Feature Article of Sunday, 12 August 2012

Columnist: Sebe-Yeboah, G.

The Tribute From Dagbon

During this two-week period of national mourning, tributes have poured in from many angles, sources, quarters, regions, group of people etc. The Ghanaian people and the presidency deserve this because of the way the departed President conducted himself and how we as a people did manage the tragic moments. The image of Ghana is exponented as across the globe having over this leadership hurdle.
I have been emotionally involved in the observation of this sad panda moments but this is not the time to tell what I feel since it is not different from at least the majority of the over twenty five million people in this country. The people of Ghana in my view have demonstrated maturity and empathy as we bid the Prof far well.
As I sat far from Accra, precisely Tamale, my heart melted with the handling of the situation particularly the transition period. At least I got the assurance that the future for this country in terms of our democratic pursuits and our quest for sustainable development is safe. I am not the only one to have noticed this moment of togetherness but for the sake of this piece, it is imperative to restate it. 24th of July was a soberly and reflective period for this country. Those who witnessed the transition in parliament will attest to this, how the minority and majority disappeared and merged as a house of one party. A good time to be a Ghanaian!
As if that was not enough, the selection of the veep was one without rancour. I was particularly humbled by the unilateral decision reached by the house to vet the then nominee, I mean Paa Kwasi Amissah-Arthur. Both on the day of vetting and swearing-in, I was convinced that the Blackman was and is capable of managing his own affairs with reference to the First Prime Minister and President of Ghana. The exhibition of this maturity and togetherness has attracted a lot of international attention and it is a pat on our shoulders as we did it together.
The tributes that have poured in especially the last three days of national mourning tell so many stories and lessons about the transient soul and the country at large. My focus is the importance of those tributes. They unanimously talk of the qualities of the good old Professor and the expressed and unexpressed wishes for his country. One of the wishes that stands out in all the eulogies is his preference for peace and tranquillity. Given the chance, Prof Mills I believe would want to buy this priceless commodity no matter the frustrations he might go through. But I think he would be forever happy looking at how the nation endured his untimely departure.
Therefore the tribute from Dagbon should in my opinion perpetuate the memories of the late President. This is in line with what was reported on Dagbon’s website (http://www.dagbon.net) that President John Dramani Mahama on Friday 3rd August called on chiefs from the three Northern Regions to use the death of the late President John Evans Atta Mills to settle all chieftaincy and ethnic conflicts.

He said: "President Mills stood for peace and if you are able to use his death to settle all chieftaincy and ethnic disputes throughout the three Northern Regions, it will become one of the biggest legacies the late President Mills' administration would have left for Ghanaians.” I cease this opportunity to appeal to my people in the Dagbon State in particular to smoke the peace pipe. I urge them to throw away their differences like the parliament of Ghana did when they needed to find a successor to Prof Mills. The Abudu and Andani gates are all from one ancestor and therefore I humbly appeal to them in these humble moments to let go the disagreements. I don’t think if one gate is condemned to death, the remaining gate would find happiness. It is time to bury the differences since all is vanity. Man never is, so let Dagbon be one and this would be a recognisable tribute to what the late President stood for.
Dagbon is one of the peaceful places you can find in Ghana. However, the real story has been drowned by the perceived division that exists among the kingship gates. Dagbon is a beautiful land with beautiful people and rich cultural traditions predating the advent of the Whiteman. Is it hard to achieve lasting peace in Dagbon although the situation has been as old as Ghana? As for me, there is no such time than this. Let the politician who exploit the situation to their benefits stay away and I bet you Dagbon would stand chest out.
When I was transferred to Tamale in 2007, I nearly did resign for the sake of my life since I thought I would be bending while walking since bullets would be flying over my head. But with the encouragement of love ones, I have never regretted stepping my foot in the land of Dagbon as in many cases the news that make rounds in the South do not exist or is exaggerated. On the contrary, Dagbon has been a land of opportunity as far as I am concerned. At appropriate time, Dagbon will sing its own song.
At this moment, I want to rest my case by calling on all the leaders and every son of the land including strangers to play their part as Dagbon seeks to pay a lasting tribute to the late President, Prof John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills Jnr. Fare well Egya Atta, Long Live Dagbon, and Long Live Ghana!

G. Sebe-Yeboah
(Student), UDS, Tamale