The Okyeman Youth for Development (OYD), a pressure group in the Akyem-Abuakwa Traditional Area in the Eastern Region has expressed displeasure about ex-president John Mahama’s statement which described the people from the area as ‘Sakawa boys’ or ‘Mafia’
The ex-president who is also the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in a facebook post supposedly written by Isaac Adongo, the Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga described Akyems as ‘Sakawa Boys’ and Grandpas who should not be in government.
The group said the statement is ethnocentric and has therefore given the ex-president a week to retract and apologise to the people of Akyem for the unsavory statement.
General Secretary of the group, Daniel Obeng Acquah, addressing a press conference at Akyem – Apedwa said the shared post on ex-President Mahama’s official Facebook page, is a tribalitic statement that can disrupt the peace in the region.
The Youth noted that the unfortunate comment have led to Akyems being ridiculed by the public.
The Youth expressed that in March 2014, Mr Mahama used derogatory words against the Akyems when he (John Mahama) tagged Kyebi, the traditional capital of Akyem Abuakwa as “Galamsey Headquarters”.
Again, the then Eastern Regional Communications Director of the NDC, Baba Jamal Konneh, described the Akyems as ungrateful if they fail to vote for then-President John Mahama in February 2016.
“The Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NDC, Kwame Zu in September 2019 said “until potable water was provided for the Okyenhene and his people, they drunk unwholesome water with animals,” he said.
“Also, in March 2016, Bismarck Tawiah Boateng and Apau Haruna Owiredu former regional executive of Eastern regional NDC used unprintable words on the overlord of Akyem Abuakwa His Royal Majesty Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin which as a matter of decency cannot be re-echoed”.
The OYD noted, that historically, the political history of Ghana cannot be recounted without particular emphasis to the exploits made by the Akyem people.
According to the group, Akyem is a great kingdom whose reputation has never been questioned and any attempt to malign the Akyem people will fiercely be resisted.
“Also, it may interest John Mahama to know that the first black ruler in Sub-Saharan Africa to be conferred the title of a “SIR”, was from Akyem (Sir Nana Ofori Atta I ) an enviable title given to people with exceptional capabilities, and had proven himself to be the “moving machine” of national development. How can descendants of such a ruler and other many rulers whose contributions had projected Ghana to the global space be branded by the ex-president as “Sakawa Boys” in his shared post? This is unpresidential and H.E John Mahama should render an unqualified apology and be made to appease the spirits of the Akyem gods whose blessings have kept the kingdom till date” the OYD stated.
The Youth explained that “We are dumbfounded because H.E John Mahama with a degree in history should not have gone on that tangent. As a historian one he should know that unity is paramount in nation-building and we call for absolute eradication of tribal comments hence the need to desist from such divisive comments”.
They said “the late Joseph Boakye Kyeretwie Danquah proud son of Akyem who is credited with the name “Ghana,” said,” Tribal statement and a bite of a snake is of no difference”. “Let’s all learn from this great adage, desist from such comments and project Ghana first”.