This article is being re-published due to an error over missing sections.
The rejoinder by the Asogli State Council (ASC) on pages 8 and 9 of the December 3, 2018 edition of The Chronicle, in response to Mr. Ebo Quansah’s feature article, “For the attention of Togbe Afede…Volta Region cannot stand as a nation,” published in The Chronicle on November 13, 2018, looks more like a rejoinder to the Supreme Court verdict of November 28, 2018.
It was supposed to refute allegations by Ebo Quansah that Togbe Afede is one of the brains behind the secessionists working hard to form a breakaway nation to be called Western Togoland. It accused the renowned journalist of deviating from the issue of the Oti Region, and resorting to wild claims against Togbe Afede – that the chief had addressed a group of chiefs and people in the Volta Region, who were agitating for a breakaway nation, and also clandestinely lending support to secessionists.
The Asogli State Council did not offer any responses to clear Togbe Afede off the allegations made against him by Ebo Quansah – that he was leading and sponsoring the pro-Western Togoland campaigners. In fact, the Council rather avoided the issue, and this could indicate that there could be some truth in Mr. Ebo Quansah’s allegations. That rejoinder by Togbe Afede and his State Council was actually meant for the Supreme Court, and also meant to whip up the loyalty, faith and trust the Wedome Ewes in particular, and Ewes in general, have for the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV.
Togbe Afede had fought long and hard in efforts to drag all of Ewes, home and abroad, behind him, with the hope of throwing the Oti Region agendum off.
He succeeded in misleading people under and around him to believe that what the government is attempting to do was illegal and unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court of Ghana, the custodian of the Supreme Law of the Land – the 1992 Constitution – had come out on November 28, 2018 to explain in simple language that so far as Article 5 of the Constitution is concerned, there was nothing to indicate that the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Commission of Inquiry acted against the law.
Now, before we proceed, Ghanaians have been asking, over and over again, about what Togbe Afede and some of the Ewes see wrong in the creation of the new regions that indigenes in the other regions to be split, could not see. Were those Ewes more enlightened than anyone else in Ghana to be gifted with such profound knowledge of the Constitution?
After the Supreme Court gave its verdict on the matter, it is obvious that the Agbogbomefia and his people were not happy, and in order not to lose followers, they hoped to have the opportunity to respond, even if inappropriately, and, at least, say something to maintain the hope and trust people have in them on this matter. They desperately need the numbers.
They found an article posted some fifteen clear days before the verdict was read, and decided to use it in any way to express their unshaken stance on the matter of the Oti Region. It should be clearly noted here that in whatever way any sane mind looks at things, after reading the Asogli State Council’s rejoinder posted five clear days after the verdict, it is obvious that Togbe Afede and his council are inviting contempt of court unto themselves. They want to stir public displeasure against the justices of the apex court.
Paragraph 8 of the December 3, 2018 rejoinder was an attempt to disabuse our minds that Togbe Afede was misleading his people all along, when, in fact, he was, and is doing just that, as stated in the verdict of the Supreme Court.
Paragraph 9 clearly wants to state that the Supreme Court erred in coming out with that verdict, and Togbe and his council only hope to hype up public sentiments against that decision. The processes taken towards the creation of the new regions are legal, and nothing can change that, not even the Supreme Court.
Paragraph 11 hereby indicates that Togbe Afede wants to rewrite the Constitution to suit his agenda. He makes misleading statements against the Supreme Law of the Land, and hopes to be justified.
In paragraph 12, one needs to find out where Ho is located. The capital of Volta Region is not in the Oti side of the region, and so if that location was chosen, it surely satisfied the desires of the anti-Oti Region campaigners that consultations were done outside the affected area. Moreover, the Volta Regional House of Chiefs was consulted, and that means all subjects (indigenes) in all of Volta Region have, therefore, been consulted.
The Response to Paragraph 13 is that it is only a referendum which can determine how extensive the demand for a new region is. And with Paragraph 14, the Supreme Court has clearly demonstrated that Togbe Afede’s understanding of the constitutional provision for the creation of new regions is completely flawed. He knows next to nothing and needs to enrich his knowledge by getting experts to educate him on the Supreme Law.
