By Prof. Dzigbordi Adjimah
“Re-CALL FOR SECCESSION (Independent Western Togoland) – My Personal Stand
Komla Dzigbodi-Adjimah (2017)
1. Since it’s not easy to brush away this nagging and reoccurring calls by a group of Octogenarian citizens and their grandchildren from the Volta region for a breakaway from Ghana and sending the clock of development in the region BACKWARD for 60 yrs, I find it incumbent that those of us who lived through the developments speak out for our sons and daughters to know the facts and take appropriate decisions in Volta region’s journey to nationhood and development.
2. I personally don’t believe in “Brexit”. History is very useful in Nation Building and I believe that moving Forward is better than Backwards. Let’s not forget that it was under the mandate of the League of Nations that the German Colony of Togoland was partitioned between the French and the British in1922. When the United Nations succeeded the Leauge of Nations in 1945, the mandate was automatically transferred tothe UN. So whatever was promised or not promised by the defunct Leauge of Nations is of no consequence in 2017. The UN is now in charge and it was the UN that organized the 1956 Plebiscite which offered our forefathers (the inhabitants of Western Togoland) the opportunity to be independent or join the peolpe of the Gold Coast colony (the Anlos, Gas and Fanti Confederation) to form a new united country with the Ashantis and Northern Territories.
3. History has it that WE (the peoples of British Protective Togoland) by the Plebicite results decided to join the Colonies. It’s based on this that a country known as “Ghana ” was born on 6th March 1957. There was no modern country called “Ghana” at the time of the Togoland Plebicite in 1956. We the peoples of present day Volta region were therefore NOT ADDED to any existing country. Volta Region is thus an integral part of a new country, Ghana, that was born on 6th March 1957. The proud First Independent Black African country.We were not “added” to Ghana; we are an intergal and definitive part of the Republic of Ghana. Without the incorporation of Western Togoland, Ghana, as we know it today, will not be what we see on the map.
4. As a gentleman by birth and upbringing, I am a Gracious Loser. Gentlemen don’t finish playing a game and after losing, turn around to complain about the ground rules. If you don’t like the rules, you don’t play the game. Period! Our fathers and grandfathers were offered the chance to determine the destiny of Western Togoland in 1956. 170,000 people registered; Over 90,000 of them voted “Yes” = we will join the Colonies; nearly 40,000 voted “No” = we don’t want any union; some 30,000 didn’t vote at all because they were alleged to have claimed that they didn’t know what they were voting for. How come then that the Octogenarians and their grandchildren are now coming back after some 60 yrs to claim that the Plebicite results were inconclusive? Why the agitation 60 yrs after the Plebicite to claim that the conditions under which the Plebicite was conducted were unfair? Wouldn’t it have been wiser to have boycotted the Plebicite in the first instance? Only sour losers complain after the event. Give us a break!
5. Please note that Volta region is NOT Western Togoland. The Anlos and Kpekis (Kreppis) were not part of Western Togoland. Parts of Northern region (Gonja land, Nangodi, Bawku,Yendi) and Eastern (Afram Plains) regions which were parts of Western Togoland are now in other regions of Ghana. So what are the mooters of restoration of Western Togoland clamouring for? Disintegration of Ghana? Which self- respecting sovereign country will cede of part of its land without a fight?
Can those who are trying so hard to stir the hornet’s nest with this secession talk, walk the talk? Can they withstand the might of Ghana Army? Let’s learn from the Biafran Seccession War in Nigeria in late 1960s and not compromise the lives of our people.
6. History also teaches us that secession has NEVER worked for anybody’s good. Look at Somalia, Northern Ireland, Eritrea, Kashmir, Kosovo, Ukraine etc, etc. Certainly, I don’t think this is the kind of stituation we want to plunge Volta region in at this stage of our development?
7. Now again, I urge those cooing for the integration of Volta region with Togo to look at English- & French-speaking countries that have merged like Cameroon or Canada. One group is always subservient to the other. In the Cameroon, the English-speaking Cameroonians are swallowed in the system while the reverse is happening in Canada. Togo has been an Independent country since 1960. If we (from English-speaking Volta region of Ghana) should decide to join them now, we will have to be “ADDED” as newcomers (minooes) and let nobody deceive themselves that we (from Volta region of Ghana) would be accorded the same status as our brothers in Lome. Don’t let our frustrations at lack of development in Volta region lead us to jump from a frying pan into the fire.
8. We have to debunk the oft repeated misconception that because Western Togoland was a former German colony, Germany will, for sentimental reasons, rush in to develop the area. This is a fallacious assumption; the Developed Countries don’t pump in money into 3rd World Countries just out of sentiment. They want profits on their investments. Look at the Republic of Togo (Eastern Togoland) which is twice the size of Western Togoland. It has major challenges to their economic development and the only country that gives them financial support is France. Why doesn’t Germany pump in money to make it a paradise? Is it not common knowledge that Togolese troupe to Ghana for education, health and jobs? How would independent landlocked Western Togoland survive with no coast land and limited natural resources? Please let’s look before we leap.
9.I lived, as child in the 1950’s, through the times of S.G. Antor, Rev Ametorwobla, Ayeke, Anku Morny, Gershon Morny and Dovlo’s period of Togoland Congress:
“Ablodee Gbadza a! Ablodee Mligo o!!
“Kwame Nkrumah mava Togo o;
Negbe Kpeve ko wase;
Mia xo Ablode!”
“Ablode e e!!!
A-b-l-o-d- e e e!!!!
Where did it land us when the might of Kwame Nkrumah was unleashed on us with the (PDA) Preventive Detention Act in 1959? Our Chiefs had to run away for dear life to Togo leaving their sandals behind. Some of them died in exile and were smuggled back surreptitiously to be buried at night. Those who were not so lucky were bundled over into incarceration at Nsawam or Usher Fort prisons. Guns were ceased. Funding to our schools was curtailed. The trunk road from Kpeve to Krachi was left for us to be drenched in the dust “Antor Powder”
The development of Volta region as whole, was put on hold because together with Ashanti region, we were perceived as the “opposition camps” to Nkrumah’s development. And we still suffering the ills of that decade (1954 -1966) today? Why are the elderly in Volta region, who should have known better, trying so hard to push the region down that precipice again? Never I say “Never Again”. My grandfather (God bless his soul) taught me that
“Only fools fall down on same hillside twice”. Colleague citizens from Volta region (Voltaians cum Voltarians ) let’s be wise.
10. In conclusion, they say it’s a free world and that people are entitled to their opinions. Sure I agree. My plea is that in making loud our opinions, we should be thoughtful of others so that our pronouncements and utterances don’t jeopardize the life and peace of our friends, families, communities and, above all, our nation. God bless Volta region of Ghana and make it develop in peace and tranquillity without the distractions of secession.