhaji Issah Mobilla under the govt of Mr J.A. Kuffour, Alhaji Aliu Mahama (son of Dagbon) as Vice President, Dr Addo Kuffuor (brother of the president) as Defence Minister, Alhaji Malik Alhassan Yakubu (son of Dagbon) as Interior Minster, and General (Rtd) Joshua Hamidu (son of Dagbon ) as National Security Coordinator. I believe the Ghana Bar Association and Amnesty International are taking note of these. For in the not distant future when the good people of Dagbon get a listening caring and just govt we shall equally declare March 27 and December 9 not only as Matyrs Day but as Public holidays in Dagbon

The man Felix Owusu Agyapong before the NPP assumed the reigns of govt I used to admire him because of his age and educational pedigree. In Dagbon the elderly are revered as people imbued with wisdom. That is the reason I had a lot of respect for him and some of his colleagues in the NPP govt. However his performance in govt and utterances has made me to revise my notes about the respect I had for him. I have put him in the same class as that old illiterate fool in Yendi who goes by the name Iddrisu Iddi (alias gagyegu). Even when a group of people captured and killed over thirty vultures they were apprehended and prosecuted. The matter became a subject of discussion in Parliament. So if the murder of the Ya-Na and 40 others is not a national issue and should not be raised in Parliament I do not the sort of person the Honourable MP is. If he is an accomplice in that criminal and barbaric act he should come out openly and confess to the good people of this country.

However I do not blame the Honourable Felix Owusu Agyapong and his likes in the NPP govt for those unsavory remarks. These are the remarks they make of us Northerners and Dagombas in general when they meet in caucus. Mr Felisx Owusu Agyapong was only wise and brave enough to say it publicly. Mr Felix Owusu Agyapong owes the good people of Ghana, Northerners and Dagombas in particular an unqualified apology. To his constituents who he represents in the August House I say it is unfortunate they elected him to represent them.

If the sons of Dagbon in the NPP govt had not used their left fingers to point to their homes Mr Felix Owusu Agyapong and his like would not have made such scathing remarks. We are all praying and waiting for the day when these sons of Dagbon do not wield political power again and whether they would call Asanteman their home. Insha Allah that day is not far.

To our dear father and President; His Excellency John Agyekum Kuffour this is the time you have to prove to all Ghanaians that you have no hands in the callous murder of your dear friend Ya-Na Yakubu Andani. Let it not be written that it was during your reign as the President of Dr Kwame Nkrumah?s Republic of Ghana that your friend Ya-Na Yakubu Andani was murdered in broad daylight and you woefully failed to act. And that Mr President Yendi your second home as you claimed was destroyed during your reign as President.

Remember Mr. President come January 7th 2009 you shall cease to be the President of the Republic of Ghana and the legacy you might leave for the widows and children of your late friend and those who perished with him is injustice and betrayal.

May Almighty Allah shower his blessings on those who stand for truth equity and justice. To the Andani family and the widowa and children of Ya-NA Yakubu Andani and the 40 others who perished with him as well as widows and children of Issah Mobilla the tears you shed shall not be in vain Insha Allah. Almighty Allah would give us a leader who would give us justice just as He did after 9Th September 1969 massacre.

Alhassan Osman Noble
Tamale


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