Togbega’s Headache

The year was 1974, October. The University of Ghana Legon opened its doors for fresh admissions into First Year. In those days, unlike today where there are over 15 law faculties in countless universities, Legon was the only place where future lawyers were trained.

The students assembled, for LAW, including sixth form leavers from Achimota, Prempeh, Mfanstipim, Mawuli, Bishop Herman        you name them.

We were about 70 in all, including Nkrabeah Effah Dartey, (Achimota) and Charles Hayibor (Bishop Herman).

Years later, our lives criss crossed, especially in the courtroom, with lawyer Hayibor first under lawyer E.D. Kom in Naoferg Chambers, and later he and his friend, Gyabeng in their own firm.

One thing I always remember about Charles is that he told me one day in Court that his father is the chief of Anfoega and when the father dies he will be the next chief but he is not interested in chieftaincy – wearing big cloths and all that…

Then his father died, and almost against his will, Charles Hayibor – a very soft spoken quiet tall personality – was enstooled TOGBE TOPRE HODO IV Paramount Chief of Anfoega Traditional Area.

Less than 6 months or so ago he was elected by popular ballot to become
President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs after serving for two terms as Vice President of the House.

Last Monday, 4 October 2021, he addressed a special development forum of all MPs, DCEs and Chiefs in Volta Region at Ho and all the media carried what he said. The story was so touching I said it must not go untouched.

Togbega Topre Hodo IV, according to reports, spoke from his heart, he said down to earth practical home truths that is relevant to every chief in Ghana, every MP, every DCE.

Charles Hayibor is not a politician, and even though I am a politician and his bosom friend, we never talk politics – always it is about law, law and law, never politics, but listening to him, pouring forth his heart out, I thought the man was up to the limit. And I can understand.

What is the point, calling yourself a very successful lawyer, living plush executive life in Accra, then going home to Anfoega, regularly, seeing so much poverty around, so much suffering, MAN MADE DEPRIVATION around!!!

As Vice President of Volta Regional House of Chiefs, and now President, he is a member of the National House of Chiefs, so he goes very often to Kumasi, and he sees SELF MADE rich men in Ashanti, he sees private executive mansions in the Ashanti towns – EJISU, JUABEN, MAMPONG, BEPOSO, KONONGO, EJURA – not to mention Bono Region – BEREKUM, SUNYANI, BECHEM and his heart bleeds.

With all those power brokers in Ghana from Volta Region – the late superstar JJ Rawlings, Captain Kojo Tsakata, Kofi Awoonor, Tommy Amematekpor, Raymond Okudzeto, Togbe Afede name them why is Volta Region so deprived?

Togbega gave it hard to the DCEs, MPs and opinion leaders assembled …………………………………………………………. “stop quarrelling among yourselves and let us develop our people.”

I really wish the full text of his speech can be printed out in the media for all to read, because the message in there is not just for DCEs, MPs and chiefs in Volta Region -IT IS FOR ALL IN GHANA.

My party, NPP – we nearly lost the 2020 General Elections because mainly DCEs were at loggerheads with the MPs, especially in our strongholds, so much that the undermining and sabotage were too much.

Why should DCEs and MPs be quarrelling? What is at stake? Influence? Power struggle? Control of the public purse? What is the problem?

I strongly commend all the 18 members of Parliament from Volta Region who organized the Development Forum. I commend all the DCEs and Chiefs who turned up, the Regional Minister, Volta Development forum and all stakeholders.

How I wish this could be replicated in all the regions!!!

Your see, reader, I keep saying all the time, that NOBODY WILL COME TO DEVELOP YOUR COMMUNITY FOR YOU. Period.

Look at Nana Addo, currently President of Ghana – do you think he can carry all the money of Ghana to go and transform Akropong – his father’s hometown or Kyebi – his mother’s hometown into little New York cities? Of course not.

The best he or anybody can do is perhaps to pull down his ancestral birth place and put up a skyscraper there, but no more. You, the people, yourselves, through your levies, your taxes, your assemblyman, your DCE, your MP you yourself must brighten the corner where you are!!!!

Let me end with two short stories about two villages in Volta Region – Ho East.

During 2004 General Elections in my capacity as Deputy Minister for Local Government, I followed challenger/aspiring NPP-Parliamentary Candidate Elizabeth Ohene to a village called HLEFI near Ho, where the people on their own led by their chief through simple taxes of 1 cedi per month per head have completely TRANSFORMED the village – with amenities, street lights, post office, police station – wow…..

The other village – opposite, called PODOE – reader, in my address to them I told them that you have been voting NDC NDC since 1992 – what has NDC done for you all these years?

Look at you -growing old daily, with poverty suffering around you try Elizabeth Ohene and NPP for the next four years to see whether there will be no difference.

I was told NPP won massively in that one polling station village when elections were held but overall in the Constituency NDC won as usual.

Reader Togbega Topre Hodo IV has said it all- unite for development – don’t wait for anybody to come and develop your place for you.

But will they listen?

By Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey