Feature Article of Monday, 2 July 2012

Columnist: Boateng, Immanuel

Non-Ewe Voltarians ‘Shine Your Eyes’

The Volta Region is fast losing its significance in Ghana’s national affairs due to certain unfortunate developments in the region within the past two decades.
Let me start by defining what I mean by non-Ewe Voltarians. On July 5th, 2011, Asempa FM Talk Show host Bobbie Ansah classified the people of Nkonya, Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi, Likpe and others as another group of Ewes. Indeed, that is the opinion of majority of Ghanaians who have very little or no idea, whatsoever, about the region; to the extent that they classify all the people of the Volta Region as Ewes. The fact is, we the non-Ewes sometimes borrow Ewe jargons in our day-to-day conversations and bear Ewe names, but that does not turn us into Ewes. For, instance, you the reader of this article may bear a Hebrew name such as John, but that does not turn into a Jew.
The Volta Region, as Professor Kofi Awoonor once put it, “is a microcosm of tribes.” It comprises the Ewes, Guans, Akans and Gurma. The Ewes can be located from Keta to Hohoe, and the other three tribes can be found as one navigates the region northwards having past Hohoe in the order as stated above.
The main issues of my article are, among other things, infrastructure development, the state and quality of educational institutions and political appointments as far as the non-Ewe part of the region is concerned.
The infrastructure situation in our area in terms of good roads, drinking water, electricity etc. is simply pathetic. Our part of the region has been basically cut off from the rest of the region when it comes to development. The only times we have witnessed some infrastructure development are the era of Town Councils when rural folks embarked on national rural development by constructing public schools, health posts, and public toilets, for example, and under Rawlings’ national electrification program. Therefore, I can say without any reservations that our biggest benefit from PNDC/NDC is the electrification program.
Furthermore, the most important road in our area, the Asikuma junction-Hohoe-Nkwanta road, has been left in a deplorable state for decades. All that past and present governments have done or are doing is patches and fixes. Yet, in President Mills’ government, we have a cabinet minister in charge of roads and highways, from the Volta Region, who doesn’t see the urgency to improve our horrible roads. Instead, he is fuming with threats against the opposition parties should they try to win our votes. That is wrong and unacceptable. It means the said minister is only concerned about his political and personal interests and not the wellbeing of the people in that part of the region.
The other issue to consider is the state of the health facilities in our area. The rest of the world must know that in the Volta Region government programs and initiatives end in the Eweland. In the olden days before Jerry Rawlings came in the scene, our people pride themselves in a few health centers such as Worawora, Papase, and Nkwanta hospitals. Sadly, these facilities have been left to fate and are now in dilapidated conditions while those in the Eweland are doing pretty well.
Education for our people is a gamble. There are no competitive educational institutions in our area. All the better schools in the region are situated in the Eweland-Keta High School at Keta, St. Paul’s High School at Denu, Ho Polytechnics Inst., Mawuli High School, Ola High School, and Mawuko Girls High School, all in Ho, Bishop Herman, Kpando Technical Institute, and Kpando High School, all in Kpando, and St Francis Teachers’ Training College and St. Theresa’s Training College, both in Hohoe.
The last thing I will like to bring to the attention of readers is how political and government appointments are appropriated in favor of Ewes. In fact, when it comes to political appointments our situation can best be described as “monkey de work, bamboo de chop.” It is very sad when the whole world is made to believe one thing contrary to what the reality is. For instance, everyone assumes that any political appointments from the Volta Region automatically benefit the whole region. This assumption is completely out of place. The fact is that most appointees from the region are Ewes. These appointees don’t even know a wider part of non- Ewe land of the region. And that we as a people must send a message to the rest of the world that we have taken notice of these unfortunate realities. The time to act is now, for, how long shall we continue to trust and obey our Ewe people and practically play second fiddle to them in almost every sphere of life? If you don’t see things my way let’s take a close look at both past and present NDC administrations and their modus operandi for selecting political appointees. Ewes dominate these administrations right from the seat of government, the Council of State, parliamentary subcommittees, corporate boards and the rest. Need I mention names? Not necessary! But for the records, talk of the Tsikatas, Awoonors, Gbehos, Avokas, Gidisus Adjahos, Tamakloes, Okudzetos, Segbefias, Anyidohos, name them, and think of the positions they have occupied or currently occupy in government.
Meanwhile, we the non-Ewes in the region continue to vote overwhelmingly for the NDC. Unfortunately, our unflinching support for the party doesn’t matter. If it does, then we would have been rewarded like the Ewes.
However, the fact is that Ewes are more aggressive, assertive, and daring than us because we have sat back on our oasis, for the fear of death, sword and gun, so we’ve not dared to make progress in terms of getting involved in government. They have, and that’s what has made the difference between us and them, to a great extent.
My humble advice to my own people is that we need to take stock of our social and political situations and either demand fairness from the party in government or support another political party which we can trust to be sensitive to our plights. Secondly, we need to look beyond our language barriers and forge a formidable front to pursue common political and developmental agendas as a people. The Ewes are not ready to share with us so let us be wise and get smarter. As for the NDC they have failed us terribly, so let’s advise ourselves well.
Email: okrahboateng@yahoo.com