It is now very obvious that the strong campaign by Togbe Afede and the Northern Ewes against the creation of the Oti Region has little to do with the new region, but more to do with the realisation of that age-long dream of the establishment of an Ewe-dominated country called Western Togoland.
When German Togoland was divided in 1914 between the French and the English, the desire of the Ewes to come together under one nation began.
The hopes that Britain’s resolve to let go of Trans Volta Togoland (TVT) in 1957, paving the way for reunification were dashed by the results of the 1956 Plebiscite and the UN Resolution in December 1956 to abide by the recommendations of the Plebiscite Commissioner and merge Trans Volta Togoland with Ghana.
In 1951, an Ewe based political party, Togoland Congress, led by S.G. Anto, campaigned for the total reunion of all Ewe people within one country. It must be, however, explicitly emphasised here that not all Ewes believed in that, as expressed by Modesto Apaloo’s Anlo Youth Organisation/Association, another Ewe-based political party which wanted all Ewes under British rule to remain in Ghana.
The results of the Plebiscite also revealed that the absolute majority of the other ethnic groups in Trans Volta Togoland, and a minority of about 30.5% of Northern Ewes, never bought into the idea of reunification with French Togoland
Yet, with a minority of 42:58 in the Plebiscite, the losing Ewes in Central Volta Region never receded on their dreams and, firstly, made everything possible to disrupt the independence process, when after undergoing military training in secret camps located in the bush, they waged war on their own, killing most of those perceived to have voted for unification. They believed that the results of 1956 Plebiscite were a gross abuse to their rights of existence.
Even with Ghana intact and some development programmes and projects reaching the Volta Region, the dream of seceding to form a new country was passed down to the next generations. Gen. Acheampong was confronted with this issue during a working visit to Ho, in the Volta Region.
Tactically, but more of partisan ethnocentrism, these Ewes never confronted the Rawlings’ administrations with their desire to breakaway all through his nineteen years as a head of state of this country, and neither did they do so during the eight years of the recent National Democratic Congress (NDC) rule. If Ghana must collapse, then not under an Ewe president or an NDC government. Significantly, under the NDC’s watch in 2016, the Northern Ewes formed a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Home Study Group Foundation, to prepare the way towards independence, just in case.
No one heard about this group until in 2017, when an Akan-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration took over the reins of governance. Then all hell broke loose, as with eagerness and determination parcelled with lies that the period of the Plebiscite was over, the Northern Ewes proclaimed the date of their independence, which was to have been on May 9, 2017, sixty-one years after the Plebiscite.
It was about that time when the NPP government started rolling out the programme towards the creation of new regions as part of fulfilling campaign promises. Ghanaians must be aware that this campaign promise was also that of the NDC, which, in 2016, saw its flagbearer, ex-President Mahama, promising all Voltarians at Ho that he would create a new region out of the Volta if he was re-elected. And all of Voltarians shouted “Amen” to that.
Come 2017, lots of Ewes chiefs and opinion leaders petitioned the Nana Addo administration to include Eweland on both sides of the two regions. All was a well-planned strategy, which would have fitted well in their secession agenda.
If the Oti Region had Eweland within it, and these Ewes finally succeed in gaining their new state, they would claim the legal rights to go along with the areas within the Oti Region, which are traditional homelands of the Guans, Akans and others.
Moving one step closer to realising their dreams, they have succeeded in convincing the people of Akpafu to offer their lands and rights to them.
Calling the process of creating the Oti Region unconstitutional, and, ye,t not able to identify which article or clause the Nana Addo administration had violated, it is obvious that the Ewes, led by Togbe Afede, want to draw the sympathy of all Ghanaians to their side as they get closer to a full scale war of independence.
In fact, Togbe Afede has been heard saying he was not against the creation of the Oti Region, but only wanted the whole of Volta Region to be part of the discussions. Even though this is not an international best practice, if the Ewes come into the discussion process, they will insist that the final decision should be on their terms, and this will be the inclusion of all of Volta Region voting at the referendum. But, in 1956, they warned the Gold Coasters not to interfere in the Plebiscite, so why are they interfering in the case of the Oti Region?
That war drums are been beaten is a factual statement, but no one can say at what length these Ewes are preparing for an all-out war against the state. They have done it before and even killed their own (Ref: Togoland Crisis; page 11 of March 11, 1957 edition of the Daily Graphic).
Since this desire to secede seems to have been passed down from generation to generation, one does not know when that bloody war of independence will erupt and claim innocent lives. So to recommend a solution to the problem, Ghana should peacefully allow them to secede, and that means only the districts that voted in 1956 against unification must be allowed to go. It will mean not more than 11,900 sq. kms of land will be lost from Ghana.
The secessionists can go along with that land size, which will rank them about the 160th in the world, and which is over 15 times the size of Singapore, a very successful country. Other nations like Brunei, Qatar, Gambia, Luxemburg, Jamaica and Lebanon will all be much smaller than Western Togoland. This will be enough for them, and so they should not be greedy poaching lands which are traditionally not theirs.
Now we know the reason why the Ewes are agitating against the Oti region. It is all about poaching other peoples’ lands and claiming them as their own, then forming a new state called Western Togoland. And to those who believe Togbe Afede and his Northern Ewe secessionists have a point, please consider this – Assuming the Ashanti Region, which was the only region to have voted against Rawlings and the NDC in 1992, decided to secede because it never liked the ex-airman and his party, and in doing so, would want to drag along with it all nearby regions which voted massively for the NDC, what will be your view on this? Before you support everything these Northern Ewe secessionists are doing, just consider the above. We must not accept illegalities and lawlessness.
(Adapted from ‘Now We Know The Reasons Why’)
Hon. Daniel Dugan