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Dr. Gheysika Agambila: The Accomplished Ghanaian Worth Knowing

Dr. Gheysika Agambila is the Vice President of the Ghana Association of Writers. He was the Deputy Minister for different ministries; finance, harbours and railways, and environment and science during the Kufuor regime. He is a known writer, a good dramatis and has a good personality. He is also a man with a golden heart. Today, he is our guest post.

Dr. Gheysika Agambila  on Mum C writes
Dr. Gheysika Agambila on Mum C writes

AMOAFOWAA:

Dr. please tell us about your birth and growing up.

Dr.:

I was born in Bolga, grew up there, but have memories of growing up in a village called Anateem; nine miles from Bolga on the way to Navrongo. My father worked in forestry department so my class one school was at the Sumbrungu Primary School which is four miles from Bolga, five miles from Anateem. During that time, there were bullies who were supposed to escort me to school but instead beat me up and took my food. Because of the abuse, I was taken to my biological mother in Bolga and continued my primary school at Aningazaaga Primary. I took my Common Entrance exams on the weekend following the 1966 coup d’etat.  I chose Navrongo Secondary School (NAVASCO) where Ayi Kwei Armah was an English teacher although he did not teach me. When I was in form four, there was an essay competition in which the winners obtained scholarships to live and attend high school in the United States of America. American Field School Service (Now AFS inter-cultural programme).  This programme was for a year. I lived with an American family in a town called Paullina in Iowa. I used to be athletic and ended up breaking my thigh bone or femur, so I couldn’t attend my high school graduation and deliver my valedictorian speech. I returned to NAVASCO, did my O levels, got grade one distinction and went to Achimota School because some of those I admired went there.  So I went there for sixth form and had 4 As. I offerered Geography, Economics, Literature and General Paper. I went to Legon School of Administration, for only a term and went to the US to continue my education. I attended Brandeis University in Massachusetts, majored in Economics and went to the University of Rochester; Simon School of Business, and majored in Finance and Accounting. I worked with a firm of Certified Public Accountants called those days as Ernst and Whinny (it is the predecessor company of Ernst and young) for two years then went to New York City to do a PhD in Public Finance programme at New York University. I worked with the New York MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), in their Internal Audit Department and was with them for about thirteen years. I interviewed with Ernst and Young Ghana on one of my visits and got a job which lasted for a year and went to lecture Public Finance, taught Public Policy and Health Care Accounting at the University of Ghana Business School. I took this job because of I had been elected to stand as a parliamentary candidate.  After the election, I was appointed a Deputy Minister in 2001 so I took it up and ended my work at Legon. I was a deputy minister till 2006 when my appointment was terminated and I went straight to GIMPA to lecture and retired from there five years later.

AMOAFOWAA:

Is naming important?

Dr.:

Yes. I think Africans should do away with foreign names. When I was in the secondary school, we used to call those names “impi names” for imperialist names. So I did do away with my “impi” name. Africans should love their heritage and have only their names. I am proudly Dr. Gheysika Agambila, Gheysika means “about to descend”. My great grandmother who gave me the name said I was born when she was about to join her ancestors. So she named me Gheysika. My maternal relatives named me Abeele because they claimed I had no hair. Of course I now have hair on my head.

AMOAFOWAA:

Lol. Who can win Dr. Agambila’s trust and respect?

 

Dr.:

One of my weaknesses is that I just trust people but my natural instincts have been fighting my professional training but anyone can earn it by acting honestly or truthfully.

AMOAFOWAA:

Among your parents, who would you say impacted greatly in your life? I ask this because most people hail their mothers to a point that most fathers feel left out.

 Dr.:

Both impacted me, my father was a strict disciplinarian who was never satisfied with anything we did. If  you got a B he would not be pleased he would say “You should have gotten an A”. So he pushed us to achieve more in life.

AMOAFOWAA:

Is growing up in Ghana a tedious thing?

 Dr.:

It wasn’t easy but I didn’t know it wasn’t easy. I walked 5 miles to school and 5 miles back. Teachers beat us all the time; if you were late to school, they beat you, failed your work, they beat you and if you reported to your parents, they will say, then it means you did something bad, I must beat you more and the beatings will be more than the teacher’s. My life was also very restricted to school, church and playing around because there were no televisions etc then.

AMOAFOWAA:

Given the chance, would you want to come into this world as a Ghanaian and for that matter an African?

 Dr.:

I think God created everybody for a reason. God created me in all that I am for a reason. Why not? Every place has its problems and I’ll choose Ghana because I’ve got the Ghanaian experience.

AMOAFOWAA:

What do you think about rural urban migration?

