Joyce Ati’isetue Aziabah popularly known as Jay is a 29 year old corporate executive and a budding entrepreneur. She is the founder and co-founder of Batakari and Notti Shito respectively. She is a native of Kandiga, a village in the Kasena/Nankana West District of the Upper East region.
Jay, the last of five children, is passionate about social responsibility and believes our conscious communal efforts in getting things done the right way will make the world a better place – thus every human being is a collective catalyst of positive change.
As a style enthusiast, her self created favorite style quote is ….
“A fusion of mood and attitude tuned into garments is style”.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Studies from the University of cape Coast and a post graduate degree in Human Resource Management from GIMPA.
Jay is a believer of The Word of God and a Catholic. Her mother is her “push button” and she derives inspiration from happenings around her on a regularly basis.
She likes to eat fufu on weekdays and TZ on weekends.
She is also inspired by the quote “BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE.” Jay is a role model.
Dorithy D. Gwee is a young and potential leader who hails from one of the most prestigious counties (Bong) located in the North-Central portion of Liberia. She began her leadership journey from her high school days where she became the first female Council President for the E. J .Yancy High School in Totota Bong County. Dorithy is a Civil Engineering Student at the Stella Maris Polytechnic. She is an advocate for girls and their rights to STEM education. She encourages females to step forward and break those stereotypes surrounding women. Dorithy aims to impact the lives of females by fostering their participation in the society. Dorithy is a role model.
He is a certified young IT Professional (software/hardware/networking/website/video/audio engineer) in Freetown, He is a youth activist and educator on youth issues. He is also a former President of a registered youth organization with the National Youth Commission of Sierra Leone (Our Year Our Voice Committee Sierra Leone) where he met The President of The Republic of Sierra Leone in 2013 through his advocacy. Ralford Rollings-Bull helps youth in Sierra Leone who are in the public and private sectors to thrive further for success, to be practical in solutions and optimistic in decisions, to transfer skills and experiences learned to young promising leaders who want to become exceptional and are diligent in the work they do for other young people. Ralford Rollings-Bull has ten years experience in the field of youth advocacy and is well known in his home Country. He is currently working as the Founder and Chief Executive Director of The Youth Alliance Initiative Network (YAIN), a Youth Serving Agency, where he focuses on addressing issues that affect the youth. He is also working for Democracy Sierra Leone; a civil society organization where he supports them with ICT skills, social media and field advocacy.
Ralford Rollings-Bull is a graduate from Njala university, where he did his degree programme in a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Agricultural Engineering. He is motivated in working for young people because he has passion in positive youth activism, considering the fact that young people in Sierra Leone are being neglected especially female youth with the determination of gaining tertiary education and involvement in National Governance.
Ama is a pharmacist by training, teacher by calling and a researcher by choice. She graduated with a B. Pharm (Pharmacy) and M. Phil (Pharmacology) from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology and a PhD (Pharmacology) from the University of Cambridge, UK. She is currently with the School of Pharmacy, University of Ghana-Legon, where she teaches and carries out research in infectious diseases, global health and antimicrobial resistance.
In her life, Ama has been influenced by people who have taken all the challenges in life within their stride and excelled in their career as well as personal life. These people have included world leaders, famous people, professors but also importantly, the people many consider ‘ordinary’. Her best life lessons have been learnt from simple, down-to-earth and everyday people going about their lives with faith, hope, hard work and excellence.
Ama believes life is a cycle that needs to continue and that life is worth it when we can give back the inspiration and blessings we receive. She therefore hopes her life will serve as inspiration for other young people. One way she hopes to do this is by mentoring young people in their life and career choices. She is passionate about recruiting, encouraging and sustaining women in sciences and more especially their representation at the highest ranks in the field of science.
She believes all people are EQUAL and should be treated as such with no discrimination based on gender, race, tribe, educational background, societal class, faith etc… As a Christian, this is exemplified by the Golden Rule; ‘Do unto others what you want them to do to you’
She enjoys writing, playing with babies and listening to them talk, listening to loud music, watching Kumawood movies that feature Akrobeto, Agya Koo or Lil’ Win, travelling around Ghana, making new friends especially with children and the elderly and watching crime investigation because of forensic science. Ama is a true role model.