Secretary Stephen Tetteh of the Asogli State Council must clearly understand the import of their rejoinder. It is to send a clear message to Ghanaians, and in what the French adage quoted from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s epigram goes, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, to wit, the more the change, the more it remains the same, that they will never go down in submission, and it is now evident that the minds of Togbe Afede, the Asogli State Council, and all the anti-Oti Region campaigners have not been changed by the Supreme Court. They are determined to stall the process of creating the Oti Region and are ready to make sure the creation of the new region never comes on.
What they will do, or can do, must never be underestimated. The December 3, 2018 rejoinder is to give all of Ghana a strong warning that Togbe Afede and his followers are not yet done with. Already some anti-Oti Region campaigners have decided to go it spiritual to achieve their desires. Visiting shrines, prayer camps and seeking after anything spiritual is high on their agenda at the moment. Clandestine operations should not be ruled out, especially when we hear that bolts and nuts are disappearing from the Adomi Bridge.
That there will be armed insurrections is very possible, with calls for warfare becoming rife in the Volta Region, as some people there have been proposing.
Events of blood-shedding in Trans Volta Togoland, prior to and after independence in 1957, confirm what can possibly happen during the “independence” of the Oti people.
The Asogli State Council is aware that it is attracting contempt of court upon itself with that rejoinder of December 3, 2018, and is hoping for legal action against its members, so that it could have an excuse to spark off civil unrest in the region, because nothing in the rejoinder makes sense, and everything written in the November 13, 2018 feature by Ebo Quansah could possibly be true.
In summary let us look again at the chronology of events:
November 13: An article featured in The Chronicle telling the whole world how wrong and misleading the Agbogbomefia, Togbe Afede, was in his approach towards the creation of the Oti region. No other chief above, or even on the same status, of Togbe, anywhere in the country, and most especially in regions to be carved to form new ones i.e. Western, Brong Ahafo and Northern, had challenged the constitutionality of the process, it is only Togbe Afede who is seeing things differently.
The article further went on to accuse Togbe Afede of promoting the secessionists in their age-old ambition to separate from Ghana to form Western Togoland.
November 28: Fifteen clear days after the article appeared, the Supreme Court came out to all, but say, that all those shouting and accusing the government of the unconstitutionality of the process towards creating new regions do not understand simple English, since Article 5 is so self-explanatory and needed no interpretation. If the Supreme Court attempted to interpret that provision in our Constitution, it may find no simpler words to use, but repeat verbatim what was in print in the 1992 Constitution. The petitioners had lost out and should go home and revise their English.
This was a blow to Togbe Afede and his Asogli State Council, who decided to come out of defeat looking gallant and victorious, in fact, they wanted to be gallant losers, by fire, by force.
December 3: Togbe Afede and his Asogli State Council decided to respond indirectly to the Supreme Court, and the only way out was to pick any article attacking them and reiterate what Togbe Afede has been saying all this while. The lot fell on Ebo Quansah’s feature, and Togbe Afede and his state council quickly went to press.
Strangely, they never made an attempt to mention the Supreme Court and its verdict, which politely told all anti-Oti Region campaigners that they were wrong. They chose to attack Ebo Quansah in any way, and any how possible, and in that, they could attract the offense of contempt of court, because Togbe Afede and his Asogli State Council are, in effect, attempting to rally people round to attack the justices of the Supreme Court.
If the Agbogbomefia Togbe Afede and the Asogli State Council have anything to say now about their anti-Oti feelings, they must address the Supreme Court verdict and leave people like Ebo Quansah alone.
Hon. Daniel Dugan
Ebo v Asogli State Council on Oti Region and Western Togoland (2)
How Involved is Togbe Afede and Asogli in the Secessionist Story?
