I knew some charlatan was going to see the headline of “Dagbon Youth Want Befitting Palace for New Ya-Naa,” seize on it by jumping to the irredeemably illiterate and gratuitous conclusion that such demand was being made of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, simply because it was Nana Akufo-Addo who brought the 17-year-old Yendi Chieftaincy Crisis to a definitive resolution, with the conclave selection and induction or investiture of the former chief of Savelugu, Ya-Naa Abukari Mahama, II, as the new Overlord of the Dagbon Traditional Kingdom.
The fact of the matter is that nowhere in the contents of the first referenced news article do the Dagbon youths make any demands or appeal to President Akufo-Addo for the construction of a new palace for the new King of Yendi and the Dagbon Traditional Kingdom. Rather, we have my favorite Ghanaian mayor, the Mayor of Tamale, Mr. Iddrisu Musah Superior, a longtime staunch backer of then-Candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo when it mattered most in those days when nearly every one of us, The Elephant’s Scions, wore flak jackets and fought fierce hand-to-hand battles on two fronts, both internally and externally, wisely knocking heads in a global Dagomba crunch-session and suggesting some of the most effective ways of raising the requisite funding for the construction of a new Gbewaa Palace.
You see, it is such unprovoked and gratuitous abuse and insults from faux-socialists like Mr. Kofi Thompson that have sparked civil wars and other forms of internecine conflicts around the world in the recent past. Absolutely no Dagomba scion or Dagbonite has asked Mr. Thompson for his insolent opinions. And yes, the critic is right, there are quite a remarkable number of well-heeled and enterprising Ghanaians of Dagbon descent who can step up to the plate, as it were, and have, indeed, already committed themselves to the noble venture of having a new fitting palace constructed for Ya-Naa Abukari Mahama, II, and all the other Dagbon Overlords yet to come after the present one.
Indeed, I was about to contribute my ideational widow’s mite, as it were, by suggesting that even when the new palace had been constructed, the old historic one needed to be preserved for purposes of historical continuity and the collective memory of the people of Dagbon, and for tourist attraction, as well, and not just the one that has yet to be constructed. At any rate, Mr. Thompson’s inexcusably insulting article reminded me of that classic old song which we used to belt when I was a teen attending Akropong Salem, the Presbyterian Middle Boys’ Boarding School at Akuapem-Akropong, in the early 1970s. I think this choral song was composed by an American musician. In Ghana, however, it was popularized by the Ishmael Adams-led gospel group called “The Voices of Labone.”
And the song was called “Gossip, Gossip, Evil Thing,” and it ran as follows: “Gossip, gossip/ Evil thing, / Much unhappiness/ It brings, / If you can’t say/ Something nice/ Don’t talk at all / is my [solemn] advice….”
To be certain, when I first considered writing about the proposal for the construction of a new Gbewaa Palace to synch with the new era and vision and the spirit of the times in the rejuvenated Kingdom of Dagbon, the Mayor of Tamale, Osman Iddrisu Musah Superior, had just announced that a stakeholders’ meeting had been scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 26, 2019. So why all this silly and gratuitous attack and insult to the intelligence of the good and resilient people of Yendi and the Dagbon State at large?
Of course, it goes without saying that a prompt and unqualified apology from Mr. Thompson to the youths and people of Yendi and Dagbon would be in order. His sort of inexcusably egregious blunder, or perhaps even willful abuse, is called “Media Illiteracy,” that is, the patently puerile knee-jerk response to newspaper and media headlines without paying the requisite and critical attention to the actual contents underneath those headlines.
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