Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, Second Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament for Nadowli/Kaleo has cautioned against politicising issues on grounds of ethnicity and religion. “Ghana is a unitary state and we cannot afford to sacrifice our lovely country on the altar of ethnicity and religion, which will end up dividing us as a people.
Mr Bagbin, who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency on his political career and recent ethnic comments, said Ghana was making progress and, therefore, reducing everything to ethnicity and religiou could undermine the gains made over the years.
The Member of Parliament also cautioned the media against wrong reportage that could create problems, especially on issues of ethnicity and religion. The MP for Nadowli/Kaleo and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament particularly cautioned the media against the alleged friction between the Ashantis and Akyems, adding that “these are not issues we want to be hearing, as they are not so healthy.”
He faulted the media for what he said was an unfortunate attempt to whip up an Akyem and Ashanti fault line, saying ‘it is not fair and reminded those who want to stir up the matter that irrespective of who a person is in a given context, the person was first and foremost a Ghanaian. “Ghana is the supreme owner of all its citizens and from the perspective of Mother Ghana, all its citizens are Ghanaians first, “not Akyems or Ashantis among others.”
“We live in a country where everybody is a relative to somebody, because even inter-tribal marriages alone have ensured that we do not truly have tribal identities and it is, therefore, sad that some people would try to whip up tribal hatred between Ashantis and Akyems,” Mr Bagbin said. The Legislator reminded that Ghana was a shining example to the world, because even though the country arguably had a high number of different ethnic groups living together, she had never experienced a civil war.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll had expressed his displeasure about how some high ups of the ruling party were trying to pitch him against the Akyems, when some executives of the ruling party paid a courtesy call on him. Following from that, the Ghanaian media went to town, reporting the issue in a way that heightened tensions between the Ashantis and the Akyems.
In swift response, President Akufo-Addo met Otumfuo in Kumasi to smoothen issues with the Asantehene. Mr Bagbin lauded President Akufo-Addo for the move, saying “it was timely and well thought out,” and also thanked Otumfuo for hosting the dialogue and his fatherly advice to government.
He admonished the media to be circumspect about reporting on supposed tribal differences in future, saying it does not serve the interest of Ghana to stoke such sentiments, if even they exist. “In Ghana, everybody counts and this is well registered in our history.
“In our fight against colonialism for instance, Fantes, Ashantis, Akyems, Gas, Ewes, Dagombas, and people from various tribes were involved. They all shirked off their tribal identities and went under the banner of Ghana. “We owe it to ourselves to keep it that way, because this oneness has served us very well.”