I hereby again attempt to respond to what the rejoinder on pages 8 and 9 of the December 3, 2018 edition of the Ghanaian Chronicle sent by Asogli State Council (ASC) in response to Mr. Ebo Quansah’s feature article, “For the attention of Togbe Afede…Volta Region cannot stand as a nation,” published in the Ghanaian Chronicle on November 13, 2018 which it should have sought to address the issue.
It is interesting how the Asogli State Council rejoinder began. The last portion of the last sentence in paragraph 1 reads…in which the writer accused Togbe Afede XIV of a plan to cede Volta Region from Ghana. With this introduction one would sit up with the hope of reading responses to Ebo Quansah’s allegations against the Agbogbomefia, Togbe Afede. Out of the eighteen-paragraph rejoinder only seven attempted to deal with the issue with claims of no basis for the accusation which was borne out of shameless malicious intentions; implications of abuse of press freedom; deviation on issue at hand and misdirecting of attention. In fact only in the sixth and seventh paragraphs did the Asogli State Council come out to state that there was no iota of truth in the allegations that Togbe Afede was using the anti-Oti region campaign as a camouflage to attain a bigger agendum in the creating of a breakaway nation from Ghana. No strong counter evidence was however provided anywhere which gives room for more allegations against the Agbogbomefia.
The bulk of the rejoinder was on Togbe’s views on the creation of the Oti region which had already been debunked as misleading and wrongful understanding of the 1992 Constitution by the Supreme Court of Ghana on November 28, 2018.
Before Ghanaians decide whether or not Togbe Afede is leading a campaign to break away from Ghana, it will be very important to understand what this Western Togoland is all about.
It is a name coined up for a dream nation which was once the British Togoland or Trans Volta Togoland. During the 1st World War, the Germans lost Togoland to a combined force of French and British troops. Togoland was divided into two with the French taking the larger portion which run down to the coast. The other portion began from Sokode, about 16 kilometres south of Ho, right through to Pusiga on the border with Upper Volta now Burkina Faso. Despite the claims by pro-Western Togoland campaigners that the area stretched to the coast, on page 2 of a profile of Western Togoland by Homeland Study Group Foundation, it was admitted that the area had no coastline. The map of the Gold Coast will also confirm that the Pekis, Tognus and Anlo Ewes among a few were never under British Togoland.
With the independence of the Gold Coast becoming imminent and the British deciding to pack bag and baggage out of the region when this happened, there was the need to get British Togoland to either belong on its own as a nation or join up with the Gold Coast when it became Ghana.
In the 1956 Plebiscite to decide which way for the territory, all the ethnic groups in the North voted for unification with Ghana while the Ewes in the South voted against it. And from that time to date there have been growing agitation by the Ewes to break away to form a nation of their own. To halt the independence process that would make the territory join Ghana, activists declared war on people supposed to have voted for the unification in the Ewe enclave and there was bloodbath from 1956 to the first quarter of 1957 as innocent people were needlessly slaughtered by the anti-unification group.
Activists became bold enough to declare their intentions to secede and even went on to petition the then Head of State, Gen Acheampong in 1975, to be allowed to break away.
During his nineteen years as head of state, ex-President Rawlings also had his fair share of how ugly this demand could be. At some few occasions in history, Ghana and Togoland almost drew swords at each other when it became necessary for Rawlings to recall all troops on peacekeeping missions to come back home and be combat ready in case Togolese troops cross the line.
An NGO, Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) allegedly founded in 1994, by Mr. Charles Kormi Kudzodzi, had been one of the strongest groups advocating for secession from Ghana. HSGF has duly registered Western Togoland as a member of Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) where it hopes its voice would be heard internationally.
Other associated groups, the Association of Western Togoland Youth (ASWETOY) and Association of Volta Youth in the USA have been very vocal against government and the people of Ghana in matters relating to the former Trans Volta Togoland. ASWETOY for instance made it clear through its secretary George Nyakpo to Justice Brobbey in October 2017 that the Volta region is not part of Ghana to be divided. Its associate in the USA also petitioned the UN to stop Ghana dividing the Volta region.
