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Opinions of Thursday, 2 July 2015

Columnist: Alhassan Abdul Razak

Sodom & Gomorrah demolitions, the woes of the Savanna man

Let me start by remarking that Ghana needs to develop no matter what. It is always the hope and wish and the wish of my fellow patriotic Ghanaians to see the country on the world map of developed Nations.

I admit also that someway somehow, drastic decisions needs to be taken to ensure orderliness sanity in the administration of the country. But, the manner and form that drastic decisions are taken is something that is worth considering.

Growing up, it has always been the desire and aspiration of every sound minded person to have the world at their disposable one day, to live life in the most standard way if not the affluent way as far as socio-economic condition is concerned.

It is never the prayer of every reasonable person to live a deplorable lifestyle one day (not even the second and third class animals will pray that way).

Ask even a mentally retarded person and they will tell you they wished they were Bill Gates (only if they understand who Bill Gates is). People perspire millions times a day under the severe Sahara sunshine trying to attain even the lowest decent economic standards possible; all to no avail.

Sometimes people turn to pass unfair judgements over others on why they are never educated.

It is rather quite unfortunate that we find ourselves in this part of the world where the dreams and hopes of people (especially the destitute) are auctioned out to bidders by political leaders at the most insulting prices; all in the name of their parochial interests.

A lot of brainy people have ended up on the wicked streets of Ghana for obvious reasons (I do not mean madness). It is high time we changed our attitudes towards the unfortunate destitute in society.

Why all that Father Christmas talk?
Well, I am talking about the recent inhumane Sodom and Gormorah demolitions by the Accra metropolitan Assembly (AMA).

Thousands and thousands of residents in the old Fadama neighborhood woke up barely a week ago to their astonishments the presence of heavily armed security personnel; forcing them to evacuate their houses for demolition exercises. More than ten thousand residents had their dreams shattered within a matter of minutes.

Even though this was necessary is the worst thing the Government of a country can do to its citizens. That without doubt constitute a contravention of the United Nations laws governing the treatment of slum dwellers. Over 80% of the residents are Northerners. Most of them are in their youthful ages.

Some of them had migrated there from the Northern part of the country due to conflicts, extreme poverty and rural unemployment. Others especially the young were even born there. They have always known there as a home all their lives.

I am not suggesting that the demolitions were wrong. In fact, I can even say it is long overdue. Accra needs to develop for God sake! At least one can boast of a beautiful and odorous-free capital city.

My concern here is the Rambo-style dimension the exercise took. That the AMA had it all wrong. I believe government as a machinery could have done better.

Now that calls into question how ‘The northern educated elite’ has failed his people. The woes are really within.

It is a golden truth that the Northern part of Ghana is the most afflicted with poverty, unemployment and low literacy rates. This should not be a norm but it is logical because the North is the least endowed as far as natural resources is concerned. Also, formal education covered the north only after a century of existence in the Southern part of Ghana.

It was in the light of this abject poverty and youth joblessness that the president John Dramani Mahama led government introduced the Savanna Accelerated Development Agency (SADA); to create youth employment and progressively eliminate the poverty and improve the social conditions of the people of the North.

Millions of Ghana cedis were committed into realizing this long time governmental dream of closing the vast developmental gap that exist between the South and the North of the country.

The best part of it was that, government kept Northerners at the hemp of affairs of the Agency. That initiative was never something tribal motivated. It was done to ensure efficiency and better management. You know one cannot tell the nature of hunger if they have never gone hungry!

It therefore would have been putting squared pegs in a round holes affair if government decided to entrust the leadership with People from the Southern part of Ghana. Being northerners, it was believed that they had better understandings what their people are going through so, were in the best position to effectively manage the Agency to the full benefit of the Northern populace.

But what happened in the end? Gross corruption, thievery, Mismanagement and looting at ridiculous magnitudes. Those merciless blood-sucking-vampire representatives siphoned all the precious resources into self-aggrandizements; all to the detriment of their own people. These malpractices without doubt led to the eventual collapse of the Agency without a single record of achievement. The woes of the savanna man continues unless we change our attitudes!

I am pretty much convinced that if social intervention initiatives in the likes of SADA were effectively managed, the ceaseless rural-urban migration of both male and female youngsters to the south of the country in search of the non-existing jobs would have been reduced to bearable degrees if not completed eliminated. And may be a greater percentage of the old Fadama residents might have gone back to take advantage of the Agency.

Is that the best the educated northerner can do for their people? Posterity will definitely judge us!

By: Alhassan Abdul Razak…University Ibn Tofail