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Opinions of Friday, 12 January 2018

Columnist: Cletus Kaba

The sad truth of the North

It gets more and more difficult every other day to keep these things in my "Malfunctioning" little mind.

I always wish, pray and hope that this ugly truth that pops up in my head whenever my people are mentioned is just the imagination of my malnourished mind, but unfortunately, as the days keep coming and going, though I'm a little away from the settlements of our Brave Savannah Lion Warrior Ancestors, (the northern regions) the sounds that accompanies the wind to our ears concerning the happenings in our home is rather making my thinking as sad as it is, more probable.

But I was still not comfortable of sharing this thinking, more because I'm not sure of my safety should this get to the hearing of some of the brethren, but our wise ancestors said, "You'd rather be killed by the King for chewing the bone to his hearing, than to be choked and killed in an attempt to swallow it (bone) for the fear that the King will hear you if you chew it", my chest is exploding anyways. Even that, things were settling a little, until I heard on the radio that Women in the Northern Region are protesting about something the traditional leaders of the land are not doing, in fact, I was shocked to the bone, I couldn't imagine what in the world would make the most respectful and submissive beings I have ever met, the Northern Woman, say a word on top of her voice to her husband, not talking of an elder, so I got curious to find out.

Listening to them, you could feel the frustrations and the anger in their voices, and they are right to be angry.

When Chiefs, Elders, Opinion Leaders and MPs from other parts of the country are leading their people, working so hard, leaving no stone unturned, to make sure that the government's intention to create new regions, which the northern region is also mentioned comes to pass, what are our people doing about it?

Is it that they are doing something and just don't want to involve us the citizenry like others are doing?

And if yes, is it that they can do it alone and do not need our support or they are talking but we are just not hearing what they are saying?

These are some of the questions the women are asking. I think the "Be a citizen and not a spectator" craze has influenced these women as it has done many people in this country.

What should be amazing for people, but not me, is the silence of the vibrant youth, the youth that would organize press conferences and press releases, which are better called "A Threat" conferences and releases, should it be that someone had said something that can be interpreted to be derogatory about northerners.

The youth that are bold enough to warn the president of this country to stay away from certain issues or else…

Even an apology is not good enough for our northern MPs to forgive the culprit.

Senior journalists with northern background will descend on that person, even presidential staffers, social media would be boiling, people who do magic with words would put out masterpiece write-ups, and they would all end up asking for a head to roll in a nice way, those of us who are not so good in writing would like the worse insulting comments.

A whole tribe would be accused of tribalism simply because one or a few people from that tribe had ever said something bad about us. So where are all these people when it is time for us to fight for development?

Surprised?

Don't be, we have been like this for a long time, we will stand up and fight for the dignity of our so-called name and position, we will kill, even each other, if we think that is what will make us keep our position and name, and we will be boasting about how brave warriors our ancestors were.

But if not for the killing, I wouldn't have a problem with us protecting our heritage, but the oddness in fighting fiercely for our territory and see no reason to do same, if not more for its development is really too much for my feeble mind.

I remember when the notorious SADA issues came up, I was then a member of a group called Upper East Youth Platform For Development (UEYPD) in Kumasi, I was the least educated among them, we had a meeting and decided that we would put out a press release and demand for the MPs from our region to update us (the youth in the region) on the issues so far, and what they (our MPs) are doing about it, because we felt that we in the Savannah areas were effected the most, but our MPs were very silent, it was rather their Colleagues from other parts of the country who were doing the talking, sadly, this good discussion did not follow any of us when we left the meeting.

Manasseh Azure Awuni, the lead investigator of this rotten issue Once talked about how people were trying to prevent him from doing this important investigation, and some were saying the people are his own people, therefore why exposing them, and I wondered, we could kill our brothers for lands and Chieftaincies, and we are okay with it, but have a problem with exposing them for a crime done to all of us, then you need not ask why we are where we are development wise.

Just recently, a brother posted on I AM PROUD TO BE A NORTHERNER (GHANA), a Facebook page, about an inhumane treatment he got at the Metro Mass Transit station, Tamale branch, and many who had same or worse treatment there were commenting, so I and the said brother wrote a petition and posted it on the platform seeking that those interested should add their names by commenting, for us to send it to the appropriate quarters for the issues to be addressed, guest what, the last time I checked only three people commented.

The list can go on and on, we fight for our territory, and blame everyone else, but us for our underdevelopment.

But how long are we going to do this to ourselves? waiting for others to come and do what we should do, we have been joking for far too long, and it is never funny.

Someone tried to justify his accession that NPP is anti-Northerners by citing how Dombo is only mentioned in NPP when it is election time, but they have an active Danquah Institute and an annual Busia memorial lectures, therefore, Dombo is only an election tool. He was so sure of himself until I asked if he knew the actual individuals behind those two organizations, and he mentioned some names, "probably, a family member of the two," so what are the northerners in the NPP doing about Dombo? Waiting for people from other parts of the country to start something in his name of cause, to show that they love northerners, it is very pathetic we still don't realize that no one owes us anything, and we get what we work for.

Our father Mr. C K Tedam, the 1954 Member of Parliament of the constituency I come from, he is very revered in the NPP, what is the NPP in our constituency doing to immortalise this great son of our land?

It is very sad, but seems to me that northerners are only smart in the theories, the application of this smartness in development is very deficient.

Our loud silence on developmental issues, like what is currently happening with the creation of regions, and the vigour we put in defending or condemning those who we think are against us, if not change now, we really have a very long way to go, that is even if we will ever go, that is even if we will ever go.

#itiswell…