I am a northerner. Born into it or ‘cursed’ into it, I am proud.
I have been born and raised in three districts of the Upper East Region and for the almost 30 years of my life, I have seen, heard and experienced things.
I have schooled in two other regions – Northern and Greater Accra Region. There too, I have seen, heard and experienced things.
I am enlightened enough to know when I am being lied to when I am being cajoled into accepting mediocrity and I am educated enough to smell propaganda from miles away as if it were horse pee. And yes, I am honest enough to accept what is true and what is not. I can tell if someone loves me, loves us or not.
So did someone say that his political party loves us more than another? That we should not fall for the other party’s trick of using their running mate as a “Trojan Horse” to win our votes?
Well, I have common sense. I can see, hear and experience things. We all know that the other party had their eight years from 2000 – 2008 and during that time, I did not see heaven in Bolgatanga where I have spent most of my life. After all, after 2008, there was still a bad Bolga-Bawku road that was not fixed, a Pwalugu Tomato Factory that was nearly brought back to life but stopped somewhere along the line due to all the reasons the communicators or rather, ‘mis-communicators’ could assign for it, historical unpaid feeding grants issues that still linger, etcetera.
But is it true that those who came between 2000 and 2008 discriminate against us – the northern people and that their other ‘friends’ love us more? I would beg to have my right to reasoning and making my own choices. Why? I have seen, heard and experienced things.
If you loved me, if you loved us, a tomato factory with almost all its equipment intact would not be rotting away while our tomato farmers commit suicide, just to avoid facing post-harvest losses – losses they incur because there is no market for their bumper tomato harvests.
I know because of my work that a certain equipment called a vacuum pump which draws water out of the tomato during the processing it into a paste the only thing missing and that, sadly is the reason why the factory rots away. At least that is what we were told.
Haruna Iddrisu, as Minister of Trade, visited the factory on December 23, 2013. I was one of many journalists present. He said at that time, that $300,000 was all that was needed to get the factory back on track. The Minister said the factory would be up and running by the second quarter of the following year.
A board of directors for the factory was constituted and inaugurated that same day. The regional secretary of the ruling party, Donatus Akamugri was made the chairman of the board.
So is the factory up and running? No! It is still rotting away - a home to high grasses and stray goats and sheep littering the factory with their faeces. And oh, a gateman has been kept there to watch the place. Is this love? I have seen, heard and experienced things and that is definitely not a sign of love.
If you loved me, if you loved us, we would not be crying about a very bad Bolga-Bawku road for years with “our brother” making at least two big promises – one at Garu in 2011 when he was Vice President and the other in December 2014 at the Samanpede Festival in Bawku after he became President.
He promised that the road was going to be fixed as soon as possible, but cut the sod for the construction of the road in July 2016 (one and a half years later) with another promise to complete the road in 910 days. A contractor moved to the site a few days later and disappeared a few weeks after that with no trace. Is this love?
If you loved me, if you loved us more, less than three months ago, your people would not have scraped the surfaces of the Tanzui - Sherigu and Soe roads that were full of pot holes, just when the president was coming to town and then abandon the roads right after. The Tanzui – Sherigu road passes right behind the wall of the Residency, where the Regional Minster lives. A places the president is received anytime he’s in town.
So it is not as if no one in authority is seeing the dust the people have to deal with every day. I use that road every day too because I live in the area and I have seen too many accidents on it. In one of those accidents, I was nearly involved. So is that love?
If you loved me, if you loved us, a Gh¢350, 000 constituency party office would not be built on the edge of a very bad road that leads to the regional offices of the DVLA, Ghana Revenue Authority and the Health Assistants Training School with a rotten, abandoned meat factory standing less than 300 meters away from that party office. So where’s the love?
A private business man called Atibire has become a household name in Bolga. Just say that you are looking for guinea fowls to buy in Bolga and seven out of ten people you ask will tell you to go to Atibire Farms. From what I have seen, Atibire did not invest millions and his business does look like it makes him millions but he is certainly doing something right. With the needed support, he could build an empire and employ thousands of youth.
Like Atibire, there are many more guinea fowl farmers in the Upper East Region who have guinea fowls, too many to count. Yet, they use a very local method: mix the guinea fowl eggs with those of a hen so that they hatch (for guinea fowls do not incubate their own eggs). Once the guinea fowls are hatched, they are raised using the free-range method – given some millet every morning and left to go round feeding on their own. They grow, lay eggs and the cycle continues.
With a few thousand cedis and the needed support, some of these local guinea fowl farmers can give us more guinea fowls than we can eat. Yet millions of Ghana cedis were flushed down the drain under a ridiculous Asongtaaba Guinea Fowl Farm. And you say you love me, you love us? Haba! We too, we can reason!
You say they discriminate against me, against us. That you love me, you love us more than them. Maybe they do discriminate against us. I cannot entirely dismiss that. But I certainly cannot vouch for that love you have for me, for us, that you so eloquently boast of, because I cannot see it. Oh, I almost forgot. I am one of those people who need elevation to see the good things you have done. So get me a ladder if you will. But love is supposed to be felt, to be experienced. And this love of yours for me, for us, I cannot feel nor experience it. So what kind of love is it?
Love or not, discrimination or not, the people have been voting for you. A few of them have changed their minds a number of times. And some will change their minds again this year if they think they have to. It is their right.
For me, whichever way they vote, whichever way I vote, we will most likely be endorsing our hopelessness once again. After all, we will never vote for Papa Kwesi Ndoum the way we vote for the two of you. Because you are NDC and NPP and that’s all that matters to most people.
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