Anytime I hear Bob Marley’s Trench Town being played, I begin to conjure things in my mind. Things about Nima, my hometown which could be likened to Bob Marley’s Trench Town. In that song, Bob Marley told us how good music leads them out of the abject penury and depression in that part of the world.
He sang; “Up a cane river to wash my dread; upon a rock I rest my head. There I vision through the seas of oppression, don’t make my life a prison. We come from Trench town.” He further sang “They say it’s hard to speak; they feel so strong to say we are weak; But through the eyes, the love of our people, they’ve got to repay….. They say can anything good come out of Trench town? That’s what they say “we’re the underprivileged people. So they keep us in chains ………………"
So is the narrative about Nima in the country we find ourselves in. A person as high as the erstwhile President of the land once mentioned Nima first when giving examples about shanty towns and their concomitant thuggery.
Growing up in Nima, most of the conversations I have heard and had about ‘heroes’ is centered on thuggery. How Inusah went to this area and stabbed Mubarak with a knife or how Abdul Rahim dragged Sulley on the street or how a group from another base led by Alhassan came to conquer this base or how Ampalalu rode his motorbike and jumped the big Nima-Newtown drain and a whole lot of uninspiring stories. Nothing about how one used his talent positively, how one used his compassionate nature to save a life, how a Nima boy proved his intellectual worth or how the whole world was stunned by the massive display of positive potentialities by our youth.
Unfortunately, this has fed into the reportage of the mainstream media. A whole lot of negative reportage against our community. I once witnessed a minor disagreement at the Nima Roman Catholic church over the late arrival of ballot boxes at some polling centers. It was later reported as if there was a pogrom by our media outlets. This is absolutely surprising considering the fact that we have a lot of people who made giant strides in the development of our nation coming from Nima.
Earlier this year, we witnessed a Nima boy crowned the President of this land. And we captured it nicely by saying “His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa’s story is the Nima story. The Nima story of resilience. The Nima story of understanding when rejected yet coming back to be overwhelmingly accepted. The Nima story of courage in the face of extreme adversity. The Nima story of holding on even when your own inner circle move against you. The story of mental strength, fortitude and bravery. The Nima story that shows that only the omnipotent God determines our future.”
Few days ago, I had the rare opportunity of speaking to Anas Aremeyao Anas. And he told me straight “I am from Nima. I grew up in the Nima market. My grandma just died. I always visit her. You can watch the film Chameleon. My grandma is in there and you see her being filmed inside the Nima market.”
These two are giants who have become like the sun. Everyone knows about them. Interestingly we have other stars whose achievements have entrenched the position of Nima on the world map as the wonderful community of surprises. They confirm the Hausa saying that though the pot may be black, it produces the white rice. I move to scratch on the surface, of their momentous exploits.
On 17th December 2001, a Nima boy stood shoulder to shoulder with the footballing greats. He stood on the same World soccer platform with the 2001 FIFA World player of the year, Luis Figo, third highest scorer in UEFA Champions League history, Raul Gonzalez and the global iconic soccer star, David Beckham. The Nima boy from Dawu Youngsters was not competing with them for the highest award; rather he was on the platform also to take the FIFA Fair Player Award together with former Italian midfielder Paolo di Canio. He got the coveted award because of a life he saved on the field of play.
Do you remember the hay days of the Ghanaian footballer Charles Taylor? Do you remember him fainting in a league match between Accra Hearts of Oak and the now forgotten Dawu Youngsters in the 2000/2001 season after attempting a bicycle kick and missed? Do you remember the guy who showed massive sportsmanship and run to him to give him the kiss of life? Sumaila Abdallah was that life-saver.
This is what he said: “I was about to take the resultant goal-kick, when I realized that Taylor was motionless. Immediately, I administered a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to save him before the medical team arrived.” Great!
I slept in his room once and stole a picture of the plaque that hanged on the wall in his room showing his enviable award. The interview he granted to the BBC bore it all: “This award comes as a surprise and I’m proud of it. It was a different feeling being in Zurich and talking to today’s and yesterday’s stars. Raul, Figo and Beckham wanted to find out why I was being honoured and what happened when I saved an opponent’s life.”
Once upon a time, we were seated at our usual meeting grounds at AVERT Youth Foundation. Mahmoud Jajah ended his submission by informing the house of the essay contest organized by Center for International Private Enterprise. It was an international essay contest opened to all the youth in the world. He exhorted all members to try as much as possible to participate. Members as usual did not take it serious.
