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Poverty Of The North- The Southern Concerntration Syndrome Factor
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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Columnist: Oduro, Kwasi Mensa

Poverty Of The North- The Southern Concerntration Syndrome Factor

The world of IRONIES. this would be the caption of one of the articles I have lined up for the future. Why can't I wait wait till then? Simply because more and more ironies keep cropping up.

The slogan for African Countries south of the sahara has over the years been: SOUTH- SOUTH CO-OPERATION. The idea is to draw the needed attention of the countries in the northern hemisphere to establish links with those down south, in terms of trade aid etc. because that is the only way to bridge the yawning gap between the rich north and the poverty stricken south.

In almost all of these African countries which have borders with the sea, their capital cities are found right by the sea. the reason being that, that was where the colonialists settled and developed. The African leader has since been naive not to think of why it used to be like that but have continued to live there yet, every year, the independence celeberations go on and on. In such countries like our own Ghana, the end result is that, the northern part has suffered deprivation and total dejection leaving in its trail abject poverty amongst the residents up-north.An article to this effect was posted on the Ghanaweb by one Mr Yahaya Moses Kofi which touched me so very much.

Mr Yahaya tried to lay the blame at the doorsteps of governments, which is true to some extent. However, without holding brief for any of the past or present governments, I think the poverty of the north has been the making of many than one could count. Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the country in his wisdom instituted the fee-free education for our northern brothers and sisters but I beg to ask if there was some sort of compulsion attached to this facility? If yes, how many parents were prosecuted for denying their children accsess to formal education? It is said to say that, most of the people then, did not patronise the system and in the end those from the south found a way of taking advantage of it. It was like; those who have do not want and those who want do not have. So why not?

Ironically, only a few of the northerners, who made good use of the system fail to realise the idea behind such a laudable initiative, they fail to help their communities to achieve their aims interests and aspirations even though, since independence we have had a great number of our northern brothers and sisters in higher positions in governments these have woefully forgotten to press for changes in the southern concerntration ideaologies of the governments they have served in. IF YOU DO NOT SAY I AM, WHO WILL SAY YOU ARE? Instead, these scholars/politicians very soon found themselves in the southern concerntration bandwagon like the present day migration to the western world by many of us. Conduct a research and you will be surprised to find that, a sizeable number of the well educated, Businessmen/women, Transport operaters in cities like Accra,Kumasi, Takoradi etc. are indigenes of the north. Undoubtedly, that promotes cutural diversity, yet, it has been the bane of the Northern Emancipation and Empowerment especially, at a time when it has bcome fashionable in the political circles that, to win the northern votes, a party need either a running mate or a presidential candidate, how imperative this idea is , is still debateable anyway.

It is pathetic to note that, the only part of Ghana to have witnessed bloody conflicts of late is the north. Equally pathetic is the fact that most of the conflicts have had political undertones. Hardly to prove this though, yet the way some politicians try to score cheap political goals out of the miseries, misfortunes and predicaments of the victims of such conflicts will force many to believe in that.

Is it not ironic that, whilst Dr Kwame Nkrumah was trying to link the meaningless or otherwise of our independence to the total liberation of the the WHOLE African continent, back home in Ghana, our development has only centred in the south?

Though the north, accordingly, has been neglected over the years, there is more to be done to salvage the situation but all hands must be on deck. It is unthinkable to believe that good things come happen in a vacuum or in chaos. Development like any good thing needs the preparedness of those who want it. I would like to suggest that, non-governmental organisations such as ADVENTISTS DEVELOPMENT AND RELIEF AGENCY,(ADRA) WORLD VISION INTERNATIONAL,etc who are trying to provide relief services in the north should team up with the NATIONAL CENTRE FOR CIVIC EDUCATION (NCCE) and REGIONAL SECURITY AGENCIES (REGSECs) in the north to step up education on conflict resolution and the importance of peaceful co-habitation to devoid the area of conflicts.

Also, a version of the JOSEPH PROJECT intiated by the government should be fashioned out for the three northern regions to conscientise the indigenes on how best they can help their regions.

Its about time our northern brothers and sisters AWAKE from their slumber and say, we ain't going to allow ourselves to be used by greedy, selfish and insensitive politicians. If the essence of parliamentary democracy is to elect people to represent our needs and interests and fourteen years into our fourth republic the people they represent continue to live in abject poverty then, I dare say that the members of parliament from the north have woefully failed in their duties and deserve nothing short of TOTAL RECALL.

What is more the people themselves must pursue what unites them than what divides them. It is about time they realise that, they hold the very keys to unlock their potentials which will lead them to their hidden treasure and pride.

Also, Besides these and many more ways to to be identified, this is what I will personally do if I became the president of our land( I am not launcing my campaign though)

1. Create a city in betweenthe North and the Brong Ahafo regions. Dr Nkrumah created one in the South- Tema. Why not another UP-NORTH? - SOUTHERN CONCERTRATION IDEAOLOGY?

2. Direct that any new company/factory, Hotels be sited in and around this city.

3. Construct as soon as possible, a railway line for free movement of people between the South and the North and,

4. Gradually but steadily, move the country's administration from the South to the North.

What will motivate me alongside bridging the North-South gap would be holding back one enemy, DESERTIFICATION, in check. why do we have to destroy the forest to build houses whilst a land lay barren somewhere? More Ironies.

My humble but simple question for our politicians is, if they see fair trade, foreign investment and setting up of companies/factories by the Western World in the Third World Countries as the only way out of the poverty in Africa, why have we cut the NORTH away from the SOUTH? I hope some one is listening.



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