Northern Conflict Sentiments

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2018 by kola

Opinion: Of conflict over guinea fowls and pigs; media should step up their game.

By: Suraya Iddrisu Kpabia

This is no time to say “I don’t even know where to begin from”. No. I sure do know where to begin. And I do so by letting everyone know that very soon, if care is not taken, some half-baked, self-seeking media practitioners are going to turn this country upside down with their inconsiderate and insubordinate reportage of disdain targeted at certain groups for whatever biases.

“One dead in Dagomba-Konkonba clash over pig”.

Really? I could bet with all the rice in China that the caption would have read differently if the incident had happened in the South. What happened to a better caption that would still have communicated the message without reducing Northerners to people who fight over anything including pigs?

“N/R: Chief Imam confirmed dead in a bloody clash in Yendi over a pig”.

Wow! ‘What business has a Chief Imam with a pig, this is a must read’! This and others would be people’s reaction when they sight the news item, and then what?

Were we all not in this country when Fulanis were castigated because of their cattle in Agogo? Why did we not see news headlines such as “Ashantis and Fulanis in turmoil over cow”?

We were still here when there were ‘nice, nice’ reports on disagreements between the Asantehene and Okyehene.

Still, we were here in Ghana when there was a Chieftaincy feud among some Ga chiefs. There was also the Nkonya-Alavanyo conflict which persisted for decades, and yet people from these areas were not victimized or dehumanized for it. The list could go on and on. So why is our own always different?
Dear Ghanaian Journalists, it is not cool to paint any picture about anybody or their ethnic group and walk away with it. Northerners are just like any other person. If we mean to tag ethnic groups who have been warsome , it is definitely not Dagombas or Northerners exclusively as is always pictured, but we would probably talk about it some other time.

Let me state here unequivocally that almost every community or ethnic group in Ghana has suffered violent conflicts relating to ethnic disputes, political tension and conflicts that have occurred between/among supporters of different political parties, religious clashes between different groups and violence resulting from industrial disputes, etc. but the reportage has always differed depending on which ethnic group is involved or what religion etc. Is it the proverbial “four legs good and two legs bad” scenario that is working here? It better not be.

Media practitioners, shall we talk about the root causes of conflicts and suggest ways of solving them rather than the determination to paint others black because they belong to the supposed minority and so have no voices, so anything could be put out there about them?

Just in case we have forgotten, the genocide in Rwanda which happened in the early 90s and claimed many lives through mass manslaughter was sparked by “elites”, reportedly triggered through a provocation on radio.

However, further reading suggests that there is more to it than just the radio provocation. If the supposed provocation on radio is anything to go by, I think the Ghanaian media is towing along the same lane.

Need I remind us of what seeds the genocide bore? Here we go; the Rwandan genocide had lasting and profound effects on the country and its neighbors. The persuasive use of rape as a weapon of war caused a spike in HIV infections, widowed mothers and orphaned children, destruction of infrastructure and severe depopulation, which crippled the Rwanda, as people fled for their precious lives. We do not want this in Ghana, do we?

It is high time Ghanaian media got redefined and journos retrained on captioning, taking into consideration the sentiments of us “the minority” who are always at the receiving end.

Hello! Not everyone reads details from news portals. For a lot of people, the caption is enough for a comment.

A word to the wise…
Now, to the substantive matter, Konkonba-Nanumba/Dagomba war did not come about merely because of a guinea fowl, it couldn’t have been because of a pig either. Though there are traces of a guinea fowl in the matter, it was basically a trade dispute which could have been reported as such.

But no, people from the north are too hungry and so they will fight over food; pigs.

I am not about to defend whether Dagombas eat pork or not. In fact, I do not have that energy but reading comments under the captions of news items I have seen regarding this matter made me so emotional and disappointed at the same time.

I shed a tear reading comments like “these people too, they will never change, first it was a guinea fowl, and now a pig, how do they even think?”

Another read: I know Dr. Kwame Nkrumah brought Voltarians to Ghana, but who at all brought Northerners too? Well, I did not weep merely because of the retarded thinking of the people who made these comments, I wept because of the stigma I bear every day when I introduce myself as a Dagomba and people go like “you don’t look like one”.

