The Northern Students’ Union (NSU) wishes to express its displeasure at the recent disturbances in the Tamale Metropolis, which has led to the imposition of curfew. The disturbances followed the ruling of an Accra Fast Track court that acquitted and discharged all the fifteen (15) persons standing trial in connection with the murder of the late Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II in 2002.
NSU is particularly worried that at a time when the Northern part of the country is experiencing some relative peace certain individuals have taken the law into their hands to vandalise property.
The Union also notes with grave concern the level at which the two main political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) continue to exploit the vulnerable people of the north for their parochial political interests, especially in the Bawku and Dagbon crises. Poverty, unemployment and high level of illiteracy in Northern Ghana have rendered the people, especially the youth, vulnerable to manipulation by unscrupulous politicians over the years.
The people of Northern Ghana are law abiding and peaceful, just like those of any other part of the country. It is however a common knowledge that where the above factors abound, peace becomes the casualty. As if this is not enough, impunity, buoyed by unbridled partisanship and unwilling police officers, has become the order of the day in recent times.
This is precisely because at any point in time, one section of the society often believes their party is in power and they have a license to abuse, debase and violate the rights of others. After all, their big men often grant them immunity from prosecution and accountability before the law. Because perpetrators of crimes are usually not punished, they are emboldened to commit worse crimes.
At the same time, the victims keep a detailed record of all transgressions, praying and waiting for the day their own party will come to power. When power changes hands, there is a loud cry for vengeance as is the case now. For how long can the people of the north remain entangled in this cycle of ‘you do me I do you, nobody for vex?’
The Northern Students Union is worried that disputes in other parts of the country, such as the Asanteman and Techiman dispute, are usually dealt with without political considerations and yet when it comes to disputes in the north the two main parties have always found ways of exploiting the situation to their advantage.
It is no longer a secret that the two main political parties, the NDC and NPP have vested interests in the northern conflicts and are always determined to maximize their electoral fortunes out of them irrespective of the consequences. The Northern Students’ Union is, by this statement, charging the leadership of these political parties to realise that the harm they are causing in Northern Ghana affects the development of the entire nation.
Successive governments cannot claim to be working to bridge the development gap between north and south while at the same time fanning ethnic and chieftaincy disputes and exploiting the benefits thereof. The ambivalence, inconsistency and plain dishonesty of the political leaders must stop!
Taking the public utterance of both political parties for it – they want to see justice done in the killing of the Ya-Na – we are appealing to all key parties in the matter; prosecutors, investigators and judges to ensure that justice is not only done but seen to be done. And both families – Abudu and Andani – must remember that so long as they declare their abiding faith in the judicial system, at the end of the day one side will bear a not-so-palatable decision from the court.
When that happens, the rest of us northerners will expect the “losers” to show maturity and “victors” to demonstrate magnanimity and modesty.
NSU also uses this medium to appeal to the rampaging youth to allow peace to prevail. Violence is not the best means of seeking redress in any situation. The youth must remember that the politicians they rely to bring them solace are people with the temerity to make criminal use of their particularly precarious situation for their selfish ends.
Final year students of the Junior High School and Senior High Schools are about to sit their final examinations and the violence is likely to have negative repercussions on their performance. NSU calls on the two factions the Abudu and Andani gates to exercise restraint and not allow themselves to be used by politicians to achieve their selfish interests.
Finally, NSU will like to advise the media to stay away from uninformed and inflammatory comments which have the potential of aggravating the situation. In as much as informed discourse and debates are healthy ingredients for conflict resolution, some of the discussions in the media with regards to conflict in the north usually tend to stoke up the conflict
The enemies of northern Ghana are the rising level of poverty, unemployment and high level of illiteracy. These are what the people in three regions have to fight instead of themselves.
Abdul Hamid Ibn-Kailan