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Opinions of Saturday, 1 June 2013

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

The Intelligence/Wisdom of the Akans

- is it a Myth or a Reality?

I was born into the Akan tribe, particularly the Ashanti. When growing up in Kumawu, a township surrounded by mountains undulated into the distance; I was made to believe that the Akans, especially the Ashantis, are more intelligent. Their mere presence at any gathering graces the occasion. They have always been that overflowing fountain of wisdom from which others come to drink to revitalise their intelligence.

When spending occasional holidays in the plains of Asiampa, a village now ruined beyond recognition, with almost all the inhabitants dead, buildings annihilated, but with the chirpings of the birds on ascendency, I was made to understand to appreciate the tribal superiority of the Ashantis. A child, and childishly as I was, I did not only believe in toto but also, was overwhelmingly proud to have been born an Ashanti because of that acclaimed air of superiority surrounding the tribe.

Do I still hold on to that belief when I interpret or evaluate it in terms of the prevailing circumstances in which the Akans of today, especially the Ashantis, find themselves? I doubt if I do.

The Ashantis of today lack that cohesive oneness that made them strong and the envy of their contemporaries. They have become individualistic, overcome by selfishness, and allowed their greed to turn into such an effective divisive weapon to wield against them by their common enemy. In unity lies strength. In unity we stand but in division we fall.

The Ashantis from the look of things have fallen face flat on the floor all due to their individualistic aspirations to attain their parochial financial or materialistic interests. They do not care any longer about their collective interests, once an envious quality that made them wiser, stronger and their kingdom an impregnable fortress.

Some among them have allowed themselves to be bought over by the very people espousing a calculated mischievous agenda to bring the Akans or the Ashantis to their crawling knees. Having baited them with money or financially induced their allegiance, such a few individuals have successfully reduced the entirety of their Akan or Ashanti tribe to a laughing stock. This is a reality as seen by all discerning citizens. The paymasters of those selected few Ashantis or Akans helping to shackle the entire tribe, reduce her to rubble, are gleefully punching the air for having achieved their objective, though shamefully as it is.

The current crop of Akan traditional leaders is as worse as those that have sold their conscience and allegiance for peanuts to betray their own people of common descent.

I am not by this write-up seeking to stoke any tribal sentiments but simply recounting facts and truths as are prevalent in Ghana under the very watch of both political and traditional leaders elected or selected to lead us but who are incapable of correcting or reversing that despicable trend of affairs. The Akans or the Ashantis generate the bulk of the nation's wealth yet; they seem not to be major beneficiaries of the very wealth acquired through their sweat and toil.

Government scholarships emanated from cocoa are often awarded to the wards of non-cocoa producing farmers or better still, not to the children and relatives of farmers. They are given to people of different professions and of different tribes who after availing themselves of that opportunity, later turn to look down on Ashantis as less educated and have difficulty understanding the Queen's language. To the warped mentality of the Ghanaian, "The knowledge of English is the criterion of a man's great learning". These batch or bunch of "monkey de work baboon de chop" beneficiaries, after acquiring the intellectual benefits of the scholarships, come to lord themselves over us.

The very those that benefited from free education through en mass scholarships in the Northern part of Ghana were not long ago, telling Ghanaians that free Senior High School (SHS) as was the policy objective of Nana Akufo Addo for all Ghanaian children of school going-age was wrong and should not be allowed. We had some Akans siding with those that were condemning the free SHS. Is this intelligence? Is this the Akan or Ashanti wisdom that I was told about which made me proud? Is this intelligence/wisdom or it's just a myth to fool the Ashantis? Are we tickling ourselves and laughing? No wise person would ever do as some cunning Akans were doing of which I saw with my "korokoro" (the Nigerian way of saying "naked") eyes. They are still actively neck-deep into taking after actions and activities that undermine the very existence of the Akans or Ashantis.

Akans kept silence when Jerry John Rawlings once unleashed a complete onslaught of madness directed at exterminating the Ashantis if possible, or silence them, or destroy the bulk of their wealth. His actions were purely tribalistic as they were mischievous. How many Akans' industries and jobs did he not intentionally destroy or maliciously confiscate? How many of Akans did he not kill for unexplained reasons? Was he not many a time supported by certain Akans to execute heinous acts against their own kind?

Did army officers Agyei Boadi, Boakye Gyan, both Akans and many other Akan officers not supporting Rawlings and his ilk of hungry soldiers to embark on an extermination spree or warfare against the Akans? Is this the Akan intelligence I was being brought up to be proud of? Oh no!

Anyway, I am warming up, pulling up my sleeves to tackle the unbelievably unprecedented gargantuan injustices done to the late Mr. B. A. Mensah (once the founder and owner of International Tobacco Ghana Ltd - ITG), an Akan of Ashanti descent who was as well my Kumawu compatriot. Those that malevolently brought him down, from grace to grass, know themselves. They will be mentioned, questioned and castigated if need be. Although I shall not spare them the rod to spoil them, I shall be more interested in tasking them to ensure the restitution of B.A. Mensah's confiscated properties to his children and or relatives dependant on his last documented wishes.

While other tribes are in concertation to subjugate the Akans in general and the Ashantis in particular, the Ashantis in their majority have chosen to sit on their backside, twirling their fingers if not doing nothing, hoping Providence shall provide. Be it known to them that God will not descend from the Higher Firmaments to fight all your battles for you. He has bestowed wisdom and intelligence on you, use them but appropriately.

Those that have a secret systematic agenda to hold the Akans in bondage are warned. Most Akans have come to the realisation that by their actions and inactions, they have unknowingly sold their birthright to those that are currently implementing preposterous agenda which is gradually tightening up on the necks of the Akans especially, the Ashantis. They have now seen the light and realised their mistakes. They will amend their ways accordingly.

For how long are we going to sit by while others cheat us and take us for fools? Now my concluding question is, "The much acclaimed wisdom of the Akans, is it a myth or a reality?"

Rockson Adofo