By Iddi Muhayu-Deen

Perhaps, to say I am aghast at the statement coming from the Volta regional branch of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) on the Oti referendum captioned, “OTI REFERENDUM AND MEDIA CURFEW”, is an understatement. The poorly crafted statement was not only pregnant with a lot of factual inaccuracies but also characterized with mischief and resentment against an otherwise noble cause.

This, I dare say, is the only inevitable conclusion to arrive at following developments leading to the referendum held on Thursday, December 27, 2018, on the proposed Oti Region in particular. I have no much difficulty with the loud anti-Oti protests and ugly noises being orchestrated by some of our Ewe brothers and sisters in the southern part of the Volta region and spearheaded by their chiefs including the respected Ahomefia of the Asogli State, Togbe Afede.

I however have a lot of difficulty appreciating why a professional association like the umbrella body of journalists in the region would allow themselves to be used as assigns and stooges of these traditional rulers who had tried desperately to scuttle the Oti project with series of coordinated actions all of which failed to return any dividend. First, they said, Oti was a nonstarter and openly declared their hatred for the project describing the move as a recipe for chaos and tribal conflict. In fact, they even alleged that Ashantis were behind this Oti agenda and sought to advise them [Ashantis] to rather go and split Ashanti region to start with.

Then, they threatened to resist any attempt to exclude Ewes from the southern part of the Volta region from participating in the referendum. Just like the first strategy, this again, didn’t work. So, what did they do? They marshaled forces with their “Ewe lawyers and plaintiffs” and proceeded to the Supreme Court to challenge the process where they were embarrassed by all seven justices for bringing such an incompetent suit paving the way for the referendum to be held.

So, upon realizing that they had unsuccessfully exhausted every opportunity to stop the referendum, their latest plan, which they activated, was to churn out lies about the referendum in a desperate attempt to discredit the whole exercise. And regrettably, they found an ally in that which is supposed to be an association of professionals, the GJA – Volta, to help them push this diabolic agenda against the good people of Oti. Of course, this can only come from none other but the Volta Regional branch of the Association and I can indeed authoritatively confirm that they never conferred with nor consulted GJA-National before issuing that problematic and incompetent statement.

Facts are that, not a single media personnel was prevented from covering the referendum and indeed no journalist complained of same or intimidation either from the police or the locals contrary to the claims being made by GJA-Volta. That is why the Multimedia Group came out to set the records straight essentially disagreeing with GJA-Volta. Indeed, as one of the lead advocates of the Oti project, I keenly monitored the process moving from polling station to polling station within the Oti enclave in the company of some media personnel from GBC, EIB Network, Media-General, JoyNews and Joytv among others and throughout our rounds none was greeted with a hostile reception. It was all cozy and rosy.

So, what at all is GJA-Volta talking about? Let it be said to them that they are supposed to be a professional body and therefore they must behave as such. Let it also be said to them that they can fool some of the people some of the time but certainly, not all the people all the time. We are not unaware of their real motive. We are also not unaware that the concocted videos being shared on social media platforms purporting to emanate from the Oti enclave suggesting that the Oti referendum was rigged, was all part of this anti-Oti grand conspiracy. Else, why was it suggested that out of the six referenda held across the country, it was only that of Oti that had everything wrong?

Anyway, just in case they haven’t heard, I humbly wish to inform them that the Oti referendum has been overwhelmingly successful recording 98.6% YES Vote and contrary to their wishes and predictions, there hasn’t been any bloodshed or tribal conflict either before, during or in the aftermath of the referendum. Thus, the age-long wishes of our forebears as well as the present generation on having our own region, have come to pass and we give glory to almighty Allah. Now that we have been separated from them, they are free to go ahead and declare their independence from Ghana so we have the Republic of Volta Region to complete the absurdity. We are certainly NOT unintelligent!!

Assalamu alaik

Iddi Muhayu-Deen


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