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20.04.2009 Feature Article

A Humble Letter to Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe

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I had not noticed the divisive nature of Ahoofe's writings until recently. Each time I read his articles, the one question I ask is “what does Ahoofe seek to achieve?” One does not need the second paragraph of his writings to know this is Ahoofe wiritng.

Writing under the title “Atta Mills Must Concede Defeat”, Ahoofe castigated Mills, Rawlings, and NDC to an unacceptable degree. It was just before the December 2008 run-off. Whilst well-meaning Ghanaians were gripped by trepidation due to the tensed nature of the environment at the time, and hoped fervently that the “non-winner” of the election would concede defeat for peace to prevail, Ahoofe was busy sewing seeds of discord, disunity, hatred, division, and backwardness. Ahoofe forgot that Ghana is supreme to either NPP or NDC.

I was so shocked by that article that following the comments readers posted, I decided to scavenge the internet for Ahoofe. Is this man real or fictitious? And bingo! I found him. He is actually a faculty in that Community College. Because I wanted him to see the comments, I copied and pasted a number of them in a mail, and sent it to his “edu” mail account. I wanted to strike acquaintance with him somehow, may be I could offer him some little advice in a way other than I am trying to do here.

I do not need to recount detrimental articles Ahoofe has been putting to our readership. Anyone who is a regular visitor at myjoyonline, ghanaweb, modernghana, etc knows that Ahoofe has been writing nothing other than along tribal and party lines, slaughtering people's character every now and then. His hatred for the Ewe people is common knowledge. If it is not the case, his writings suggest so! His writings are merely trying to portray some ethnic groups/tribes as superior to others. And so I reiterate my question “what does Ahoofe seek to achieve?”

In his April-19 “Splitting up Northern Region is Foolhardy”, Ahoofe has sought to inject confusion by what we can literally call “trying to knock heads of Gonjas and Dagombas”. But I bet he has failed. The request to split the Northern Region up is older than the Mills-led administration. It is also older than the unfortunate Dagbon crisis. Whilst Ahoofe was quick to mention that “Actually, the Vice-President had made absolutely no mention of the new names to be given to these two northern enclaves”, he still had the audacity to go ahead to name the regions Dagombaland and Gonjaland. And your Nigeria examples don't apply; remember every country has its idiosyncrasies.

Ahoofe said “Thus, in a real sense, what Vice-President Mahama and the Gonja people appear to be saying is simply that it is high time the Dagbon people localized their seemingly intractable and bloody chieftaincy disputes and stop pretending as if everybody was keenly interested in their familial affairs, merely because they happen to share the same region or administrative apparatus” I find this very unfortunate to be coming from any enlightened person, especially one who thinks “Perhaps somebody ought to enlighten Mr. Mahama about the practical and commonsensical concept of Economies of Scale, an ideology which pretty much informs the existence of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)”. Ahoofe needs to get it straight that Gonjaland does not constitute only Gonjas. He can revisit his social studies to confirm. Ahoofe has started extending insults to Vice-President John Mahama, a man who has no invectives in his vocabulary.

Gonjas and Gonjalanders, have peacefully coexisted with each other and our brothers for centuries. Dagombas, like any other tribe in Ghana, are our brothers. We do not see the misfortune that has befallen them to be theirs alone. We care about every Ghanaian. So please stop attempting to paint a picture as though we are “fed up” with Dagombas and want to “separate”. If insulting Ewes is not enough for you, please do not extend it to Gonjaland. We have not bargained for this, ok?

As a graduate student, I dream to hold a PhD some day. So it's only natural for me to respect PhDs, just as I respect everyone else. Instead of using your “PhD” to help the masses by way of meaningful living and thinking and proposing solutions to Ghana's problems, all Ahoofe does is seriously engage in is trying to divide Ghana. I am not surprised that Ahoofe is not in talking terms with a good friend of his for the past two years. It just means you don't pay heed to good advice. And that amounts to washing your dirty linen in public! As a family man, I believe your wife, children and extended family are very embarrassed by your writings. If a friend cannot advise you to eschew wrongdoing, then you are not worth keeping as a friend.

Ahoofe's utter disdain is not only for people who don't share in his political persuasion. I read a piece where Ahoofe lambasted the all time revered Prof Ali Mazrui of New York University. As a professor in English, Journalism and creative writing, I appreciate your “control” over the Queen's language. But I really wonder the kind of creative writing you are spewing on American children at Nassau Community College. It's not just about expressing yourself, and telling the whole world you can write good English. The substance in what you write is what readers are interested in. And please, when you write, remember you are writing for public consumption.

As a country, we have to remember that we have a common vision; to make life more meaningful for every Ghanaian. We have common challenges. Instead of fighting ourselves along tribal, political or religious lines, let's marshal our strength against poverty, illiteracy and disease. These are our enemies. If Ahoofe can not help us in our fight against these enemies, he should hold his fire. My prayer is that someday when we vote, it won't be along tribal, religious or sectarian lines. Rather, it will be on policies that affect us; policies that can grow our economy and make Ghana a better place for everyone.

God Bless Ghana!
Iddisah Sulemana
The University of Akron, Ohio, USA
[email protected]

Iddisah Sulemana
Iddisah Sulemana, © 2009

The author has 18 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: IddisahSulemana

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