“I am now shy to answer the question where are you from?”, so she said.
She said this with a very little or no idea how the foundation of the land was laid.
Nanung wasn’t handed to him and his compatriots when he got here, Gmantambo.
They had to sweat, they had to fight and bleed with bravery surpassing Oliver Tambo.
Where are you sister, where are you brother, get close to the night fire and listen to the story.
If we are lost to our past, outsiders will come and tell it to us referring to it as history.
You think Nanung have not been through chieftaincy huddles ever before?
Come on, tell me what it is Bimbilla have not been through, we’ll never go below!
Let the story of the brave men and women of our foundation be told.
I know these are sad times but it should be the time for us to be bold.
When Gmantambo was pointed to the south of Dagbon to go and settle,
It wasn’t all cozy, he wasn’t welcomed with drums; he had to survive with true mettle.
He knew it was going to be hard to thrive but even with a lion he was ready to wrestle.
So even as small as the ‘billa’ in Bimbilla was, all he saw was a land of opportunity.
Stones were thrown, insults were hailed, hatred spilled but he walked with alacrity. He knew the rise or fall of the land depended entirely on not anybody but his own ability.
Today, we are here because he didn’t call it a quit. They (our fore fathers) didn’t just shrug off into their shells when problems came.They didn’t shy away from the land because of difficulties but rather stood and fought to build for us what we have today. I know their names were not mentioned in our history lessons in school but for us, they are heroes with non-alike.
The land of intellectuals! Yes, that was what we were known by but why are we hiding away today? Is it really time to shy off? Are we to build elsewhere and move our families? Are we relocating? Is the land of Nanung so unfertile now? Our farms and animals can’t grow anymore?
Come on, son! Your fathers faced worse than you can imagine but they stood strong! Come on son, your mother needs you now more than ever. The future of the land rests on you now! Not me, not you not anyone but everyone. I do what I have to do and you do yours but the most important thing is for us to desire peace in our hearts and mean it.
I had my best friend back in the days and we did everything together. In the local dialect I’d say “gom ndaa waligiriti”. I knew him probably more than he knew himself and vice versa. When I was wrong he would support me in the crowed and then warned me off when we got home. I knew in no uncertain terms that he got my back under any circumstance and likewise I got his. You’d say it was a ‘bromance’.
But what became of this friendship?
Suddenly we woke up one day and it was all over town that two members of the same gate were vying for the chieftaincy tittle. I bet that was their issue to deal with. Truly I could care less, after all, I wasn’t a kingmaker neither was I a royal. As usual, my good friend joined me at home; we played and laughed it off.
But then the chieftaincy situation persisted, something that I thought was going to just pass by rather lingered on. What did it mean for me and my best friend? Soon my friends wanted to know which side he was and am sure his too. Did it really matter? Oh, at first we thought it didn’t. Just because my household may be aligned to one side and his to the other didn’t mean we couldn’t play together. We thought it couldn’t mean our ‘bromance’ had to die.
Soon reality hit on us, we grew distant, new friends were coming between us. Suddenly my best friend was now a lion for me to fear and I for him. Soon it was to be taken that I am ready to kill him at any time. Even the mangoes we use to hunt and share was now enshrouded with suspicions as it could be used as a weapon. I could not freely walk into his house anymore as it was to be believed that I could easily drop a deadly poison in their water or something of a sought. He equally could not walk freely into my home for that same very reason.
But was that really true? Was I going to suddenly turn into a cold killer just because of some chieftaincy huddles of which I stood nothing to benefit?
Like the story in my previous article We should have known better! We should have been true to ourselves instead of growing hatred within while smiling at each other. Probably if we were more matured, my good friend wouldn’t have been willing to burn down my home or kill my mother or sister. Perhaps my good friend would have remained my good friend.
But is it too late for us now?
I don’t think so. The youth of the land are up with unflinching interest to see off this unnecessary progress block. I personally believe that no one can solve our problem for us because no one created it in the first place. A friend told me he regrets being born in Bimbilla, really? I think to have a regret of this nature you must equally regret being created human. The problems faced by Nanung today is nothing compared to that faced by humanity at large. So are you to be defined by the problems you face or the efforts you make to overcome it?
How do we get over this crisis?
I wished I could answer this in a single go but I can’t. If it was that simple I’m sure it would have been solved even before it became a problem. However, I think in a very small way I can reunite with my lost friend. Some lives have been lost in the crisis but thankfully we are still alive. I will link up with him to rekindle our lost connection. I will discuss with him what I think and he what he thinks regarding the issue and together we will reach a compromise and move on from there.
I know you may say that is at a personal level and may not be applicable to the real problem. But I think that even though this approach may seem far-fetched, let’s ask ourselves, why not?
We say we want peace so why should it be so difficult to do what it takes to attain it? Our fathers often said that “bini dinkpaabahi bi vari zaa” but why are we forcing ourselves in this case? The hard truth is that both factions can never attain what they desire. The only way for us to move on as a people is if we are ready to compromise.
If both men in this daisy contention were to be regarded as past chiefs for the sake of progress what will Nanung lose? Were the traditions made for us or us for the traditions? Why are we choosing the traditions over ourselves?
I know, I may be going too far with this but that is the hard truth. I think the only way we can move on from this point is to bring the intellectuals and elders of both factions together under one committee to draft an agreement. This agreement will then be used as a foundation to build in order to resolve the issue. We have to realize and accept the fact that neither the supreme courts nor any other means can solve this problem without our permission.
When this compromise is reached, our traditions can then be properly documented in ways that will prevent something like this from occurring again in the future. I am a child of the land and I know very little of these traditions I speak of. But what I believe is that nothing can be more important than peace for our land. If the traditions have to mean we should kill ourselves into extinction then I would say to hell with it.