The 'Volta Rebels', much ado about nothing?

Ghana Thinks

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As I sit and ponder about the mayhem and misunderstanding happening far away in Catalonia, some 4000 miles through the Sahara, I can’t but wonder if I should be directly concerned. I mean, I have no relative in Spain talkless of the disputed region, so who cares?

It is, of course, melancholic that humans will stoop low enough to end each other because of what? A simple right as to who should man a region. Two words are being disputed between these dudes seriously, autonomous and independent, synonyms if you ask me. 

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Catalan Rally

So if some political barons far away somewhere can’t agree over synonyms, why should I, a simple college boy on the coast of the Guinea worry myself? And why should you worry yourself too? It’s really not worth our while…

Or, is it?

Well if we should worry, then there should be a compelling reason. And talking about reasons, let’s find out why the conflict, why civilians are losing their lives for the advancement of a course some of them do not understand.

Catalonia is an autonomous region in Spain. Since 1922, there has been a nationalist movement which seeks to attain independence for the region that has across the years of feuding, been granted autonomy to some extent.

Why independence you ask? The secessionists claim Catalonia is rich in resources which are used to feed the rest of the country to the detriment of the Catalan. A usual complaint worldwide no? Well, yeah.

Talk about Biafra in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

But why or maybe how does the Catalonia Dispute relate to the common Ghanaian? How does it relate to the hawker at Okponglo traffic light or how does it concern the Accra-Hohoe driver whose only dream is for the Eastern Corridor roads to be completed.

Well, let me take you to the beginning, the very beginning.

For lack of time and to save you the boredom I will skip the details of Don Diego D’azambuja and his exploits but consequently, colonialism swept through Africa and after the Berlin Conference and it seemed the West was united against the otherwise “dark continent”.

Well, these ‘wise men’ who were supposed to enlighten the dark ones held the world to ransom in what has become known as World War I and after the war ended in 1918, the victors seized all colonial territories of the losers, Germany who were largely blamed for the war. And Togoland [Present day Togo and Volta Region and part of Northern and Upper East region] was part of these territories.

England and France, however, decided to split this portion of land like my good friend Land Minister will say, Kelewele.

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The West became known as British Togoland (the majority East known as French Togo) and in 1956, a United Nations Resolution caused the natives to vote in a plebiscite to join neighboring Ghana which was attaining independence from same colonial masters. Now, this is where the ‘dispute’ begins.

In recent times, the secessionist group based in the Volta Region, [which forms the greater part of the Trans-Volta Togoland] has challenged or I should say interpreted the terms of the 1956 agreement in a way that suits their agenda.

Let’s take a look at their claims and be judges of whether or not they have a point.

The group, Homeland Study Group Foundation claims according to (Amenyo, 2008) that, “there was a promise of a review of the union agreement after 50 years”.

Based on this purported clause, the group stayed clean from the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Ghana and agitated for succession talks since the jubilee marked the spark of the clause. Of course, no one took them serious, lol.

Graphiconline also reported in February 2016 that, the group renewed their claims and cited that “Western Togoland voted to become a union with the Gold Coast (now Ghana) but the union had not been established up till now and that Ghana opted to be a unitary state under the 1956 referendum to be in union with a common constitution with the Western Togoland and the Gold Coast but there had been no unionized constitution up to date” as their reason for seeking a breakaway for the aforementioned territories.   

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They have sent petitions to various authorities including the Queen of England, Elizabeth II to come to their aid.

Now we know the West to be experts in meddling in internal affairs of African countries, that’s fairly undisputed. But let’s see if the West has a reason or any interest in interfering with this particular situation.

The United Kingdom for instance, in my opinion, is going to stay clear as they have thus far, from a matter like this one because they want to keep their Kingdom as that, a Kingdom and not small countries scattered around and after Southern Ireland broke away from that union, we know most of the factions have been pushing to break away as well. And if the UK is to interfere here, then the secessionist in groups in the UK are sure to push for their own independence as well.

After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. 

The almighty USA will not venture into this matter because of the infamous American Civil War that was based on same secessionist ideas. Do not forget that war led to the death of their greatest president, Abraham Lincoln.

The war resulted in a causality count of some 1,030,000 persons most of whom died. For a breakdown of that, click here.

And if that doesn’t horrify you enough, let’s take a look at our West African Anglophone neighbors.

The Biafra War fought between the Nigerian center and the secessionist Biafra state.

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Somewhere July 1967, a military junta in South-Eastern Nigeria declared independence for the Biafra state.

The reason seemed fairly reasonable if you ask me. During the partitioning of Africa, the whites paid no attention to the ethnic diversities before putting groups together as colonies and later countries, so Nigeria a heavily ethnic diverse state was a victim of such canker, if I may call it. 

The Hausas concentrated in the North, Yoruba in the West and Igbo in the East. Now the few minority Igbo in the North were facing all forms of discrimination and thousands of them were reported to have been killed in the short period preceding the declaration of Independence.

Now the Nigerian government didn’t accept this declaration and thus the Nigerian Civil War. 1Million people died in the two years that the war lasted. That’s beside the number that were displaced from their homes and had to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

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Saddening.

In January of 1970, the Biafra State surrendered and the idea seemed over. Well, that was until the group known as IPOB popped up.

IPOB or the Indigenous People Of Biafra is a group that has reignited the idea of a Republic of Biafra.

Led by one Nnamdi Kano, the group has held walks both home and abroad and are pushing for Biafra to happen within the shortest possible time, if you’ll permit me to put it so.

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Nnamdi Kano

150 people who took part in one of the IPOB marches have been reported to be killed by the Nigerian Armed Forces, a claim authorities have denied.

Now, Ghana is a unitary state which means the regions have no level of independence or autonomy, unlike in Spain’s Catalonia or Nigeria’s Biafra, so if such units have failed in their succession attempt, I refuse to see the slimmest chance that the Homeland Study Group has in their perilous quest of succeeding Volta Region and parts of the north from Ghana.

Some members of the group have already been arrested and charged with treason, well I should state that they were forgiven and a lighter charge was leveled against them, not that that’s important to my topic.

They may have had a concrete case if Ghana hadn’t voted to be a unitary state but that’s if there’s any veracity to their claims.

But if that’s the case then let me play the role of a Christian and say the old covenant has passed and we are under the new and the everlasting covenant.

Ghana is a nation and since there cannot be a nation in a nation, they should give us a break. There cannot be an Ewe nation or Volta nation if you like.

I won’t bore you any further, the reason I took you this trajectory is that, the secessionist group in the Volta Region, from where I stand do not know the consequences of their demands, which is ultimately a civil war, that’s should they succeed in luring a good number of jobless and desperate youth to join their course.

Flashback, the Catalonia dispute may not necessarily concern you, but the very duplicate of that is under our nose. Now we may believe it has been crushed by the courts and their minute number even highlights the point that we should pay no attention to them, fair enough! but I believe that’s what the vulture thought about the rains,

…it was never a cause for worry

…until it was.