21.11.2014 Feature Article

Priorities Or Poverty—Are Northerners Truly Poor?

Priorities Or Poverty—Are Northerners Truly Poor?
LISTEN NOV 21, 2014

The north has caved a name for itself as the poorest regions in Ghana. This has become an anthem and is used to justify any incident that happens in the north. This is supported by well documented research by institutions and individuals.

The Ghana statistical service has several reports to support this claim. Poverty I vehemently think is a choice people make whether we agree or not that is the fact. I hold a different view that we the people of Northern Ghana are the poorest people; we are however without PRIORITIES. While other regions are educating their children and establishing businesses to employ people, northerners are buying AK 47 and other sophisticated weapons to kill and destroy property.

Whilst young girls are forced to marry sometimes people who qualify as their grandpa's even if they are in school, boys are still following cattle instead of going to school. The only time the state media gives front page publication about us is when we have killed someone, destroyed property or done something very bad. We the people of the north especially those of us who are residing outside the regions are responsible for the many conflicts in the north. We do contributions, at times purchase these sophisticated weapons for them instead of making money available for development.

The amount of money use in buying these weapons can establish business to create jobs for people. If for every household, one or more sophisticated weapon can be bought than it is the question of priorities. If we are actually poor as we claim to be, then where do we get money to purchase these weapons? Let us start emulating the examples of other regions that are establishing businesses and employing people. It is only when we have investment back at home that we can stop the conflicts and the so call poverty.

The few businesses established by northerners at the north are usually the first point of target anytime there is misunderstanding between the owner and others. So many prefer to either invest in other regions or stay out of business at all. The few northerners in key positions have chosen to look up to themselves-selfish interest-rather than the wellbeing of the good people. What happened at SADA and others headed by northerners are examples of how the few educated ones have missed the opportunity to get us out of poverty. Planting trees during dry season and saying the important thing was to employ people and not about the trees. As to whether the jobs would last or not is not the concern of leadership.

The sad aspect of it all is that those who indulged in such misappropriation or mismanagement have either been rewarded with other appointments of just let go. Where is our priority? The people of northern Ghana are the only people who still prefer to fight and kill instead of go to court for re-dress if we have issues with other people. There is no single month that passes the sky without someone killed or property destroyed. The sad thing is that some of these occurrences could have been addressed in the law courts as done in other regions.

I keep asking myself what we would have done to ourselves if we have the gold, diamonds, timber, cocoa, oil to mention but a few as other regions. People fight and kill others over land in the north something sold in my village (Tatale) at 500 Ghana cedis, even in Tamale one can get land between 5000-10,000 Ghana but people in other parts of the country where land is sold in billions of cedis go to court to get justice. Can't we do that as a people? Same families fight over chieftaincy just because someone wants to SIT on a SKIN. Forgive me for saying that even those who sit on golden stools don't kill themselves when they disagree as who is the right person.

The kayayaa who moves from the north to carry load to make some money and return soon forgets and within two months becomes pregnant. Yes some are forced into it for protection while others are raped. If someone truly has his or her priorities right, will they engage in sexuality or abstain, work hard get what you want and return. Some have come to the south and are now criminals whilst others have become drug addicts. People with priorities will not get themselves involved in these things but will focus on what they want.

We need to stop some of the negatives things we indulge in first before others can take us serious. We cannot be investing our monies in AK47 and expect to be rich. We cannot keep attacking the few businesses and properties put up by the few brave ones and think we can be rich. We cannot keep killing people and think we can be rich for all you know, those we have killed would have saved us from our self-inflicted poverty. The few educated ones who steal in our name cannot continue to do that and expect us to be rich. We need to change our mind-set and begin to do things differently. Whilst everybody is thinking of moving forward we still elect members of parliament who are living in the stone-age. If a parliamentarian can think and carry this belief that adulterous women be stoned to death, how do we expect to end kayayaa, force marriage, witch camps, bye-elections (marrying a late relatives wife) etc?

We justify our actions of killing, annihilations and others because we are poor but central region is also said to be poor whilst other regions have sections of their population who are also poor. Do we hear of them on daily basis of killing themselves when they disagree? Within this year, many people have been killed, property destroyed; we could have gone to court to get justice although it might delay but certainly it will come. Oh north the land of my late mother when are we going to move away from this self-inflicted challenges?

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