By Hayford D. Amanku .
Looking at the dynamics of the creation of regions, as stated early on in my previous articles in both the Daily Guide and The Chronicle, it is the OTI Region that has attracted the most attention as a result of the opposition this yet-to-be created region is confronted with. For instance, three regions are to be created from the Brong Ahafo, two from the Western, three from the Northern, and only one from the Volta. If not for Chereponi in the Northern Region, there would not have been any attention about the creation of the three regions out of the Northern Region. Both the Brong Ahafo and Western regions have fully embraced the creation of more regions from their various regions with very little opposition, if there is any at all. Indeed, the citizens of these regions have seen this exercise as a developmental issue.
However, the OTI enclave is confronted with stiff opposition as a result of Ewe extremism. What we are hearing is that the Ewes are massing up to disrupt the 27th December referendum. From what we are hearing, Ewe extremism is on the rise against the creation of the OTI Region. Are the bloody events in the Volta Region, leading to our day of independence in March 1957, about to play back? Events where some Northern Ewes took to the bush, set up highly complex military camps, and trained the youth to go after those who voted for unification and kill them like flies, are re-surfacing. Some of the prominent Ewe chiefs are out there to influence and guide some of the chiefs in the OTI enclave to go against the creation of the OTI Region, where they stand to benefit enormously. Is it not astonishing, for instance, that some people from the OTI enclave would say that if Hohoe will not be part of the OTI region, then they will not be part of the OTI region as well? What do these people really want? Today, after over three scores of years, the murderous dream of some Ewes has not died out.
Those who were around during the 1956 plebiscite feeding falsehood into the minds of their children and their grandchildren and great grandchildren must be ashamed of themselves.
All that some of us are saying is that, like the May 9, 1956 plebiscite, all those who have registered should go and vote according to their conscience, and without any intimidation from anywhere.
The referendum outcome should be accepted without any grumblings, like the Ewes in May 1956 plebiscite who lost miserably to go separate in which the unification carried the day. Ewes tried very much to send a delegation to the UN to petition against the results, not for rigging, but about the fact that they insisted such a decision should be based on, at least, two-thirds majority. They were ruled out, and in December 1956, the UN voted unanimously to have British Togoland merge into Ghana on March 6, 1957. The records are there for doubting Thomases.
For once, on a political issue, both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the OTI enclave are united in the campaign for the creation of the OTI Region. I strongly believe that it is same in other regions where new regions are being carved out from the existing ones. What is it telling the people who are vehemently against the creation of the regions? Are these people not threatening the peace we want in the country which we have managed to hold onto for the past several years? Is this peace not being seriously undermined by Ewe extremists? The minds of some of our people in the OTI enclave have been so polluted that I understand some people in some traditional areas have even slaughtered a sheep and or goat to vow never to be part of yet-to-be created OTI Region in this age and civilisation. This is extremely bizarre and ridiculous development; very embarrassing to slaughter an animal and pour libation to threaten your citizens not to be part of the yet-to-be created OTI Region. I raised this issue, which is, indeed, unbelievable, but, yet, it happened somewhere in the OTI enclave and I got unjustifiably abused by a person who claimed I was peddling useless falsehood, only for this to be confirmed by the big brother of this guy. I have since lost considerable respect for this guy. Indeed, the proposed creation of the OTI Region has generated a lot of furor in the media.
Many in the Volta Region have asked why no region is being carved out of the Ashanti Region, since it is far bigger than the Volta Region. Voltarians always compare their circumstances to the Ashantis. Why is this so? Can anybody out there in the Volta Region explain this to me? A very good Ewe friend of mine called me a couple of weeks ago, and told me that can’t I see that Ashantis have planned to grab our land as soon as the OTI Region is created? So, I asked him how and why will the Ashanti grab our land at OTI, and for what? My friend could not persuade me with his assertion.
Land grabbing by others in the OTI enclave is another dimension that has been introduced into the creation of the OTI Region, as though the lands of OTI enclave belongs to others than the inhabitants. It is enough to point out that the creation of the OTI Region will be without prejudice to the property rights of anybody or body of persons.
