Opinions Thu, 13 Oct 2011

‘Pata’ (Shed) System Puts Tamale On A Time Bomb

I would be grateful if you could allow me space in your esteemed newspaper to expand on the above subject.

Before 1991, when a referendum was conducted for the good people of Ghana to authenticate their readiness for multi-party democracy, Tamale was quite peaceful and experienced a lot of developmental projects in the areas of energy, road infrastructure, health and education, just to mention a few and this was between the year 1981 to 1990. Some of these projects included the extension of electricity from the national grid to Tamale in 1989. The construction and expansion of Tamale road network around the period and the establishment of Tamale Polyclinic which created a lot of employment opportunities to the youth and also opened up Tamale as the gateway to the three Northern regions.

It is also important to note that most of the youth were inspired and motivated by the life of Alhaji Hudu Yahaya, Mr. Ibrahim Baba, Mr. Gilbert Iddi and Mr Ibrahim Adams, just to mention a few. These people were government officials between 1981 and 1990. They encouraged a lot of young people to go into enterprises like agriculture, construction, education, trade and commerce. They discouraged idleness and encouraged young people to work by assisting thousands of people to acquire jobs within outside Tamale. It was not easy seeing young people gathered at places now popularly known as ‘PATA’. I was amazed during my recent trip to Tamale on 25th July, 2011; I realized a lot of changes and what struck me most was the ‘PATA’system. This means that a group of young people erecting a pavilion with NDC, NPP or CPP colours to provide shade to leverage their idleness. I tried to enquire why such a new development and was told that each pavilion has been named or branded as Aluta Boys, Gbewaa Youth, Azorka Boys, etc…

I was also told that some of the leading politicians sponsor these youth groups and this cuts across the political divide. I am highly disturbed by these developments because a member of one of the groups told me that sometimes the politicians push them into demonstration and to perpetrate violence during political seasons.

This is a clear manifestation of the behavior of people like “Red” who was allegedly firing gunshot within Tamale Township during the NPP regime. He was arrested and processed for court by the police and remanded by the trial judge but for the intervention of the NPP regional leadership at the time, he was freed. I also took notice of one peculiar between the two dominant parties in the metropolis that is NDC and NPP. Currently both regional chairmen of these parties are people who are allegedly associated with violence. My investigation reveals that the NPP Regional Chairman, Mr. Sulemana Haruna, popularly known as “Harun Beans, was alleged to have perpetrated domestic violence to the extent of using hot pressing iron on the body of his wife. The NDC Chairman, Mr. Sofo Azorka, was also alleged to have led a group of NDC youth to vandalize the regional office when the then candidate Professor Evans Atta Mills eventually settled on Mr. John Dramani Mahama as his running mate for the 2008 presidential elections. The protest was in favour of Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, the current Foreign Affairs Minister. People associated with violence, in my view, should not be allowed to take up leadership position in the political arena, especially volatile areas like Tamale.. For, they can easily influence their supporters to engage in unnecessary agitation, demonstration and violence which have been characterized by the metropolis in the recent past. These developments, if not checked, could lead to a disaster. As a concerned citizen of Tamale, I cannot end this without offering some suggestions or recommendations to address these problems. I am suggesting that “Pata” system should be eliminated. This can be done through a mutual understanding of the youth, political parties, traditional rulers, the security agencies, religious leaders and all stakeholders who are interested in absolute peace in the metropolis.

I am also suggesting to the three Members of Parliament (MPs)-Tamale South, Tamale North and Tamale Central-to bring together their ideas and resources in order to open up employment avenues for the youth. I am appealing to all political parties in the metropolis to carefully select or choose their leaders when given the opportunity.

I am therefore appealing to the likes of Alhaji Hudu Yahaya, Mr. Ibrahim Baba, Mr. Gilbert Iddi, Dr. Abdulai Salifu and Mr. Adams Ibrahim, not to relent in the efforts in assisting the youth in acquire working skills or jobs. I thank you for the space.

Abu Yussif Kpenaa A concerned Ghanaian

Columnist: Kpenaa, Abu Yussif