Ejike Caius Agu is a young Nigerian passionate about making impact in his community and other communities. He is a Development Knowledge Facilitator of the Global Goals and a Pan-Africanist committed to the realization of ‘The Africa We Want’ project.
He equally advocates for child rights and the Youth, creating his platforms through local organizations and also regularly volunteers for impactful organisations.
Ejike holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Nigeria. He has experience in business development and marketing and also in Academics as a high school teacher and researcher. Presently, his quest for quality education prompted him to lead a school tour campaign to secondary schools, speaking to students on a number of issues affecting them including examination malpractices.
He is open to learning new things, networking and partnerships for Sustainable development goals. Ejike is calm, affable and respectful. He is a role model by all standards.
Hannah Awadzi (Mrs) is a Ghanaian communications Specialist and Founder of The Special Mothers Project, an advocacy and awareness creation programme on cerebral palsy. She holds a degree in psychology with linguistics from the University of Ghana and a Diploma in Communications skills from the Ghana Institute of Journalism. She has worked as a journalist for over 17 years and counting, and is a staunch Christian, a pubic speaker and loves to share her experiences with people with the aim of impacting their lives positively. Mrs. Awadzi who is also an author and writes with the pen name “Adowa Okorewaa” likes to use her communications skills to advocate for the vulnerable in society. She has written extensively on the subject of cerebral palsy with hope of creating awareness and change society’s attitude towards children with cerebral palsy. She is married with three children. Her first child, Avery, has cerebral palsy. Her first book titled “The Unexpected” is an inspirational book that chronicles her journey with her daughter with cerebral palsy. The Special Mothers Project, founded because of her daughter, is a reach out project that aims at extending love and support to families raising children with cerebral palsy, especially mothers. The Project links families to the limited but available support services in Ghana while facilitating the creation of support systems and services to enhance the lives of families raising children with cerebral palsy. The Project also serves as a counseling point for families raising children with cerebral palsy. On a daily basis, the Special Mothers Project receives calls and invitations from averagely about 20 families requiring information or services for their children with cerebral palsy. The Project also works to empower parents concerned to get involved in advocacy while venturing into the provision of services that suit the needs of families raising children with cerebral palsy. Mrs. Awadzi believes that mothers of children with cerebral palsy are better placed to provide services since they primarily understand the needs of such families above any other. The Special Mothers Project, organizes periodic information seminars and workshops for various stakeholder groups including the media, parents, and policy makers among others. The major aim is to enhance understanding of cerebral palsy as a condition among the populace and facilitate inclusion in our society. Her advice to everybody reading, is to be positive, as “we can achieve a lot as a country when we adopt positivity; no one knows the future except God so let’s trust God and be positive no matter our situation.” Hannah is a true role model.
Stella Allou with pen name Ella Rhymz started the game of poetry at a tender age. Her love for short stories and poetry was developed by her late father. She’s a product of St Monica Senior High School where she was an active member of the Read Wide and Debators’ Clubs. She had her tertiary education at Bolgatanga Nurses Training College where she held the SRC library Representive Position. Her maiden book “Colourful Poetry” is a collection of poems available on Amazon. Several of her poems have been featured on online magazines and local newspapers such as “The Mirror”.
She is currently a registered general nurse at Tamale Teaching Hospital, where she loves her service to humanity. Stella believes that kindness to the sick is service to God. She hopes to further her education and develop her writing skills as well. She aspires to write medical fiction sometime to come. Helen Keller is her inspiration for writing.
Her role model is the late Maya Angelou. Stella believes “She will rise” one day.
While Mihran “Mino” Kalaydjian is a mesmerizing live performer, his passionate cult following is surely due to his immense discography.
“Mihran Kalaydjian “Mino” known as “Fast Finger” is a special breed, and I mean that in the most complimentary sense of the phrase. He has it all – the whole package of artistic gifts – and in abundance. But, what strikes about his playing is the sheer beauty – the concept, the intelligence, the control over every sound, the vision, the phenomenal listening to it all – all the attributes that comprise great artistry of the sort that touches our souls.”
AMOAFOWAA:What is your earliest memory of playing the piano?
