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The return of king Agorkorli?

Sea.png Residents of adjoining communities have suffered from havoc from the sea

Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Source: Elorm Hermann

The account about the Ewes will be incomplete without the mention of king Agorkorli. Historically, king Agorkorli was synonymous with wickedness.

When our ancestors couldn’t bear his inhumanness anymore and planned to escape, apart from the surveillance put in place to restrict them, there was something else standing between them and their freedom: a great fence that surrounded the province.

And the only way, if they wanted a taste of freedom, was through those great walls. And with much wisdom, patience, and resilience and, with one splash of water after the other against the great wall, an escape way was finally created through the walls and into freedom, our forefathers flee, walking backward.

Thus, in Ewe settings, any individual whose actions lack discretion and resulted in deepening the woes of the vulnerable or anyone who blatantly deals wickedly with people is sometimes referred to as Agorkorli.

Again, the history of these two Ewe tribes, the Anlos and the Somés, cannot be retold without the mention of a tiny village called Agavedzi. Yes, a place in Agavedzi called “dorlorme” played a pivotal role in the battles fought by our forebears to secure us not just our freedom but the soils upon which the present-day Somé Traditional Area stands.

Since my umbilical cords are buried in the soils of Agavedzi and by this, the Paramount Chief of the Somé Traditional Area is my overlord, I desire to seek a wise counsel from him concerning a rather pressing matter that coincidentally happened within the jurisdiction of his rulership.

Torgbi, I understand you are a very wise Chief with an enviable discretion adorned with a heart of compassion for the vulnerable. A poor shepherd died and was survived by two wives and a child. He was the breadwinner of the family. He has no property and left no inheritance.

Life immediately began to unleash miseries on the family he left behind. Their pleas for help were ignored. No member of the deceased’s family including his well-to-do father came to their rescue. They have lost hope and lived perpetually in fear, not knowing what their next fate would be. Years on, a wealthy man from a different town took pity on these impoverished widows and gifted them seven cows.

He left the gifts in the care of one of his servants to be shared amongst the two widows and the child.

Having heard the good news that has befallen his late son’s family, the father of the late man approached the rich man’s servant with the request that as the father of the deceased, he must be paid homage to and given a share of the gifts before the rest is shared amongst the widows and his grandson – among other things, 4 cows out of the 7, he demanded.

For whatsoever reason, some elders supported him and the servant honoured his requests. The widows and the child were left with three cows to share.

Torgbi, this is inhumane on the part of the deceased’s father, don’t you think?

Well, this sheer wickedness against these poor widows was executed within your province and your intervention is urgently required! Please what will be your judgment on this matter? What commands would you give? Would you retrieve the items from him and have this wicked man executed, ostracised or humiliated?

Wait, Torgbi, please wait. Don’t be outraged yet.

This is just an infinitesimal account of how the poor and vulnerable in the society are often being bullied by the rich and influential class. And I want to believe together with your council, you have on countless occasions helped saved many a poor and vulnerable from the deadly claws of the victimisations of the wealthy and powerful. Oh, Torgbi,wódzi nefã laa. Are you still fuming at the utter wickedness of this man and the injustice done these poor widows and child? Relax! If it were the days of old, this man would have been condemned to “Torkor atorlia,” you would agree, won’t you?

Well, it was the same rage I felt the other day as I listened to an interview between Sam Cush and Hon. Eben, the Assemblyman for the Agavedzi Electoral Area, on the Holy FM Morning Show.

The honourable member revealed that you have requested for and taken delivery of 50 bags of cement out of the relief items recently donated by Former President Mahama to the victims of the Agavedzi-Salakope-Amutinu tidal waves menace whilst the victims, have to feed on the crumbs left, one bag of cement each! My personal checks further revealed that the cements were not the only items re-donated to you.

Torgbi, is the claim by the assembly member that the said 50 bags of cements are to be used to fence a shrine to the paramountcy true? Like seriously?? Oh, it isn’t a shrine? Is it rather an “Agunu for the Soméawo,” an “Enãkpor” or a historical place? Well, would it really matter the name we call it? Would it even matter if the said cements wouldn’t be used for any of these but for something more worthwhile? Ridiculously, these places, same as your palace, are located in Agbozume, a town several kilometers away from the raging sea! Anyways…..

Respectably, Torgbi, in effect, you are putting more value on a shrine or a historical place more than the people whose properties are destroyed by the sea and to whom the relief items were donated?