Dr.:

It is a symptom or product of biased technology and development policy. Most of the revenue is spent in urban areas and the best schools, water etc.. are also in urban areas so why would people remain in the villages?

AMOAFOWAA:

Dr. Is love over-rated by mortals?

Dr.:

It’s not over rated. It is what makes life sweet and meaningful. I’ve fallen in love and fallen in lust.

AMOAFOWAA:

In lust and love? Given the chance would you choose to be in lust or love?

Dr.:

Hahahaha. Lust is a burden, I’ll choose love because it is more blissful.

AMOAFOWAA:

What is your opinion on women emancipation?

Dr.:

They need to be emancipated. I went to Egypt and saw the real pain of subjugation of women. They were not to be seen in the company of men unless they are related to them. A policeman could stop a couple on the street and ask the man to produce evidence of their relationship. It is preposterous! Women must be free because they are the bedrock of humanity.

AMOAFOWAA:

Would you say women are their own enemies?

 Dr.:

Oppressed people are sometimes their own enemies. So if black people are oppressed, you see that some black people are part of the system of oppression. Women are tutored to accept their oppression in most societies. I went to a village to do research and a woman told me “I am only a woman, what do I know? Please wait until the men come”. So women are tutored to accept their condition of oppression. 

AMOAFOWAA:

Streetism is a worry to all Africans. Children are fathered and mothered by the incapable street. What do you think is the cause?

Dr.:

The reason is poverty. Because if there was enough wealth, people will not live in the street. And our national leaders have allowed economic inequality to flourish so that the poor keep getting poorer, the rich keep getting richer. If care is not taken, this system of government would be overthrown violently by this inequality.

AMOAFOWAA:

I know you are a politician, in fact, if I must say so, a member of the New Patriotic Party, you’ve stood on their ticket to aspire for a member of parliament in Bolga for about three times. What is your candid opinion about politics?

Dr.:

We need politics because politics is the means by which non market mechanisms are used to allocate or distribute resources. Otherwise how do we allocate projects for the good of all? We do need politics. It is a necessity.

AMOAFOWAA:

If I ask for your grade on the rule of the 4th republic of Ghana, which ruler would be first and which ruler would you grade last and why?

Dr.:

I think Kufuor would be first and Mahama would be last because in eight years, Kufuor achieved more than any of them. Corruption was less, now it is galloping. “Huri s)” corruption.

AMOAFOWAA:

Is the Ghana today a sinking ship? I ask this because many people are crying dissatisfaction, even the ever increasing strike actions bears witness.

Dr.:

I think Ghana is in dire straits, because of corruption and mismanagement. For instance, why would you want to make polytechnics universities? Is it not stupid? Declaring them universities is going to increase our public wage bills. The polytechnic rectors would say they are equivalent to vice chancellors so should be paid equally. It is going to increase our national labour cost etc.. Wanting to build toilets for private landlords, isn’t it for reasons of sheer corruption? Ghana is a sinking ship which needs to be rescued.

AMOAFOWAA:

I know you hail from the north, and the north is known to be the less privileged among the regions of Ghana. Why do you think that is?

Dr.:

Part of it is history, part of it is public policy. The north is less naturally endowed than the south. We have a long dry season so whereas the farming season is long in the south, the north can farm for only four months in a year. There is neglect of the north by successive governments. What major universities or Hospitals are in the north? University for Development Studies (UDS) was started with the pocket money of Rawlings. He was given a prize for fighting hunger; 50,000 dollars by some NGO or so. It was an insult because he was in charge of government  and could have used government money for it. When I saw the Nyankpala campus of UDS, I felt sorry and angry. You call this a university?

AMOAFOWAA:

There are many ethnic and chieftaincy disputes in the north. Do you know the genesis of these disputes?

Dr.:

A friend of mine called Iddrisu said when you see two people fighting, it is either about a woman or something shared unequally. The problem is the allocation of land and economic. For example, who is to be chief of Bawku? Mamprusis say they should, Kusasis say they should, so what happens? They fight because they get land and money if they reign, so the foundation is economic.

AMOAFOWAA:

Reading and technology and the modern child, do you see it as another form of hole in the ship of education?

 

 Members of the CRIC (Constitution Review Implementation Committee, and the US Ambassador and his Ghanaian colleague). Dr. Agambila on the extreme right
Members of the CRIC (Constitution Review Implementation Committee, and the US Political Counsellor and his Ghanaian colleague). Dr. Agambila on the extreme right

Dr.:

I think we can use technology to enhance education. We can use it to challenge people elsewhere. We can get the best brains on any topic to lecture all in wide broadcasting etc, giving everybody a world class education. We don’t use buildings in education, all we need is a good transfer of knowledge but the politicians build and build because they need percentages from the construction contracts. All we need is to use good technology. So it is problem when used wrongly and a powerful tool when used right.