Seriously? How does a Dagomba look? I personally take serious exception to such statements. It is absolutely no praise. It is an insult to my clan. For anybody to think that I am “too refined” to be Dagomba is demeaning, and I look forward to punching a face in the near future for such derogatory remarks.
Fellow Dagombas/Northerners, have we not learned enough lessons to want to turn the other cheek to be slapped twice when someone even slaps us? It is my mantra that “if I know your problem, then you have no problem”. It is quite clear that we are going to be in the news for the wrong reasons for a long time. No. Not for entirely being violent over trivial matters like guinea fowls and pigs, but for the bad captioning some media reportage has sworn to give us.

If this issue of captioning is not deliberate, why did we not see headlines like “Ashantis and Fulanis clash over cattle?” Of course, the answer is clear, they are not a “minority” ethnic group, and, stuff cannot just be said about them.
Media, for the umpteenth time, it is high time you stepped up your game. News reportage is not about the caption but about the content and the truth. Na caption we go chop?

Until most of you stop going by the status-quo of putting up those silly and misleading captions in order to get your stories patronized…

Soya yi bi gong, tini nya tab’kpaya.

My name is Suraya Iddrisu Kpabia and I am a dignified Dagomba lady who believes that Northerners have been subjected to enough stigma through being put in the news for the wrong reasons. Enough is enough.

susukpabia68@gmail.com

If you’re reading this, it is beholding on you to study about the north and its people so that you form your own opinions about it.

Like I always say It begins with YOU!

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Child Education

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2018 by kola

Education is a key component of growth in children and just when I thought I knew a lot on what kind of education children needed, attending a training program organized by the Savanna International Academy this week has made me realize that I didn’t even know a hundredth of how to teach children and how children are supposed to learn in this global world.

Wow! I’m blown away by the wealth of learning available from child educators all over the world running various systems of education depending on the environments that they are in. We always hear of various educational systems that exist in different parts of the world and now I don’t wonder why some of our elected leaders prefer that their children go into the systems that exist outside of the country and not the traditional learning systems as we have on the ground.

The Ghana Education systems have been put in place to educate Ghanaian children and even with that, this training has made me realize the lapses and several loopholes in the system that we went through and have become who we are today. I realize that the people doing well who have gone through the old systems have had to learn ‘the hard way’ and take more lessons than usual and to be where we are today.

However new learning methods are coming up every day that are more skills and problem based at the primary level instead of what most of us learnt at the tertiary level. Most of my generation are now complaining of the lack of very essential skills such as analytical and research skills that the system only allowed us to pick up at the tertiary and post tertiary level and are making sure that their children pick them up at an early stage so they can compete effectively with global children everywhere.

This is the problem with Africa. Our traditional educational system needs a hard reboot.

There are several challenges even in the disparity of learning in different areas. Per my experience traveling around Ghana , sometimes I wonder if all government schools in the different regions in the country write the same exam and it’s both fascinating and interesting how some students excel from more deprived districts.

We all know the problem but what are we doing about it? Waiting for the government to enact policies to revamp the educational system or just switching to the more globalized educational systems of the international schools that are more expensive but worth it? Or in our own small way we contribute to children learning by educating not only relatives but every child we meet in our daily lives because we should know that learning is not only limited to the classroom and children learn more even by doing than by reading, though reading creates the awareness and opens up the world to them.

Support a reading clinic or a children’s cause near or around you and get involved in childhood development of every child you meet. We always say children are the future and that means that they are not only your future but the future of the nation and that of Africa and the world.

Contact me and let’s do this together.

Supporting a child is investing in your own future.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!!

I FEEL LIKE KILLING MYSELF

Posted in Uncategorized on July 3, 2018 by kola

Mental health is so important and we need to take charge of our own mental health.

Through my periscope

​I tried not to comment about the trending story of the young girl who committed suicide on her university campus, but i must.

In 2013, i started having difficulty in breathing. I was always gasping for air and for almost a month, my mum thought i was under a spiritual attack (i thought so too). I had gone through a terrible broken heart (silly right). I became conscious of my breathing and i felt the moment i lost count of my breadth I’ll die.