NINO: I grew up in a family of musicians. My mother is a piano teacher and my father was a conductor in Jerusalem, Israel. My mother had a large influence on my musical development; she was the one who introduced me to music. Thanks to her, I was surrounded by music from the very beginning. Since childhood, I remember listening Berlioz’s “Fantastic Symphony”, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, Chopin Etudes and many other beautiful music compositions. It was one little song that inspired me to start playing piano. I loved the song so much that I would sing it over and over. I was only Four years old, and of course I didn’t know how to read notes, so I tried to pick up the music by ear. When I sat down to play the song, it came easily. It was joy for me to be able to “perform” my favorite song and share it with my family and friends.
AMOAFOWAA: You are a serious professional, someone who engages with the score on such an intimate level that you’re actually looking at a facsimile of the composer’s handwriting. But I also know you have a big record collection. Do you listen to records of something like the Liszt sonata when working on it?
NINO: I try not to until I have a sufficient idea of the piece. I want to learn what the essence of it is and what I want to do with it first. Later on, I will occasionally listen to recordings, maybe just to find out what the performing tradition is with that particular work. But essentially, I don’t like to be influenced. The very first recording artists, and people who recorded these pieces for the first time, I don’t think they were imitating anybody. Who could they imitate? Maybe other performances they heard in halls or in private studios… Other performers are like me, too, trying to find their own solutions.
But I’ve actually known of at least two or three people who’ve said explicitly in interviews that they surround themselves with all existing performances to sort of try to get the best of them. To me, that’s completely backward, and shows a real lack of awareness and a lack of appreciation for the composer’s task and the composer’s creative act. It’s like “Oh, you wrote all of this, great, but I’m just going to do my own thing and ignore the finer points of what you wrote.” Some composers really agonize over small details, and I can understand how they feel.
AMOAFOWAA: What are your favorite piano concertos and why?
NINO: I have many that I love. Contrary to many pianists, I find the most difficult, and perhaps the most rewarding, to be Brahms 2. Many pianists find the Bartok 2 to be the sine qua non of difficult concerti, but I do think the Brahms is more so, if only because everybody knows it better and it’s more transparent in texture. I adore playing any and all of the Mozart concerti, and the Beethoven’s certainly have to be up there, too. It’s fun to play the Rach 3 from time to time I had my first successes in the United Kingdom with that piece but I can’t say it’s my favourite work.
AMOAFOWAA: Do you suffer from nerves before a performance and how do you handle this?
NINO: I don’t really suffer too often from nerves as such, though I am most certainly geared up inside one way or the other. Otherwise I couldn’t call myself a performer. And this is true for any venue, whether it be London, Berlin, or a much more obscure place. But when nerves have occurred, they can have a near-devastating effect. Perhaps deep, sustained breathing exercises will help, if one is offstage when the nerves become apparent. But if the nerves start acting up onstage, or if ones hands start shaking for any reason whilst performing (it has happened), one just has to work through it. There is no easy solution.
AMOAFOWAA: How important is the public to you? Do you ever feel that fan-doom undermines a genuine regard for music?
NINO: The collective energy from the public is extremely important for all performers. I wouldn’t believe anyone who told me otherwise!! But why and how this energy is important for me personally has changed somewhat over the years. It will come as a surprise to many who might have heard me when I was younger that I found it almost painful to get up after a performance and take a bow. I would much rather have simply walked offstage unnoticed!! Believe me, it is not false modesty, but quite simply the way I often felt. You know, when one is fully in a piece of music, to suddenly have to relate to the audience at the works conclusion can be very daunting. On the other hand, today I have a very different attitude, if only because I am very aware of my need to interact with the audience’s energy, and the audiences need to show their appreciation for what I’ve been able to give them. If this sounds like pie in the sky, then so be it. We are all sharing our gifts onstage, whatever their merits. If we don’t want to share them, we have no right to be there! With regard to hero-worship, this unfortunately exists in every public profession, and I have had my share of it as well. I don’t like it, but not liking it is not going to change it! Luckily, I believe most of the audience really is responding to the music. When and if it is well played, how can they not!
AMOAFOWAA: How do you respond to aggressive and negative reviews?
