If I had not been sedulously following the sinister “Afede Factor” in the ongoing debate over the proposed creation of the Oti Region, out of the present Volta Region, I would have been facilely taken in by the article authored by Mr. Kufuor Appiah-Danquah titled “Stop Politicizing Oti Region. Akufo-Addo, Togbe Afede XIV Are on the Same Wavelength” (Ghanaweb.com 11/21/18). It is not clear to me what “wavelength” the aforementioned author/columnist/critic had in mind at the time of composing his article; but it is inescapably clear to me that President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Asogli State’s Chieftain called Togbe Afede, XIV, are absolutely not on the same page, whatsoever, vis-à-vis the imperative need for the creation of the Oti Region which, by the way, was constitutionally and legitimately triggered by the leaders of that part of the Northern Volta Region. Mr. Dan Botwe, the Minister in Charge of Regional Reorganization and Development, has had much to remark about the disingenuousness of Togbe Afede that does not bear repeating or rehashing here.
Suffice it to observe herein that what is also insolently and disingenuously clear from his article, largely a pathetic apology for the Asogli Chieftain, who, as clear as day and night, appears to have unwisely put his foot in his mouth, is that Togbe Afede is hell-bent on stalling the legitimate and fundamental human rights of the residents of the geographical region concerned to have the Government of Ghana become as responsive to their needs as it has done for the people of the Asogli Traditional Area, which roughly spans the Ho Municipality, which also happens to be the administrative capital of the Volta Region and has been so for decades.
Now, if Mr. Kufuor Appiah-Danquah (he scandalously and consistently misspells “Dankwah,” as in Nana Addo “Dankwa” Akufo-Addo) has any qualms with my take on the gratuitously, albeit deliberate, recalcitrant stance on the Oti Region debate of Mr. James Akpo (aka Togbe Afede), the critic may want to promptly enlighten himself by reading what Dr. Obed Asamoah, Ghana’s longest-serving Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, has to say to the patently self-serving regressive stance of the current President of the Ghana National House of Chiefs on this matter. On the latter count also, must be promptly observed that Dr. Obed Asamoah, 83 years old, who is also a native of the proposed Oti Region, is a seminal legal light in both Ghanaian jurisprudence and the 1992 Republican Constitution in ways that cannot be said of or credited to Mr. Akpo. Mr. Appiah-Danquah may also want to read what another astute and politically savvy ethnic Ewe and former Daily Graphic Editor, Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, has to say about the grotesquely gratuitous resistance of Togbe Afede over a matter that does not fundamentally concern him, other than the fact of him being a native of southern Volta Region and a former President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs.
You see, what we are talking about here inextricably has to do with logic, common sense and the fundamental and inalienable democratic right of the people of the Oti River Basin of the Volta Region to have our Central Government work more efficiently and responsively to their needs. It has absolutely nothing to do with the intimate familiarity of any individual columnist or journalist with either President Akufo-Addo or the Akyem and Asante people. Togbe Afede would have his Anlo-Ewe kinsfolk and clansmen and women determine the terms of the creation of the Oti Region. Well, he may want to study the historical processes by which part of the former Trans-Volta Togoland was incorporated into Ghana, as well as the processes by which the Greater-Accra Region was split from the Eastern Region, the former Upper Region was split from the Northern Region and the Upper Region split into the Upper-East and Upper-West regions. As well, how the former Western Asante was split from Asante Region Proper.
In other words, there is absolutely nothing fundamentally organic about the shape and boundaries of the present 10 regions of the country. New regions have always been created out of the demographic and geopolitical exigencies of the times. And the Oti Region is absolutely no exception. It is also no facile or cavalier matter of “agreeing to disagree” between Nana Akufo-Addo and Togbe Afede. This is not a personal or private matter. It is a serious question of fundamental human rights, and any attempt to reduce the same to other than what it immutably is presently, cannot be characterized any other way than such reductive argumentation’s being inexcusably absurd. And by the way, Togbe Afede is a thoroughgoing partisan politician who once served on the Atta-Mills’ Transitional Team in 2008, even while he was also a bona fide member of the National House of Chiefs, over which establishment he presently presides. Now, who is “politicizing” what here?
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York