Help!!! Am dying

I even wished for death at the time and i remember I could hear whispers in my ear saying “If you die now, you’ll go to heaven so just die (creepy right)???.

I went to the hospital several times and i did everything from ECG test to heart Xrays etc… At a point I was even said to have an abnormal heart (Whatever…

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Politics President

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2018 by kola

I have intentionally avoided the political landscape in Ghana because of several factors especially the fact that our country is polarized into black and red, NPP and NDC and most of the masses cannot see past that. But isn’t it interesting that the politicians who are on both divides just sit on talk shows and make plenty noise and then go back into their caucuses and hook and think how best to milk the nation?

It is for such profound statements that I don’t veer into the political sphere. I cannot write satire like Nana Awere Damoah or wax lyrical like Hon Rodney Nkrumah or delve into the thin line between satire and slander like Kwame A Plus but will say it as it is and get it off my chest and this is usually bound to get me into trouble especially since I’m an ardent neutral.

In this political landscape, when you seem to be talking for one side the other side tends to give you the eye and the ‘winning side’ seems to hail you. But turn on them and the tables turn again. Well, I know Franklin Cudjoe and his IMANI team know exactly what I’m talking about and I admire how they remain unfazed in their quest to do what they do despite the vitriol thrown at them from everywhere.

Funnily enough I usually preamble my comments with the statement that I’m being neutral and looking at the issues from an apolitical point of view.

Oh! Reminds me of a discussion I had in the office with regards to a satire post on social media about the former president John Mahama winning an award for ‘his incompetence’ in government. I tried to explain to the person who saw the post that it was only satire and what satire meant only to almost be drowned in a deluge of saliva in angry protest and rather called an ignorant sod. That was the last time I attempted to be part of any discussion vaguely bothering on politics in that particular setting.

Unfortunately for me I find myself in a setting where being political will not augur well for me and my livelihood otherwise.

For a long time, especially after relocating up north I have avoided listening to “political breakfasts” all over the country as served by several radio stations particularly Peace FM and a host of others and also until recently I didn’t have a television set so that also kept me away though I am pretty aware of what goes on because there is no way you can avoid hearing about the political landscape in Ghana and anywhere else especially after the ‘three old men’ took over the reins of running their countries.

Donald Trump of USA, Buhari of Nigeria and Nana Addo of Ghana are the three old men and you will agree with me that not a single day goes by without one news item or the other referring to usually two out of the three in the news and we all know who has the constant Trump card especially with his shenanigans with the Koreans and his itchy tweeting fingers. That one is a whole study on politics.

Anyways events in the world come and go and in Ghana for example we all know the lifespan of a news item is maximum 15 days and it will die away and in the words of former president Mahama ‘Ghanaians have a short memory’. Simple.

However I find one thing pretty worrying about African politics in relation to for example the American democracy. Unlike the Yankee system where the political colours come out every four years for a few months and everybody else goes back to work in the interest of the country, African politics lives in us and we rather concentrate on partisan politics and political expediency rather than the greater good of the nation. Political leaders advocate for policies and strategies that will keep them in power as against what is the greater good for the people they were elected to serve.

It is such a shame that this has persisted since time immemorial and the growing sycophancy that partisan supporters seem to attach to defend this is pretty astounding and thus the reason why some of us neutrals just stay away and will remain in our corners and just do what we can in our own way to make the system bearable.

Political expediency rules over the greater good and this is so because the people to demand for the greater good are the very ones blindly supporting this political expediency.
It is also very important that we separate the presidency from the personality of the president. It is not a secret that some Americans don’t like Donald Trump as a person but then he happens to be the President of the USA and the leader of the free world and so these Americans accord him that respect. No American will just go stand anywhere and talk shit about the presidency though they will cast aspersions on the man who is the president. There is a difference. What this fosters is that it allows the president to play his role as the leader of the people and take decisions in their interest especially with appointments. When there is a committee that recommends that the president fires a presidential appointee appointed by a former president, it wouldn’t be the man in the presidency that is doing the firing but the president as an official duty that only him can do.