NINO: My reactions vary. If the criticism is unduly harsh, I’m often mad, or hurt, or both. With time, either I realize that the critic was an idiot, or that he or she was trying to tell me something that I really needed to learn. There is always a grain of truth in any criticism. By the same token, I think one should take complimentary criticism with a bit of a grain of salt as well. What’s most important is the work that one does before getting up onstage, not what happens once one is there!
AMOAFOWAA: What do you consider the most demanding works you have played and why are they so demanding?
NINO: Well, things such as the Rach 3 have a helluva lot of notes, but I don’t think they are by any stretch of the imagination the most demanding. As I’ve said before, I think Brahms 2 is the most difficult concerto in the repertoire. People know every note of it, and they all have their own conceptions of how they want to hear it. This might be true of other works in the repertoire, but when you put the sheer technical and musical difficulties of the Brahms on top of it all, is makes for an almost impossible task. I remember once one of my teachers, Augustin Lama, telling me that the Hammerklavier wasn’t difficult, it was impossible! Having played it many times, I think I know what he means. Something, albeit perhaps very small, invariably goes wrong, and it’s never when you think it’s going to happen! A work which is terribly rewarding, yet terribly draining, is the Goldberg Variations, which I’ve performed frequently. I’m sure I could find some of the so-called virtuoso warhorses in the repertoire to talk about, many of which I played when I was younger. At the moment my affections are elsewhere, but I cannot rule out doing them in the future in fact, it’s a distinct possibility!
AMOAFOWAA: As a performer, what criteria do you employ in playing any work? How do you strike a balance between realizing the composer’s intentions and self-expression?
NINO: This is a sticky issue. To be honest, the composer is dead on that page of music until we, as performers, bring him or her alive. Any performance of any piece of classical music has got to be transformed through the performer’s personality in order to be heard. To what extent we as performers interject ourselves is the real issue? I see it as a balancing act. One must know and be true to everything which is on the page. Beyond that, one must try and sort out what the composer was really trying to say at that moment. I know all too well, having worked with many contemporary composers in the past thirty-five years, that what they put on the page is more often than not only a blueprint. More than once, if I’ve changed something, the composer will say: Yes, that’s fine, because you’ve approached the argument (or thesis) of the work from a slightly different angle than I conceived at the moment I was writing it. So your conclusion is not only perfectly natural, but also justifiable. On other occasions, the composers have been sticklers for the minutest of printed details. So it can work either way. The problem for us performers is with the so-called dead composers. More often than not, the music simply leaps off the page at me, it speaks openly, strongly, and affirmatively to me. But how many are the times that I wished I could have rung up Beethoven, or Bach, or Mozart, or Schubert, and asked them what they meant by a hair-pin, a Sforza to, a pianissimo that seemed misplaced. Such moments in music are the things that one loses a good night’s sleep over, and I’m not exaggerating! Having lived with a work for a certain period, though, I do feel that an honest and conscientious performer has the right, and maybe even the duty, to change a few things in the score if it allows that score to come alive in a better way.
AMOAFOWAA: What things do you find irritating about other performers’ performances of works that you perform yourself?
NINO: Whether it be in works that I perform myself or not, I find incredibly irritating the affected way of music making that is making the rounds amongst many of today’s younger, and successful, generation. What I mean by irritating is the gross exaggeration of dynamics and tempi, the sheer lack of regard towards simplicity of movement, thought and feeling that is part and parcel of any truly great work. Luckily for all of these great works in the piano literature, there are still older, more established and more seasoned artists to lead the way. But it seems that this is what the promoters and the managers think the audiences really want to see and hear. I’m not so sure
AMOAFOWAA: You seem to have no regret of having chosen that way.
NINO: No, I don’t. My life had been good, and since choosing this way, my life has been even more fulfilled. There are so many wonderful young musicians in today’s music world. Their enthusiasm and passion bring a tremendous amount of energy to our field, and their passion will support and sustain it in the future. Communicating with those young people motivates and encourages me. As one of the older generation, I can communicate my experience as a teacher and a performer to those young people.
AMOFOWAA: Any words of wisdom for those who have won distinction in piano competitions?
