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23.04.2008 Politics

WE HAVE A COLLECTIVERESPONSIBILITY TO THE ZONGOS

By Zam R. Samin, Takoradi - Ghanaian Chronicle

A MEMBER OF THE board of Trustees of the Western Regional Islamic Educational Fund (WRIEF) and an aspiring Member of Parliament for Effiakwesimintsim constituency in the western region, Nana Kofi Coomson has called on Ghanaians, particularly the Islamic community to join hands with government to fight illiteracy and ignorance which he said were the major causes of poverty in the country especially in the zongo communities.

 “Poverty deepens ignorance, but unfortunately and unknowingly the more ignorant one becomes, the poorer you are” Nana Kofi Coomson emphasizedat the first General Assembly meeting of the Western Regional Islamic Educational Fund Organized by the Islamic Mission for Unity and Development (ISMUD), which is spearheading the cause of Muslim education in the region here in Takoradi. The Parliamentary aspirant noted that “if there is illiteracy in the zongo communities, it is due to poverty, so let's all join hands to fight it and reverse the situation because it affects every one in the country”Continuing, the Board member, who is also the owner of the Chronicle group of news papers, said he accepted being part of the Board of Trustees for three key reasons.

Firstly, because the constitution of the ISMUD debarred partisan politicking. Also, as some one who believes in Education as a sure way out of the poverty trap, he believes that his little contribution of ideas to the cause of the Board has the potential of helping to build the future of the less privilege in the society, who are mostly in the zongo communities. To support this claim, he cuted one of the hadith of the Holy prophet Mohammed (SAW), who once challenged the Islamic community to seek knowledge even if it were in China. Besides that, he said he also shares in the view of uniting the people with ideas in the community in which he lived.

This he said, the board had made as a priority in their deliberations. In addition to that, the development of the zongo communities to him was paramount since that alone could help transform the people who live in the communities. Nana Kofi Coomson told the General Assembly that the Board, having met on three consecutive times since its inception, deliberated on many issues affecting the zongo communities, principally the education of children in the Zongo communities and would work to reverse that. However, as some one who has been campaigning for the girl-child education, the legendary journalist noted that he would help the board to work in order to improve girl-child education enrollment in the zongo communities, which is currently abysmal.Incidentally, he said even in Iran, which is an Islamic nation, the statistics of improvement in education at the Tertiary level has outstripped that of the male counterparts. This he said, must be the case in Ghana.

In his small way, Nana Kofi Coomson has already sponsored eleven girls in the zongo community, and indicated his readiness to continue with it. The Publisher cited many instances where zongo children at all levels of the country's education have excelled in their field of specialization as well as professions, noting that the pupils in the zongo communities needed a little push or support to deliver their best. This he said the board would work to achieve.However, within the zongo communities in the Sekondi Takoradi metropolis and in the Western region, where poverty, illiteracy and ignorance have been common, he said they could also raise funds to turn things around.The Administrator of the Bibiani government hospital and an Islamic scholar, Alhaji Mukabir Abass, who chaired the function explained the importance of time management to the Islamic youth.

He also charged parents in the zongo communities on the need for them to help their wards gain employable skills and training. Earlier at the meeting, an Islamic theologian at Sekondi, Imam Bashiru Yahaya, who could not fathom why there is still indiscipline and disrespect for education in the zongo communities, took a swipe at the youth in the Zongos for neglecting their responsibility of knowing what is right as Islam commands, instead of wasting time in fruitless ventures at the expense of education which is key to their development.  On his part, Imam Yusif Nuhu of the Fulani community in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis argued on the need for parents to resource their wards that are in school, instead of spending lavishly on funerals, weddings and unprofitable ventures.

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of Islamic Mission for Unity and Development (ISMUD), Hamid Jallo and one of the members of the planning committee of the event, Mr. Mustapha Mohammed Adam at the beginning of the programme explained in detail to the General Assembly the purpose of the fund, the criteria for the selection of the board members and its importance. They also mentioned that any school that is to be established out of the fund would be called Western Region Islamic School, be it basic, secondary or tertiary.

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