By Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
The Northern Development Forum (NDF) is calling on all persons of influence from Northern Ghana to work assiduously for peace in the region.
According to the group, any misguided attempts at achieving an elusive and ultimately destructive ethnic hegemony will only lead to conflict, destruction, and death.
The call was contained in a statement signed by the Chairman of Northern Development Forum, Major Albert Don Chebe (Rtd.).
“We should use our influence in the various traditional councils for peace, unity, and equitable development in the district and municipal assemblies to preach peace and advocate for dialogue in the event of boundary disagreements and land disputes,” the statement said.
Portions of the statement read: “News about ethnic clashes in the North Gonja District of the Savannah Region that have resulted in the destruction of lives, property, and livelihoods have been received with sadness and sorrow by the Northern Development Forum (NDF).
Against a background of debilitating poverty, atrocious living conditions, and deteriorating physical infrastructure, it is depressing to hear about another clash between groups who have shared a common heritage of neglect, lack of development, and poverty.
The NDF is distressed that, in spite of the reality of our common challenges, some persons are quick to resort to acts of destruction and despoliation to satisfy claims to ethnic hegemony.
It is an incontrovertible fact that these clashes and the resultant acts of destruction of livelihoods and the displacement of vulnerable rural communities contribute to the damaging narrative of an inhospitable environment coupled with belligerent citizens prone to destruction at the least provocation.
The NDF wishes to call on children of Northern Ghana to reflect on the immeasurable damage these flare-ups do to the image of the North and the ready ammunition given to our detractors. and ‘unfriendly interests, to use these unfortunate incidents to deny vast swathes of peaceful Northern Ghana physical infrastructure, social amenities, and economic opportunities.
Once again, the NDF is appealing to Northern Traditional Authorities, Ethnic Associations, and Development Organisations to intensify initiatives to minimise the minor linguistic differences among the peoples of Northern Ghana and rather highlight the major similarities that should serve to unify us as Ghanaians with a common destiny.
The North Gonja clashes must not be allowed to define the future relations between two hitherto friendly neighbours. The peoples of Northern Ghana have a common enemy called poverty, and we need to combine all our efforts and energies to fight this enemy”.