People who are traumatized; people who have been rendered homeless and have no other place to run to except the opposite side of the road, the lagoon site? Alas, I was told that side of the town was given to the “Yevu ya nele Adinaa” to expand his salt mining activities, sadly.

The assembly member again revealed on the show that ever since the sea started ravaging homes and properties for several years in these villages within your territory, you have never stepped a foot there as their Paramount Chief, a claim supported by the townsfolk.

Yes, as an honourable chief, I want to believe, you have played and continue to play several key roles in secret to ensure your people have a lasting solution to this consistent mayhem brought on them by the sea.

But you see, a child needs the presence, care and emotional support of his parents in times of devastations as much as (if not more than) he needs their financial assistance.

And for such a parent to seemingly avoid both the former and the latter responsibilities for years, and suddenly shows up to feast on another’s benevolence towards his disheartened child, is not only a showmanship of sheer wickedness but lack of discretion, shame and remorse.

Torgbi, what will one bag of cement do to a hopeless victim that has lost his home, properties and land to an unrelenting sea? These people have lost their own shrines together with several gods to this same torrential sea – their gods couldn’t tame the sea and save them – their shrines succumbed to the power of the tides.

Would ‘robbing’ them of extra 50 bags of cements to fence another shrine or historical place several kilometers away from them mean anything courteous to them? Or are these gods more powerful than the ones they have lost?

Will fencing the proposed shrine, “enã kpor,” “agunu,” or historical place in Agbozume put a gag on the sea’s mouth to shun swallowing the properties, homes and lands of the people along the coast? No, the power of the gods are not the matter of contention here, your act is – have the gods sanctioned it?

Torgbui Adamah III, please, is this not heartless? Is there any difference between your actions and what the man in the earlier story I narrated did against his late son’s family? How can you decide to also rape a rape victim in order to ascertain what the rapist had ‘enjoyed’?

Yes, “enu do na vi tor megbea asi dudor o.” In other words, there is actually nothing wrong when the one who feeds a child licks his fingers at some points. The problem begins when he ends up eating more than the child.

Bring back our cements!! Please?? If there’s anything you desire to do for us or to us, do these rather – help add your voice to the call to government to come to the rescue of these coastal communities and resume the sea defence project asap – use your influence to garner more relief items from other stakeholders to your people. But first, bring back our cements! You may keep some, but 50, c’mon!!

Torgbi, I beg your pardon. What you did is not leadership. It is modern day tyranny. It is heartless. Agorkorli from whom our forefathers escaped did same, though differently, but, the effects are same as yours.

Our forebears broke down the fence in Agorkorli’s kingdom into their freedom, unfortunately, you have taken this freedom away from their descendants to build a fence – to the gods? They walked backwards through Agorkorli's walls into hope – but, this particular indiscretion you displayed, though seemingly forward-looking, has apparently led the people of these coastal communities into hopelessness.

True leadership means servitude and servanthood. It is sacrificial.

What happens to love, kindness, empathy towards the disadvantaged and the poor, sacrifice and compassion for the weak and vulnerable – timeless virtues and values that were inculcated in us by our traditions and cultures, of which you are a custodian? To do the bidding of the gods is to do the bidding of the people.

Per what I do, I work on people – I fix mindsets – I have come to the realization that, people don’t easily see their wrongs; they would defend it with their blood. I want to believe you’re not an exception to this observation. Or, would you prove me wrong? I would be more than glad to be wrong this time, at least for once.

To you and the rest of the nation, it might just be few houses or towns in your Traditional Area that is gradually being wiped away by the wild sea but to us the people of Agavedzi and other adjoining affected communities, our history and future are lost in every single wave that strikes our shores. Agavedzi-Salakope-Amutinu-Adina-etc is not just our home. It is our history, more so, our hope!!

As for the ones who granted your requests, for whatsoever reasons, I would leave them in the hands of those who voted them into office.

By this, I humbly call on the Anlo Traditional Council, the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, Media Houses and other well-meaning stakeholders to look into this matter.

The people of Agavedzi-Salakope-Amutinu and their adjoining communities have suffered a lot of havoc from the sea, may we not allow the Paramount Chief of the Somé Traditional Area to deepen their wounds and go away with it.

We call also on the government to expedite actions to save these towns from total destruction and to ensure that the other coastal communities are equally considered.

There is a Hero in you; unleash it!

Columnist: Elorm Hermann