“When a frog decides to play cow without checking its elasticity, its intestines gets disgorged, exposing its real size.” – Swahili proverb
When we were kids, we never thought all Ayigbes are Ayigbes in the same manner that Azumah Nelson’s “all painte be painte” assails our promo space. At O’Reilly Secondary School, I met Aaron Tay, who came from Mafi-Kumasi and Agbomadzi, who hailed from Afiadenyigba. But I was in the same dormitory, too, with then 33-year-old Apati. He hailed from Kpetoe.
I also recall 37 Military Hospital’s Dr. Amegashie, who is Anlo from Volta South…And we never knew Alavanyos would perpetually fight Adaklus or Pekis would suspect the ‘royal’ Anlos. We didn’t know either that those in Hohoe also ‘suspect’ the Anlos. Yet, when it is elections, they all would conspire to sing from one hymn sheet and force that poison on Volta North.
Indeed, we also never a poor teacher Papavi, distant cousin to yours truly, would be causing trouble for other ethnic groupings in the Volta/ Oti Regions, without them gathering courage to silence the quixotic Papavi.
Again, we had thought all ‘Ewes’ or Ayigbes are like Gas (La/Teshie, Nungua, Tema and ‘Odododiodioo’ Ga Mashie). So, when a certain royal ethnic grouping decided to sneeze for the rest of the communities across the very space to catch the cold, it became imperative that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo also catch the infection.
But that’s how far we have come when one region with minimal resources decided that, regardless of what every other community thinks about them, they would always give nearly 100 percent of their votes to the NDC. So, when Kufuor gave them the Keta Sea Defence Wall, they conspired to do what infidels in Noah’s days did to his boat. Open defecation didn’t start today.
How steeped that political culture is embedded collectively in our brothers and sisters is captured, in my opinion, in what the region, particularly those in the Anlo communities, did to NPP young men from indigenous Accra sent to monitor elections in the region in 2000 and 2024. I don’t want to rehash the story of late Nii Yemoh, whose teeth were knocked out by boys he could have beaten to pulp; and another, who had a vein behind his left hand slit with a sharp knife, with Jake later asking them to give it to God…
Of all regions and constituencies, it was the only area in 2000, 2004 and 2008 that we recorded cases of human beings and Ghanaians flushing out political opponents from their communities into cemeteries or woodlots with threats of death. Indeed, it was the only region in Ghana that you wore an NPP T-shirt at the peril of your life, even from family members.
For those of us who know it, late Courage Quarshigah’s family, for instance, was under constant attack as were regional executives. It was the 2000 victory that numbed the poison that had been fashioned by the NDC in that region to sting NPP party people and sympathisers. And yet, when it came to picking a national chairman, the same NDC dumped incumbent Anlo Peter Kportuphy, even though an innocent Aflao chief would poke the President in 2021 over a project the region needed to get to heaven.
Ayigbe Boys and Girls
In school at O’Reilly or the newsroom at The Chronicle, we loved every Ayigbe boy, from Bismark Bebli to Isaac Hormenu. As a former UNC activist, I liked Gadzekpo, my Accra Poly HND Mech. friend, now living and working in the US and as a young man I have liked and loved dozens of Ayigbe Girls for their beauty and humility. But the fable about one community in Ghana acting queer and bitter when it comes to politics is a phenomenon that has to be investigated.
Of course, you can take it when a person becomes culturally arrogant because he is royal or hugely accomplished or self-made, like Tsatsu and Obed Yao Asamoah; however when the community from which these actors and people hail from create the impression that they dropped from Heaven and that their party is supreme like Hitler’s, then we also have to find out what it is in them that make them politically standoffish.
In 1979 in the Ashanti Region of all places, even the UNC managed to pick a couple of seats despite Victor Owusu’s and the PFP’s influence. Since 1992, the NDC has managed to pick, at least, three seats each parliamentary election. In the northern regions, we have had the spectrum of all our Ghanaian political parties picking seats – from independents and PNC through PFP to the NDC and CPP. Yet, the NDC says No to any other party in the Volta Region, though in Accra and Tema, a staggering majority of those living in ‘Hw3 So Mame’ completed and uncompleted homes are from the Volta Region.
Of course, the President’s reaction was a case of clear uppercut and Mike Tyson ear-biting; but what do you do to traditional leaders who speak like Sammy Gyamfi, Sammy Ampofo or Sammy Ablakwa, when they know that, during voting and voter registration exercises, they would look on for the NDC to ferry ghosts from across Togo to come in and pretend to be Ghanaian?
I was excited when the overlord of Dagbon last month launched a development initiative. I recall that the last time the Volta region did a similar launch, it was hugely covered by the press only for the initiative to fizzle into nothingness. Years on, quixotic Papavi and co would disturb the peace of the terrain, without an official cough from the array of chiefs in the usually vociferous Volta south ‘royals.’
From Kwahu into Ashanti through Bono and Ahafo up to the north, we now have a healthy competition for native sons and daughters inviting investments into their communties. And I keep lauding Richard Ofori-Atta for leading a crusade for a national transformation through global partnerships in which Ghana can lead Africa as a fulcrum. So, I thought that the chief could have initiated a relevant conversation tongue in cheek, and even pretend that they love the NPP than this poke from Aflao that would annoy even a Pope.
The Aflao chief and I know that tourism is a natural resource that the Volta Region can boast of. And, indeed, he would admit that, owing to the ineptitude of MPs and Ministers that have come in and gone in the region, little development has come to the Volta Region under NDC…just like those in Dodowa in Shai-OsuDoku, where the area lacks even an ATM point. Yet, they keep voting NDC because of what?
Did Nkrumah make a mistake by allowing Volta Region into Ghana? Perhaps, only a late Papavi can answer that. The last time I overheard an Ewe architect shouting on the phone at some young man over the reference ‘Ayigbe,’ I agreed with him that that there is no ethnic grouping in Ghana called Ayigbe. But this thing about the NDC or the Volta Region, for that matter, swearing that no party other than the NDC must govern Ghana makes the ‘Ayigbe’ tag appetising particularly when indigenous traditional, religious and business leaders from the region do nothing to change that thinking.
The last time I led a team to recruit young graduates onto a project, I realised in the middle of the session for assessment of applicants that the Ewes were about 40 per cent. I was forced to pick my pen and paper and re-hash the list to a 25. My justification for doing that…I don’t know, just like the traditional ruler didn’t know he could have made a more relevant comment over that koomini project. And yet, even the 25 quota I gave Ewes was more than satisfied the constitutional requirement.
But I also recall when a cousin of a tenant soldier in our Palm Wine home had a male visitor from home in Golokuati and my father realised that all three, comprising wife, husband and cousin, together with a 10 year old girl and six year old boy, were sleeping in one single room. ‘Unbiz’ Efo Tornye was visiting for two weeks.
“No,” my father intervened. “What is that? You can’t do that. Let him [male cousin] sleep with my sons.” The soldier tenant was relieved. He was very grateful for the gesture from another Ghanaian like him, who may want to vote differently and not ‘Voltarian’ at a future election.
The people in the Volta Region have a choice – they can take their bone-shaker NDC and Mahama or the Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP Omega. As for the Hw3 So Mame stigma, I pray the time comes when landlords see beneficiaries for what they truly are and find alternative solutions for keeping their properties safe land guards and open defecators.
P.S I miss Oboshie Sai-Cofie, Esther Ofori, Otiko Afisa Djaba and Hawa Yakubu. God give them all abundant grace. Let’s also say a prayer for Otumfuo for abundant life. We need him to continue with his peace-building and investment drive initiatives.