ASWETOY in June 2018 petitioned government with copies to the UN, the AU and others to stop oil exploration in the Keta basin, claiming that that area belong to the Western Togoland, a false impression fed into the Ewe people since this Western Togoland idea came up.
In recent times the agitations by pro-Western Togoland campaigners was against the creation of the Oti region. In fact all the secessionists have a common desire and that is Oti region must not be created. It looks impossible to have someone supporting Western Togoland and still be happy about the creation of Oti region or the vice versa; pro-Western Togoland and anti-Oti region are on one and the same agenda.
Togbe Afede has been alleged by Ebo Quansah to have been supporting the secessionists and even alleged to have addressed “a relatively large crowd of sub-chiefs and subjects, calling for secession from Ghana on the basis that the Volta Region is to be divided.”
How can Togbe Afede have a role to play in all this? Firstly the talk about seceding to form Western Togoland has been on the lips of many in the Asogli State of which Togbe is the traditional head. It will be strange that he should deny ever knowing about this strong desire and ambition to secede from Ghana. I believe he must have been schooled with that idea from infancy and he believes in it. He was born almost a year after the Plebiscite so it is obvious he would only be fed on hearsays by his elders and older associates.
Now fast forward to the era in which he became an influential member of his society and a known figure in the republic, and knowing how people would like to express their desires to very important personalities, it will be very difficult for Togbe Afede to convince Ghanaians that no one has every approached him on this issue and if they surely did what were his reactions and responses to them?
And assuming it was remotely true; his position on the secession issue is not convincing enough to rule him out as not deeply involved in the secession story.
In March 2017 after three leaders of HGSF, Mr. Kormi Kodzordzi, also known as Papa Hogberdetor, 90, Devine Odonkor, 65, and Martin Asiama Agbenu, 57 had been arrested for treason, Togbe Afede came out only to plead with Ghanaians not to take the separatists serious.
It was completely unlike him when he decided not to throw fire and brimstone at the HGSF members for creating disunity in Ghana. For here we have this same Togbe Afede who became so indignant about the dealings of the NPP Chairman, Freddy Blay, for purchasing buses for his own party members, which Togbe perceived as corruption and spoke strongly against it, while welcoming the suggestion that the Office of the Special Persecutor was going to look into corruption nature of the matter.
Again his attitude towards the creation of the Oti region is so legendary as if he was leading his ethnic group to fight for their land. If the carving out of Volta region is not acceptable to him and so he hits at government, the Commission of Enquiry and all supporting Oti region, why was he so soft on those attempting to carve a piece of Ghana away? Why was he not hard on them publicly as he has been against Chairman Blay and those who want Oti region to be created?
On Sunday October 28, 2018 some journalists were almost brutally assaulted by Asogli youth at an event in Ho which was presided over by Togbe Afede. One of the would-be assailants was identified as Yevugah, a known hot-headed pro-Western Togoland campaigner, who was said to be an associate of Togbe Afede. Ghanaians are yet to hear of comments by Togbe on Yevugah’s activities.
Mr. Ebo Quansah may certainly have proof of Togbe Afede’s association with the pro-Western Togolanders but since the rejoinder by the Asogli State Council had not debunked those comments, it could be clear that it wants matters to be left alone.
What at all does Togbe Afede and the pro-Western Togolanders want the world to do for them? Here we have an ethnic group which feels it has been grossly mistreated in Ghana so want to move out and form their own country; to the people of Asogli and their sympathisers, this is okay and justifiable. Another amalgamation of ethnic groups feel they are mistreated in their region and so would want to have one of their own and in their case, Togbe Afede and his fellow Western Togolanders are claiming it is wrong, illegal and unconstitutional.
On August 28, 2013 when the Supreme Court ruled against NPP’s Election petition, then private citizen Nana Akufo-Addo gave his response in a speech that united the country and made this nation whole. On November 28, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled against the anti-Oti region campaigners. We are yet to hear a statement by Togbe Afede that would unite this country, or is he busy grossing over plans for the implementation of Plan B: the Secession of Western Togoland?
Hon. Daniel Dugan