‘’Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them’’ – Albert Einstein. So, who create problems? Fools. We have had neither intellectuals nor geniuses in political power, hence our hopeless state.
One man saw what Accra would become like if Nkrumah’s drive to make Ga land “no mans’ land” was not stopped. He saw a problem and tried to prevent it but mediocre minds violently locked him up. His name was Atɔ Kwashi. Today, he is in the morgue while soldiers brutalize Gamei on their own land.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.” Albert Einstein.
Until independence, Ga chiefs and heads of families were not selling land just like that. Land was communally owned and was shared among family members and good neighbours who had become part of the extended family through Ablekuma. My grandmother had blocks of land in Maamobi and Kotobaabi from clan stock.
The compulsory acquisition of Ga land by Nkrumah was what started the rampant sale of Ga land. Why would they not when somebody was hiding behind the state to still their land. The whole of Greater Accra is just 1.36% of Ghana and Accra is less than 0.5%. How could anyone think of building Ghana on this land?
The Great spirit, Atɔ Kwashi expressed his opinion courageously and honestly in order to prevent the mess in Accra today. What did the incompetent mediocre minds do? Lock him up for 8years without trial. He came out of detention stronger and lived another 55years to the glory of God. Amen.
Let me tell you something.
It was in early December 2010, I had a call from the late Dr. Darkufio Dodoo, a cardiologist in New York. He wanted me to contact one Nii Amarkai, the Asere Jaasetse. Why? Atta Mills had told him he was going to resettle Sodom & Gomorrah in Ajenkotoku, an Asere village in Ga rural. So, he wanted me to organize my Ga colleagues to go and buy as many acres of land as possible to block Mill’s plan.
Dr. Dodoo was a good Ghanaian and an unflappable Ganyo. I asked him what he told Atta Mills. He said, he did not tell him anything. He rather took the plan he had just told me. I retorted immediately, ‘’Onukpa, you got it wrong this time. You should have told Mills, he was free to take them to Fante. Ga shikpɔŋ jeee government nɔ ni.’’
If some people decided to wage war over guinea fowl, why do you want to reward with farm land of Gamɛi? What do you want the farmers and their families to eat? Darkufio, immediately said, ‘’hm, I did not think about it this way. This is what Atɔ talked about decades ago, but wait, its more than land.
Mills and the whole political establishment was/is scared of Northerners. I am not scared of any Ghanaian group. I speak the truth to anyone and any group.
Mills was scared of Northern votes but not worried about Ga vote. If he believed such a stupid move would come with political pain, he would not dream it. Gamɛi efee amɛ he buului. 36year old illiterate Atɔ was detained because he protested against this kind of madness. My 72year old cardiologist is condoning this nonsense. Darkufio may he RIP said, ‘’Mbra, oha mi he ejɔ, sani wo stop the move.’’
Atɔ’s only error was that he did not add, ‘’jeee government nɔ ni’’ to the slogan so that everybody without a doubt would know that his target was not other Ghanaians but a pilfering government. His mediocre detractors tried to portray him as a tribalist, but how can someone be a tribalist just because he asked his land is treated the same way as Nzema, Ayigbe, Akyem, Asante or Dagomba land?
Gamɛi ashikpɔŋ, Gamɛi anɔ ni, jeee government nɔ ni – Ga land is for Gas, not for any government.
Nkrumah took Osu land, used Osu Tetteh Quarshie cocoa money to start an estate and called it Nyaniba. How? Not even Stalin or Mao did commit such an abomination. If there was one woman who deserved anything to be named after in Accra, it was Dedei Ashikishan, who funded the CPP, fed and clothed Nkrumah on top. Gamɛi looked on sheepishly because Goebel Adamafio told them Nkrumah was an infallible Messiah. Buului asane.
Now the juicier part. Lend me your ears. Arthur Lewis on Nkrumah one-city development nonsense.
However, Lewis’s advisory work there was far from smooth sailing. He recalled an interesting dialogue with Nkrumah that took place in his sojourn at the government office of Ghana. When a draft of Ghana’s Development Plan was completed, Nkrumah told Lewis that he was planning to allocate 50% of the budget to the capital, Accra, which had only 5% of the total population of Ghana. According to Lewis’s account, Nkrumah said, “Why not? When you think of England, you think of London; when you think of France you think of Paris; when you think of Russia, you think of Moscow.” Lewis replied, “No, sir. When I think of England, I do not think of London because I live in Manchester, and this is also why I know that capital cities exploit the rest of the country” (Lewis 1967, p. 16). Given the fact that Manchester was the place where the 1945 Pan-African Congress that strongly featured the presence of Nkrumah was held, it is evident that the above remark of Lewis was downright sarcastic.
This discussion occurred between August 1957 and October 1958 when Arthur was in Ghana. He ran away. He could not last the 24month contract paid fully for by the UN to help Ghana transit from a colonial economy to a modern one. Below is what he wrote to a friend.
His most prominent post was as an adviser to Ghana’s prime minister, Kwame Nkrumah, for a two-year stint shortly after Ghana gained its independence in 1957. Lewis found his prudent plans overruled as factional conflicts began to come to the fore in Ghana, and he finally resigned, writing to a friend (as quoted by Tignor) that “I have taken nearly as much as I can stand. In the first place, the Prime Minister has messed up the Development Plan by insisting on spending lavishly on unnecessary projects, mostly in Accra [Ghana’s capital], and by pushing up the total to an unrealistic level.’’
Atɔ Kwashi hit the streets of Accra on 7th July 1957, a year after on 18th July 1958, Nkrumah’s PDA arrived and the 1st 42 victims were Atɔ and his GSK members. Atɔ’s activism overlapped with 11 of the 14 months Arthur worked in Ghana. Atɔ was vigorously campaigning against the one-city development, Ga=Ghana Nkrumah nonsense just before Arthur came. Did Arthur learn from Atɔ?
Atɔ said Ga=Ghana would lead to massive internal migration that would collapse Accra and its indigenes. That was the meaning of the unpolished ‘’Gbɔi ngbe wɔ’’ slogan. Arthur said devoting 50% of national budget to a city of 5% population was insane. Logically, 50% of the population would move to Accra. The Messiah could neither comprehend the logic nor the sarcastic repudiation. Both Atɔ and Arthur was a problem and tried to prevent it. Atɔ was jailed and Arthur fled. They were both geniuses.
If Nkrumah knew anything about the Africa he claimed to be its redeemer, he would have known that when you think of Ga Kingdom, you would not think of only Ga Mashi but La, Nungua, Tema and Obutu too; and when you think of Asante, you would not think of only Kumasi but Mampong, Jwaben, Bekwai and Offinso as well. Both Ga at Ayawaso and Asante started as Pentapolis.
Bi nilelɔ lɛ fɔ afɔɔ– a wise child (genius) is born. One may say the two slogans were unrefined but the illiterate Atɔ spoke good socioeconomic and developmental policies that the mediocre minds still do not understand. The reality of Accra in 2021 however overwhelmingly vindicates him. Now, may the fools allow the intellectuals to solve the problems their predecessors created?
Great spirit and genius Atɔ Kwashi yaa wɔ ojogbaŋŋ.
Opined by Nii Amu Darko | President, ARM | 18/04/2021
Stay tuned for next article:
Gamɛi and Ashantemɛi are friends not enemies.
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