The yearning of a people for independence cannot be suppressed forever. The furor over the OTI Region rather justifies the yearning of the inhabitants for separation. As Dr. Obed Yao Asamoah stated in his brief article or letter in both the Daily Guide and Daily Graphic, apart from the administrative separation that will result, there is no reason why economic, political and social intercourse should not continue between the peoples of the Volta Region and other regions of Ghana, as well as with the world at large. The beating of war drums over this matter is quite unfortunate and uncalled for.
Those making arguments of tribal and ethnic considerations in the creation of the OTI should know they are doing so out of ignorance, because the OTI enclave is the most ethnically diverse area in the country, made up of Guans, Akans, Kokombas, Kotokolis, Ewes, Baseres and many more tribes.
For people to talk about regions being created on ethnic grounds sounds more like the tunes sung by the anti-OTI Region campaigners. Have these people forgotten that the Ashanti Region is a very unique region in Ghana, which is made up of a single ethnic group as indigenes, with no other tribe but Ashantis, and yet have survived, and even been able to grow from strength to strength, is an example that ethnicity has no adverse effects in the creation of regions. In the Ashanti Region, no any other language is spoken apart from Ashanti Twi. I stand for correction. Again, people should know that the Brong Ahafo Region was carved out of the Ashanti Region, and so, a region was created out of the Ashanti. It is for this reason that Asanteman lost some of its paramountcies to the Brong Ahafo in 1959, but, however, continues to have traditional rights and authority over them, just as it has over some of its traditional paramountcies outside other regions, and even outside Ghana.
Like Honourable Daniel Dugan state in his opinion on the Minority walking out of the regions, the verbal war and insinuation against the people of OTI by the Ewes could certainly create a break in alliance, and result in a massive vote for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) by those in the OTI Region. If only the Ewes had toned down, and even supported the people of OTI to have their region, they could convince their northern neighbour to vote in the direction they always used to.
As it is now, with powerful chiefs from OTI coming to speak against their Ewe counterparts, and making a strong word for the new region, it is very obvious that no matter the outcome of the referendum, that area will not be the same again.
The NDC’s rejection of the creation of new regions, when it had promised in 2016 to do same when re-elected into office, is indeed amazing. Could it be that it was just another empty promise, or more of a way of stopping the NPP from carrying out its manifesto?
In fact, the NDC is not comfortable about the creation of the new regions, especially the OTI, by the NPP, simply because of the likely henchman-loyalty the NPP might receive from the newly-created regions, in terms of electoral votes, like the NDC has been receiving from the Upper East and West regions for many years – the regions created by former President J.J. Rawlings, the Founder of the NDC, as they say.
People should know that the petitions from people in the northern part of Volta Region for the creation of the OTI Region started way back in the sixties/seventies. It must be made known to such ignorant minds that while some northern Ewes were making demands on General I.K Acheampong that they wanted to secede, people in OTI had long started filing petitions for a request for their own region.
The referendum will never include all the people in the Volta Region. It is only the people who petitioned who would take part in the referendum. This has been the practice all over the world. The most recent referenda were carried out in Scotland, southern Sudan and Quebec. Even in South Africa, the decision to continue or not to continue with the apartheid form of governance was done by only white South Africans.
Many people against the creation of the OTI Region need a lot of education, being the concerned Volta citizens or some chiefs within the OTI enclave itself. It is sad for some of these chiefs in the OTI enclave to kick against their own development agenda.
Is it not amazing that those groups calling themselves as Ewe youth will have the audacity to warn all Ghanaians to lay its hands off the Volta Region? Where precisely do these groups come from in the Volta Region? Do they own the Volta Region, so to speak? I asked these questions, because for many years now it appears to many of us that Ewes from the Southern part of the Volta Region seems to be domineering and have a grip on most of the political activities in the Volta Region. They dominate the executive positions of both major political parties, the NPP and NDC, in the Volta Region. Once again, I stand to be corrected.
I only hope that these chilling warnings coming from the region will remain with them and will not go beyond their periphery.
For many years, people have generalised that most Ewes, if not all, cannot be trusted, because they say one thing but do the opposite.
Ewes should cease indoctrinating people from the OTI enclave and completely lay their hands off the OTI enclave if they have nothing positive to show or say. It is none of their business whether the yet-to-be created OTI Region becomes developed or not. We must allow those in this new region to manage and mismanage their own affairs period!
As it stands now, the OTI Region is a reality.