How difficult is this to understand.

This is different in Africa and since the opposing president made the appointment, I wonder if that ex-president will be the one to do the firing whilst there is a sitting president. Such a situation is going to explode in Ghana in the next few days largely due to the polarization of our political sphere into a bi partisan state and aspersions being cast in the same sycophantic matter that characterises our politics. As usual the ignoramuses are the ones who will be the loudest and well, you debate them at the peril of your own sanity.

Some of us have stayed away from it all and are not going to start now or ever.

Inasmuch as it is against everything we believe in we will continue to sit in the bleachers and watch it all unfold and predictably as usual we will time it with a shelf life of 15 days.

Ghana belongs to all of us no matter what political divide you belong to. Let us demand accountability from the people we put in place to represent us all and stop giving them the power to manipulate us for their whimsical activities. The real power lies with the plebiscite if only they will recognize it.

The power is yours.

It begins with YOU!

40 Plus

Posted in Uncategorized on June 4, 2018 by kola

Inasmuch as I don’t want this article to be an upgrade of an earlier article I wrote about My Life At 40, I still cant help that writing the article in my head has a lot of similarities but let’s see how this will turn out in the end.

So yeah you guessed right and thankfully its another milestone. Yeah! My birth date is today and as usual I’m on a social media blackout and I wonder if WordPress will count as a social media site. I do this every year so I get to appreciate better the people around me who have helped get me to where I am now. After the blackout I get back to a myriad of messages I have to respond to and a whole lot of well wishes.

Thank God for friends because I always thank God for the amazing crop of friends that are my real wealth and I don’t take even one of them for granted.

Furthermore the blackout also gives me time to be reflective on where my life is headed and also quiet time with God and nature to rekindle the bond and thank God Almighty for His grace and mercy so far.

Oluwa osheey!!!

Last time I wrote about the growing trends amongst my age mates noticeably a bald head, greying beards and a pot belly and swore I won’t join the fray. I’m sorry to disappoint that I haven’t joined the fray though I have almost dabbled in it by growing a slight pot belly, which I’m working on killing, the bald head is a package deal and the grey beard too I’m trying but my beard never seems to grow fast enough before my weekly head shave.

It’s interesting how a lot of people despite complaining about the economy are still growing by the day and still throwing lavish parties to cater for the tastes and whims of party revelers who’d just turn their backs and gossip about you (just some though). Those people will hear their “gwee” in via morning (in Paapaa’s voice)

It’s also sad that good causes are not really encouraged but men will rather put money in asses than invest in assets.

What a pity (in Funny Face voice)

At 40 I was happy with my life mostly but still lacked stuff that made me complete. Don’t ask me what

I was living for others and I was happy just being me.

But at times it hit me that I wasn’t complete and when I compared myself to my colleagues and see how I lagged behind in material things but I was happy. Family had my back and I was on top of my game in almost every aspect.

Not to say I’m not happy now but in pursuit of happiness and to be at par I realized I’ve lost some of the self worth I had. It’s not too visible but yes I’ve become more boring and less friendly ignoring people and being offhandish seemingly to people who I used to care about. What was at first a reconciliatory nature has become a callous attitude to cutting people off. Keep asking myself why it’s so and if its an attribute to growing older.

So when I told a couple of boys I play basketball with my age they screamed and it felt pretty good. It reiterated my maxim that you’re as old as you feel and sometimes I feel like a 30 year old until my knees and ankles, even wrists remind me of the wear and tear they’ve undergone.

Life begins at 40 so I guess I’d still sit at the feet of people like Mr MY and his friends at the Alhasan Hotel and listen to their life experiences and learn pretty quickly via that shortcut than waiting for stuff to happen to me that I don’t understand.

Glory to God for a deep sense of understanding and insight into events and I reply that I continue to teach the Wong ones I mentor what it takes to be a citizen of the world.

We are still learning because learning is infinite and wisdom cannot operate without knowledge.

