Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


A fallen member of the Mafia

I notice that the article headlined 'The fall of the Kaduna Mafia' was written by a 'Special Correspondent'. Are we to conclude that the special correspondent is a fallen member of the Mafia? Normally it is only people who used to be part of a Mafia and have fallen out for one reason or another, who are able to squeal on their former organisation, identities, etc.

It would have been interesting to disclose the identity of your special correspondent so that your readers can at least speculate on his role while he was a member.

Or could it be that like all other ex- members of a Mafia, he is worried about what his former colleagues will do to him when they get their hands on him?

It is a well-known fact that the mafia does not forgive those who betray their comrades, so your 'special correspondent' must watch out.

T.S. Anao, London

An honourable group

Do you have an address for the Kaduna Mafia? They sound like an interesting group to which I wouldn't mind joining. A group of people who get together to protect the interests of their people ought to be admired. Nobody has accused them of murder or fraud or any of the terrible things normally associated with the Mafia.

People therefore ought to be proud to belong to them and quite sincerely, I would want to belong to them.

Umaru Abubakar, Leeds

Brave Idiagbon

One thing, though, you have to say for Major-General Tunde Idiagbon is that he has gone back to Nigeria. He will hopefully have an opportunity to answer the accusations that have been levelled against him by the new administration of Major-General Babangida.

By this one action of having returned to Nigeria, he has proved that he is not a coward. That is much more than you can say for some other people who RAN AWAY from Nigeria when their administrations were overthrown and have since then consistently refused to return to answer the many charges levelled against them.

General Tunde Idiagbon might have been a tyrant, but a coward, certainly he wasn't.

We shall all await to see what real charges will be brought against him since we all know by now that there is a world of difference between 'charges made in speeches and real charges to merit prosecution.

A. Ganiyu, Bristol

Soldiers, pensions and patriotism

Supposing Ghanaians can assure Major John Sokpor (rtd) and other retired soldiers like him (Talking Drums, September 23, 1985) that their pensions will be paid even when there is constitutional rule, will our uniformed countrymen leave the country in peace?

I doubt that anybody has ever suggested that civilian administrators in Ghana have not "been arrogant and insulting to the electorate on national as well as constitutional matters in Ghana," quote Maj. Sokpor. It is interesting to note however that while Maj. Sokpor was able to recount instances of civilian government being arrogant, etc, he could not bring out a single instance of the "reformist military regimes" terrorising the whole country.

There was the Acheampong regime which came, according to Maj. Sokpor because of Busia's disrespect towards the constitution and the labelling of one tribe as inward-looking and presided over the most corrupt and chaotic regime ever in Ghana.

Then there is the current PNDC Nigerian Society. Right wing elements which has presided over murders, state terrorism, gagging of the press, establishments of so-called people's tribunals etc, etc.

Is he saying that for the sake of his pension Ghanaians should put up with these terrors? If he loves Ghana and all that worries him is his pension he might consider forfeiting the pension to leave Ghana in peace.

Steve Asiedu, London

You cannot be serious, Talking Drums!

I write to congratulate you on the second anniversary of your publication which has now undoubtedly established itself amongst West Africans in the UK, and maybe elsewhere, as a peddler of the absurd and the ludicrous.

Keep up the good job. Everyone needs publications like yours once in a while. After several hours of reading serious journalism, a few moments spent on your type of journalism can do no harm. Your problem is not so much your ignorance but the fact that you know too many things which are just not correct. It is now as clear as daylight why your editor cannot return to Ghana. However much you mis- represent records, the following are well-known amongst Nigerians especially Hausas.

1. Your reference to General Buhari as General Dan Buzu is laughable. He is from Daura Emirate. Amongst Hausas, Buzus come from Southern Zaria.

2. General Idiagbon is back in Nigeria to answer Babangida's charges - can Elizabeth Ohene go back to Ghana?

3. Before the 1983 coup, Umaru Dikko had always denied the existence of the so-called Kaduna Mafia. Incidentally, Babangida and Abacha are reputed to be members of the group.

4. Umaru Dikko was defeated in his own home town in the 1979 elections. He now lives in a house said to be worth £350,000.

5. While it is okay for a petty criminal to be kept in prison for upwards of 3 years awaiting trial, it is tyranny to detain a politician for 20 months awaiting trial on suspicion of stealing millions.

6. Every method has been tried to curb corruption in Nigeria, especially the type that allows ex-ministers to acquire houses with sterling and dollars, none has succeeded so far. Buhari will go down in history as the first leader to take the Bull by the Horn by introducing long jail sentences for corruption. He is the first Nigerian leader to insist on accountability by everyone however important in and half-baked journalists who because of crumbs from the master's table are willing to lick boots label Buhari a tyrant who suppresses human rights.

7. This definitely cannot be the last coup in Nigeria. Next time round, it could be fire and not jail sentences. Remember Rawlings and Doe. There will always be a next time.

Ahmadu Wali. London

The foreigners in the Ghana Army

The day the Ghurkas start interfering in the political affairs of the United Kingdom, they would be considered a menace. It is because non-Ghanaian nationals who have joined our armed forces have played such prominent roles that people are beginning to worry about their role. The Gurkhas fight FOR Britain, they do not become an occupation force.

If we want to talk about what people say when they are out of power and what they say and do once in power, the Ghanaian soldiers have the worst record.

At least with the politicians we know that we put them there, can the same be said of Major Sokpor and his colleagues.

Ibrahim Anda, Tottenham, London

The politics of football

The recent rumpus that erupted after the football match between Ghana and Ivory Coast is most unfortunate. My own feeling is that the football match and the so-called unsubstantiated attack on Ivorians in Ghana which supposedly triggered off the genocide in Ivory Coast is all a fake. The Ivorians wanted an excuse, any excuse, to attack Ghanaians. It is tragic that Ghanaians have become such soft targets for everybody. Obviously the Ivorians resented the presence of the Ghanaians in their country and seized this opportunity to vent their anger against them. It is pathetic that once proud Ghanaians have been reduced to such a state and people who in the old days were struggling to be houseboys in Ghana are now kicking Ghanaians around.

Obviously it is time all Ghanaians went home to build our dear country to stop further humiliation of our people.

Ama Bonsu, Ilford, Essex

Solving the food problem

The proposed large scale farming by the Ghana-Libya-Arab company planned to cover 7,560 hectares out of which 3,730 hectares will be irrigated (Talking Drums, July 15, 1985) can help boost food production in the country.

The authorities concerned with the deal should also consider tackling the problems facing the food crop farmers because the Ghana Libya venture alone cannot provide enough food to feed the nation. Moreover, Libya is not a country that can grant huge sums of money to any country without any strings attached. The people must be informed about the conditions on the deal. If we look at the whole deal superficially we may think that Libya is offering free economic assistance to Ghana. The crops which are being cultivated can never do well on the Libyan Saharan soil. These are maize, groundnuts and other food crops which are the favourite crops of Libyans.

The Ghana-Libya-Arab Agriculture Company should nonetheless find long term solutions to the nation's agricultural problems. The area which needs more attention is the storage facilities for the farmers produce which the previous military regimes failed to solve.

Silos should be constructed in all the maize growing areas in Ghana so that crops stored can be used during the lean season to off-set any shortages. The forest regions of Ghana should deserve special attention of the company because these produce more maize than the rest of the country.

K.S. Awusu-Appiah, West Germany

talking drums 1985-09-30 Ghana Now Inconsistencies and Realities - Miriam Makeba