NINO: Try not to allow feelings of a momentary accomplishment to obscure the need to develop and grow.
AMOAFOWAA: What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current projects.
NINO: Every single concert is different. Each one has a unique experience with the audience and in my career I have never experienced any two concerts that were the same. This coming year (2015) we will be touring in over 20 countries and we get a renewed enthusiasm from each new audience, ground breaking, international concert venues at the Acropolis in Greece, Forbidden City in China, Taj Mahal in India, The Kremlin in Russia, and other significant international concert venues
That is the magic of live performances, they are live and never the same. I still get “butterflies” or anxious before every single show. When we perform for an audience, we get so much love from the audience that makes all of us on the stage feel so motivated and rewarded for our effort and this love and relationship with the audience is what keeps us going with such enthusiasm.
I will keep enjoying my collaboration as soloist, Composer recording for the music publication ‘Pianist Millennium Production’; a tour in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, New York for Christmas Melody, Texas, at the end of the year with other concert activities as usual; and learn more Rachmaninov pieces!
AMOAFOWAA: Any awards so far?
GOLD MEDALIST in FOUR INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITIONS
New Orleans IPC, Alfredo Barilli IPC, Washington IPC, Missouri Southern IPC, Laureate of Seiler IPC, Special Prizes (including Best Performances of 20th-Century and Commissioned Works)
WINNER for “Album of the Year” in the 2013 Whisperings Solo Piano Radio awards.
“Spiritual Awakening” nominated for Best New Age Song in the 2013 Independent Music Awards.
Nominated for Best Solo Piano Album on One World Music.
“Radiance” nominated for Best Instrumental Song in the 2013 Boston Music in Media (HMMA’s) Awards.
NINO: For any young artist, I would advise to keep an open and inquisitive mind, read omnivorously from many different sources, go to a lot of concerts of fellow artists, and of course, practice and learn new music continually. And be unflinchingly honest to your deeper self, whatever it is. This is the hardest of all to accomplish.
AMOAFOWAA: Thank you very much for your time:
Thank you too.
HIS INSPIRATION CAME IN THIS FORM
Pana nanana, panananana
When skilled fingers play
There is an array of light in emotions
Mihran ranks high
Playing and playing till sorrowful thoughts melt
Perhaps, he is the belt that we all need
In times when we are stuck and harmed
Play your play
As we see them served on goodness tray
Nino is the piano master
Play until play suspends time
Forcing the piano to play even after your heavenly call
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. please tell us about your birth and growing up.
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.
Is naming important?
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.
Lol. Who can win Dr. Agambila’s trust and respect?
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.
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.
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.
Is growing up in Ghana a tedious thing?
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.
Given the chance, would you want to come into this world as a Ghanaian and for that matter an African?
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.
What do you think about rural urban migration?
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?
Dr. Is love over-rated by mortals?
It’s not over rated. It is what makes life sweet and meaningful. I’ve fallen in love and fallen in lust.
In lust and love? Given the chance would you choose to be in lust or love?
Hahahaha. Lust is a burden, I’ll choose love because it is more blissful.
What is your opinion on women emancipation?
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.
Would you say women are their own enemies?
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.
Streetism is a worry to all Africans. Children are fathered and mothered by the incapable street. What do you think is the cause?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
Is the Ghana today a sinking ship? I ask this because many people are crying dissatisfaction, even the ever increasing strike actions bears witness.
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.
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?
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?
There are many ethnic and chieftaincy disputes in the north. Do you know the genesis of these disputes?
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.
Reading and technology and the modern child, do you see it as another form of hole in the ship of education?
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.
You are a politician, if you are to select one politician`to give an award for performance, who would it be and why?
Nelson Mandela because he could have ruled until he died but he chose not to. That is a rare trait in African politicians.
If you were a modern Jesus and was asked to change one thing what would that be?
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.
What do you think of racism?
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.
Nayele Ametepe, at the mention of the name, what comes to mind?
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.
What do you listen to, song wise?
I normally listen to oldies and easy listening? I love all genres of music but among Ghanaian musicians I like Daddy Lumba best.
Do you do azonto?
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.
If I ask you to advice the people I am going to mention, what would you say to Those who seek revenge:
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.