The state of Nima and the zongo inspiration team

Wed, 3 Jun 2015 Source: Mohammed, Inusah

I am a Nima boy, and a proud one for that matter. I started my schooling in Nima. Tafsiliyya School for Training and Education is where I started my Islamic schooling. My secular education took off in St. Cecilia's Preparatory School where I completed as the head prefect. All through my education, I have never left Nima for more than a week save the Academic year 1996/ 1997 where I schooled at Golden Child School in Nii Boi Town. Even with that, I still passed through Nima most times.

Since JHS, I have had a bone to pick with my grandfather. The bone of contention was about my nocturnal life. I always stay late into the night, seated at the various bases (what the English call "Stamping Grounds") in Nima. We still have that bone of contention although it has waned a bit now because I have lived to suffer for it.

I have sat at countless bases in Nima-Maamobi. Anyone who knows Nima should know the strange names of places within it as one of its peculiarities.

Notable among these are; Michigan, Since Morning, Callos Bridge, Kosovo, Nuriya, Mobo base, Salt Lake, Los Angeles, World Peace, Buza 11, West Side in Maamobi, Baakin Gutter, Bumper Side and the various Majmaus spread across the length and breadth of Nima-Maamobi. There are numerous others that are nameless.

In my community work life, I have worked for some organizations, worked with some, partaken in programmes organized by some and formed and joined some to help build capacity in our seemingly-accursed community. Worth mentioning are Hajj Yaro Memorial Clinic, Avert Youth Foundation, Elements of Change, Genuine Entity of True Opportunity, Zongo for Mahama, Since Morning, Ghana Muslim Academy, Forum for African Youth Alliance, Tafsas, Hopeline Institute, East Ayawaso Tertiary Students and Associates, Success Book Club, Initiative for Youth Development, One Ghana Production, Ghana Muslim Students Association etc.

I have organized guys for clean-ups, taught at various community-organized vacation classes, initiated and rolled out various community development programmes, joined my colleagues in cheering our football stars and debated immensely on various topics. I have also sat at places of iniquity in Nima. Places where the herb Cannabis sativa, locally known as “wee”, is smoked with impunity. I have Joined boys at places where the street is blocked for gambling purposes just because someone has given birth through illicit sex. I have been to sanctimonious places with the Muslim clerics, scholarly places with the schooled in our community and ungodly places with our hoodlums. I have also sat with our ladies, both those who know what they are about and those who are part of the flotsam and jetsam of the society. I narrate all this to show how deeply connected I am to issues in Nima.

In all these, I have observed one thing with my scientific eyes. There is no place on earth where the life of a young child is more threatened by his environment than Nima. It is baffling, yet serious to note, that the first thing a child may see after waking up in Nima is someone smoking in the open, or solid waste thrown behind his house, or a man in random motion overcoming his state of drunkenness. A child sees the streets blocked with the youth gambling and smoking simultaneously, and this is done nonchalantly with loud music goading them on, and sporadic fights with machetes and cutlasses, the order of the day.

I have witnessed a young man’s throat slit on the Prince Al Waleed Highway; seen youth matching to an enemy camp wielding hunting sticks and guns. As for friends who suffered from cutlass wounds, I have many. I am a living testimony to how a group that rose up to ensure sanity in the community was heckled, hooted at and frustrated, with their chairman beaten beyond repairs with stones, clubs etc. Thank Allah they re-launched their activities yesterday, May 28th, 2015 after a long silence.

This is just a scratch on the surface. There is a looming collapse of the community ahead if something is not done about it. Boys as young as below the age of 10 could be found along the street in the wee hours of the night, dancing to music and with girls of same age who are beginning to develop tomato-breasts on their chests. It is baffling to see a Nima boy going to school on a Monday morning. The lack lustre dressing alone is not enough. You will see him wearing football boots and holding a ball, dressed like a Soldier on a guerilla war path.

In recent times, i have followed our upcoming youth who want to cut their teeth in the music industry. I am a fan of Rudebwoy Ranking, D-Sheriff, Alkaboss, Multi Ross, Shiny Bwoy and X Blankson. I am even the PRO of Captan GH, who is a rising sensation. However, that does not mean we should turn our community into a Gangster’s paradise. Graffiti of various artistes’ names can be seen on virtually all the streets in Nima-Maamobi. These artistes have their well-entrenched followers who usually clash with rival camps in the full glare of the public. And when they organize their shows, weed begs for mercy from the wanton smoking of it in broad daylight. Their lyrics are inter-laced with obscenities and insults.

The problem is further compounded with the titular leaders we have (leaders only by title). There is a total disconnect between the various leaders and the community. Our chiefs only remember their status during marriage ceremonies, funerals or during festival, when they come out parading the streets like the biblical triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. The Member of Parliament appears when there are programmes that will be used as a launch pad to further augment his chances of winning the next election.

It is in this vein that I support efforts by our schooled ones to change the tides and turn the tables. I fall head over heels in love with efforts to uplift humanity, efforts to make people live lives rather than merely living to death.

I don’t know the organizers. I don’t know the initiator. I only know two or three people who are propagating its message and a few more who wear its paraphernalia, yet I am for it. I am for it squarely with the strength of a lion.

It is the Zongo Inspiration Team that seeks to inspire our next generation to rise above the inefficiencies of their time to lofty heights of their desire. The maiden edition of their wonderful effort begun on the November 29 2014, where they brought on board individuals who have distinguished themselves profoundly in their various fields of endeavours to inspire the youth in the community. It took place at the Deyoungsters International School. The next one comes off on May 30, 2015 at the Nima- Maamobi Community Library.

Let us all help change our community for the better. Let’s inspire the next generation. Let’s uplift our lost and battered image. Let’s transform our successors. Let’s join the organizers of this programme to champion the cause of humanity.

Our wise elders say, “If the frog in front falls in the pit, the others take caution." Our leaders have failed us, we speak about it. Let us not let our upcoming ones be victims of our criticisms. Let’s help make Ghana work again!

Mother Theresa drove home the point well. ““If every one of us would sweep their own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.”

Inusah Mohammed

NB: The writer is a National Service Person with the Graphic Communications Group Limited.

Columnist: Mohammed, Inusah