Later that year, the announcement came; Mahmoud Jajah submitted the first-prize winning essay in the category of Entrepreneurship and Leadership. He won a cash prize of $1000 amidst other privileges germane to it. He concluded in that essay “even though I am a student at one of the best business schools in Ghana, I learn more through my own self-study than in many of my courses. Many students have never heard about, let alone read, some of the top business and management books and they are more interested in a passing grade rather than useful knowledge.”
After that tour de force, one would think he will relent and rest on his oars especially when it is a rare feat in the nation at large. He never relented. He put himself up for subsequent challenges and grabbed a bigger one last year. In his own words, he stated “In 2016, the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program for Young African Entrepreneurs selected me as one of young African entrepreneurs. For my prize, I was awarded a $5000 cash prize, and my startup, Amanah Energy will be supported by the Tony Elumelu Foundation to implement the Ghana Solar for Schools Project starting from this year.” A big one has been caught in his net. This is a feat we are really proud about. It is a feat worth-celebrating.
Abdul Salam Mohammed Daaru
In the latter part of the year 2016, the International Research and Exchanges Board Inc (US) called for applications for the Community Solutions Programme. The Community Solutions Program is a professional development program for the best and brightest global community leaders working in transparency and accountability, tolerance and conflict resolution, environmental issues, and women and gender issues. Leaders participate in a four month US fellowship with a local nonprofit organization or government agency, structured virtual learning and networking via the Online Community Leadership Institute, and the design and implementation of follow-on projects in their home countries.
Earlier last year, a Nima boy applied for the programme and got selected for the programme. In his case, he was hosted by the city of Akron in Ohio, USA.
Abdul Salaam Mohammed Daaru is a Senior Nursing officer at the National Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burns Center at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, an International Peace Activist, Director and lead Researcher of PPF Research and Peace Institute and an Entrepreneur. He really moved the city of Akon to higher heights with his commanding presence there. Spending four months in that part of the world, he worked directly with Global Ties Akron, an international organization in Akron-Northeast Ohio with 40 years track record in leadership and international diplomacy. As a Guest Speaker in top universities in the city of Ohio, delivered presentations on effective strategies for building peace, the case study of Ghana, and also fighting global Terrorism with audiences that included professors, students, top security experts, homeland security officials.
His impressive exploits in that part of the world left an indelible mark of his wonderful self in the state of Ohio in the US. As a result of that the Akron-Ghana partnership has been established; which will see business delegates from Akron coming to the country for interactions that will inure to the benefit of both outfits. In all, Abdul Salaam Daaru was an Ambassador for Ghana.
On the streets of Accra nowadays, if you observe keenly, you will a particular motorbike with a green carriage with an inscription African Express Deliveries. I keep seeing that branded motorbike on the busy streets in my everyday ‘runnings’. I see it on the Obasanjo road, Kinbu, Ring-road, Dzorwulu, East-Legon Jamrock, Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, Nima Highway roads etc.
Apparently running errands (commercially) for companies and individuals. The baffling aspect of this is the CEO of African Express Deliveries, Nazir Iddris. That a former National Union of Ghana Students will opt out for Okada business right after graduating with a degree in Chemistry confirms the tenacious spirit of the Nima boy. But this is a story that will be told on a later time.
Nazir Iddris grew his company from the scratch. From nothing. And today, it has gained recognition from some of the relevant men in this country. He led this company to be part of the four start-up businesses to win the United Nations African Development Fund grant in a competition involving forty-five startups in West Africa. Not relenting on his oars, he also led the company to another gigantic stride of being one of the five tier-one award winners of the tier-one award winners of Engine, a project implemented by TechoServe with funding from the UK Government through the Department for International Development. This blog will give you more about him in the near future and thus bring out the hidden success he wants to hide.
Kailani Ibrahim Kpa
I call him, the Kpa man. With his signature ‘Chikin idon su’ (finger in their eyes). He is a sensation to be with. He also reached the world stage and conquered the world is his own style and fashion.
In the 2014 World cup, his appearance and apparel on screen when the Black Stars played caused a lot of mouths to run and tongues to wag. He was mistaken for a fetish priest because of his outlandish and unique dressing of an ” ancient “fugu” designed for war leaders with huge beads on his neck, a hat and a powdered face to match.”
In September, 2016, he flew over to Brazil, the nation that hosted the 2014 World cup to be honored as one of the greatest footballs fans of that mundial. He was voted third best sports fan for the 2014 World cup. This he got amidst other recognition from World soccer magazines and interview from International Media Houses. An impressive feat for the young, talented man. A great fan he is.
There are more out there doing great and positive things. This blog will keep you posted.
Kudos to all here!
By: Inusah Mohammed
NB: The Writer is a Youth-Activist and a Student of Knowledge.