 AMOAFOWAA:

You are a politician, if you are to select one politician`to give an award for performance, who would it be and why?

Dr.:

Nelson Mandela because he could have ruled until he died but he chose not to. That is a rare trait in African politicians.

AMOAFOWAA:

If you were a modern Jesus and was asked to change one thing what would that be?

Dr.:

Being crucified was so terrible. I would have asked to close my eyes for someone to behead me or plunge a sword in me rather than take three hours to die. Wouldn’t have allowed that painful death.

AMOAFOWAA:

What do you think of racism?

Dr.:

It is a means of allocating resources. Let’s say there are jobs but are not enough, then the racist society will say only white people can have jobs. The blacks would have to follow  white people and do menial jobs or beg for a living. 

AMOAFOWAA:

Nayele Ametepe, at the mention of the name, what comes to mind?

Dr.:

It suggests to me that Ghana is becoming a “Narcocracy” because I believe all the cocaine dealers have links to big political parties. I believe the drug dealers are in all the parties. How is it that cocaine get into this country without we arresting anybody? That tells you that cocaine dealers are in cahoots with all the big political parties. So they control it all, from police to judges.

AMOAFOWAA:

What do you listen to, song wise?

Dr.:

I normally listen to oldies and easy listening? I love all genres of music but among Ghanaian musicians I like Daddy Lumba best.

AMOAFOWAA:

Do you do azonto?

Dr.:

No, not at all, because of my schedule, I don’t have time to learn those things. I was a good dancer before I became a father. Between homework and play, I do get tired so I forgo the dances. 

Dr. Agambila with family
Dr. Agambila with family

 

AMOAFOWAA:

If I ask you to advice the people I am going to mention, what would you say to Those who seek revenge:

Dr:

Revenge gives short term satisfaction but I don’t think it is beneficial in the long term. In order to take revenge you have to keep yourself in a state of pain and anger until you commit the act of revenge and that is destroying your spirit and your body. So forget about revenge.

 

  • Single parents with disabled children: They should realize that God is testing their capacity for love and they need to pass that test. They also need a community of people to help them raise that child with a disability. Because no person can solve a problem by themselves no matter how small. So they should find people in similar situation and people with the resources to help them manage the situation, people with resources like money, emotional, transfer, anything helpful.
  • Those who want to commit suicide: They shouldn’t end their lives. It is raining now but in a few hours, the rain will stop and the sun will shine.
  • Ladies who seek to make men their wallets: it is exploitation of man by woman and another way to see this is that none can be exploited if he does not allow himself.
  • To those who do not respect women: If they decide not to respect women, would they want someone to disrespect their mothers, their sisters or their daughters? If their answer is yes, then they should go ahead.
  • Men who abuse children and those who are not responsible: I believe men who sexually abuse kids are sick and must be castrated. Men who are not responsible should be taken on and the system should not allow them to get away with it.
  • People known to be hopeless: If a person says he is hopeless, then that person is on his way to recovery.  Since it is someone else’s perception you don’t have to let it come true. So you can surprise people who say you are hopeless. And those who say that should stop talking and help them be hopeful.

AMOAFOWAA:

Your advice to everybody

Dr.:

Have fun, life is short!

AMOAFOWAA:

Thank you very much.

DR.:

You’re most welcome.

END OF INTERVIEW

His inspiration came in this form:

From the beautiful desert

Grew this grain

A grain which sprouted

And grew to give

A grain which bore with grains for all

From its stalk to its world

It is the Agambila grain of pride

From walking barefooted

To dining for whites to clean up

A treasure the state benefits from

A brain of many learnings

You need to live long

Until all humans descend the grave stirs

It’s good you live in books

In minds and thoughts

A Gheysika Agambilla is an inspirational ball

Which rolled from Anateem, to the states

And bounced back home

To build help build our home

Like the Romans built Rome

Many legs will roam

But your name will do the roaming

Attracting tongue bells to ring

At the assemble of being

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2015

By amoafowaa

Just a simple Ghanaian trying to find the best in our society. I may be fun, I may be interesting, I may be funny, I may even be foolish or intelligent, but it is all based on the mood in which you find yourself. I believe our minds make us who we are. Know that, pain, no matter its 'unbearability', is transient. Unburden or delight yourself for a while in my writings please. And all corrections, advice and opinions are welcome. Know that you are the king, queen or royal on this blog. :)

11 replies on “Dr. Gheysika Agambila: The Accomplished Ghanaian Worth Knowing”

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