Way back in the early twentieth century, Nigerians, mainly Yorubas were well-established in Ghana and contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of the country before and after independence. They were integrated in the socio-economic and political structure of our country until their sudden deportation by the Busia government through the Aliens Compliance Order of 18th November, 1969. It was estimated that close to 200,000 Nigerians lived in Ghana at the time when Ghana’s population was only 8.5 million.
This history of Nigerians establishing themselves in Ghana many years ago reminds me of a story between a Yoruba man and his son, Lasisi when I was growing up as a child. They lived at Topreman, a mining village near Akwatia in the Eastern Region for so many years that they became very familiar with the customs and culture of the people of the area, and even relished traditional meals like cooked plantain and kontomire stew with palm oil as well as dried salted tilapia.
Lasisi had to endure the pain of eating with his father in the same earthenware bowl for a long time. The shrewd Yoruba man unscrupulously tilts the earthenware dish for all the palm oil to accumulate at his side of the bowl. Lasisi decided to hatch a plan in defiance of his father’s dishonesty. One day, as they were having their favourite dish, he created a narrow furrow in the middle of the stew redirecting the palm oil to his side. Boiling with anger, his father shouted in imperfect twi, and pronouncing “si” as “shi”, screamed: “Lasisi, shi gutter no.” That is to say, “Lasisi, block the gutter to prevent the palm oil from flowing to your side.”
Many “gutters” have been created since December 7, 2020. A referee has refused to go into the penalty box to whistle for an infringement, and there have been an outrageous scoring spree by the Unanimous Football Club in a lopsided competition, not to talk about an attempt to re-write history by some bloody dogmatists. But what makes me tetchy is the inability of the people of Eweland to show something small. If they had deployed some bees or caused an unending itching on the bodies of some people in support of their son, the Ant, during the football match at the Freedom and Justice Sports Stadium, people would have been very careful when they want to disrespect them.
Kikikikiki, these are not the only concerns of people oo. Unbelievably, items given out as gifts are being collected back, taxes and fuel prices have been increased, and transport operators have threatened to increase fares by about 20%. Erratic power supply popularly known as dumsor has started in earnest. The economic squeeze is tightening. The lives of most Ghanaians are ebbing like sand through fingers; and it is much frightened to think that the lives of our people are going to be dealt with too many hard knocks in the coming weeks.
What is more to the point, the pain and sorrow of the good people of this country seem to be blended in equal amounts, and I could feel cold blood snaking through the hearts of millions with spite and malice.
There is an akan proverb which says, “A child who doesn’t want his mother to sleep at night will never be spared of the enema.”
And to a greater extent, Yaanom have deprived the people of Ghana some sleep. They have touched what does not belong to them, and that crime will definitely have consequences. Its out-turn is already manifesting, the country is broke after a lavish campaign. Unemployment amongst the youth has taken flight, prices of goods and services are skyrocketing, the Cedi has broken loose to other major currencies. In fact, the furnace is heating up to a melting point!
Chai, what is even making the greater mass of the population extremely angry and impatient is that while the belt of the ordinary people are being tightened through tax increase and budget cuts, Oga, like Lasisi, has created a narrow furrow to redirect the palm oil to the Big House.
Walahi talahi, in my minds ears, I can hear angry masses screaming, “Kai, Oga, shi gutter no.”
Anthony Obeng Afrane