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Opinions of Friday, 28 February 2014

Columnist: Aminu, Adongo Richard

The moving shrine.

About a fortnight ago, I stumbled on a news article which had my deputy regional minister Mr. Daniel Syme admonishing the youth to take it easy on alcohol.

This immediately sent me laughing uncontrollably. Not to mock or belittle his advice, but it reminded me of a very good friend of mine who had a very logical reason for his alcoholism. This friend of mine (name withheld) had been with me during the just ended yuletide of last year. He was almost always drunk. He had told me albeit in a trans- like stupor that 'I am a moving shrine, and as such I must drink, for alcohol is the only thing that pacifies and appeases the gods'. Logical abi??

What my friend, who incidentally hails from Daniel Syme’s area was saying is that he has spirits (smaller gods) which resides in him and so have to be feted ( of course with alcohol).

Having been born and bred in the Upper Region, and having transverse same in all its nooks and crannies, I think I understand clearly the frustrations of the deputy minister. We have very good and rare talent in that region. It is really excruciating (the kind of pain that emanates from crucifixion) to see such talents reel and waste through alcoholism.

The wastage is not only in the emaciation of the body, but often times, a real waste as in death. The deaths are mostly through poisoning by means of animal bile with alcohol as the medium and by Road Traffic Accidents under alcohol’s influence. My eyes water as memories of some lost souls come flooding my mind. But indeed the question that begs for answers is whether the other 'drunkards' view themselves as moving shrines. If that is so, do we demolish the shrines or we cast out the demons who reside in the shrines?

I have the innate tendency to think that our traditional religion and mode of worship promotes shrines and idol worship. If my feelings are remotely right, then it stands to reason that we must rope in our traditional kit and kin in the fight against the promotion of moving shrines. The religious and spiritual of our society, especially in the Upper East Region should also wake up to nip the canker in the bud spiritually.

The perennial poverty that constantly stares us in the face has being perennially exacerbated by the reckless and wanton abuse of alcohol. I dare suggest that the reduction of alcohol abuse is one sure way to poverty reduction in the Upper East Region in particular and the north as a whole. This issue should be given all the prominence it deserves because alcoholism in the region affects mostly the budding and most promising of our youth. All hands on deck against alcoholism.

NB: I have observed moving shrines in the Jirapa district where I reside as the ONLY CHIEF of my DAMBOLI brethren. Please bow down to me and pay homage so I can lead you to arrest alcohol abuse in the area.