What do I want for my birthday? What I really want is so steamy and raunchy I cant post it in this article but I know where I wanna be which is to be amongst less privileged children just getting pampered and being one of them. Who will change my diaper for me and if I don’t get anybody I just keep crying until I get a diaper change.

Whoever gave us adulthood should come for their thing and I’m relocating to Never Land. I know a sweet Melody who will follow me there with others.

Well time to catch some sleep and I wont make any crazy wishes lest I wake up and they come true so lemme just stick to my going to bed in my birthday suit and blowing hot air on the applied powder in places where the sun don’t shine.

Take it from someone who’s been there and done plenty, the best gift you can give yourself on any day is to just be yourself..

Like I always keep saying it begins with YOU!!

Capital Callousness

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2018 by kola

Today we lost a vibrant young man to death through what can best be described as the callousness of his neighbor. A promising young life was snuffed out because of a single callous action.

Why would you put on the electricity on your fence wall when your neighbor is on the pole with an aluminium ladder against your wall in broad daylight.

What is the capital turning into?

Okay so yesterday on my bus heading into Accra from Tamale I bought lollipop for every child on the bus, as per personal tradition, and I had two left in my pocket today.

Whilst riding the trotro this cute child on her mama’s back wont stop staring at me so we were making faces at each other and laughing.

Then I remembered I have lollipop in my pocket so I took one out and instead of giving directly to child tapped mother on shoulder and said oh lovely child give this to her..

Chale! Mother almost jumped out of her skin and almost on the verge of insult but I think she saw I was married and just put lollipop in per bag.

Then she started there and then to sing Gospel

At this time I was livid so I said excuse me, took her hand and started “father in the name of Jesus I commit this mother and child into yo hand…”

Said a prayer for both of them and sat back. Somehow she was relieved but still tense.

OK my point. This other guy that put on his electric fence what was his motive or was he afraid of being burgled in broad daylight?

The capital has become some way whereby TRUST is pretty much taking away the very humanity we have for each other

Each time I’m in the capital I notice people are becoming more impatient in life than ever before and more frustrated.

What the heck is going on where its even worse amongst Christians than other religions and we rather tend to gravitate to people who pretend to have our interests at heart but really are looking for the best ways to screw you over…

Gradually some of us will just stay where we are welcome and comfy and that for sure ain’t the capital…

Well what do I know..

I’m even too worked up to string my thoughts on straight.

It always begins with YOU!!

Mental Power

Posted in Uncategorized on May 5, 2018 by kola

So this morning in a social group somebody asked if there was any power behind thinking or mental thoughts and how this affected our human psyche. I know too well the power of thinking and thats why I always say the mind is a powerful tool.

Now here is my story of the power of thought and invariably mindset

During a sports festival one time I sprained my ankle and had a tough match two days later. Doctors recommended POP and said couldn’t play that particular match. Recommended complete resting of the leg. No way I could play any sport for at least a month.

When I told coach to reserve my jersey he was not surprised because he knew my mental fortitude when it comes to sports. Once I’d made my mind I’d play I will.

On the day of the game didn’t do anything just limped to training and sat down as the team did drills and was part of the strategy just in case.

Game time and all of a sudden the pain was so unbearable I couldn’t even get outta bed but I had friends carry me to the court after helping me put on my jersey.

There I sat on the team bench wishing I was on the court playing but couldn’t play the first set in the ongoing volleyball match and we lost first two sets in a best of 5 game.

Thats when my mind set in. I now visibly started talking to myself and at a point coach said he saw me walk away and go talk to my aching foot like a person. When he asked if I was ready to play I couldn’t even walk onto the court but had to be carried on to the court. Me and my leg had a conversation right there in front of the crowd of fans..

I told my foot we are gonna defy the doctors and we were gonna do this and have fun winning the game.

My mind was at work.

An hour and half later we won three straight sets and I woke up in the hospital. Apparently I had passed out when the adrenaline rush wore off.

But I learnt an unforgettable lesson to confirm what I have always known..

Once you can think it..
Once you can convince yo self..
Once you know you can do it,
If you put YOUR MIND to it..
Think it..
Conceive it …

It can be done!

It always begins with YOU!!