In the nostalgic Malshegu Community of my early years, I grew up amongst the Dagombas and amidst the other minor tribes; we came into regular contact with other tribes of northern descent. As a result, I can confidently claim to be a well-grounded Northerner with enough knowledge of, and empathy with Northerners from different ethnic origins.

Traditional Dancers at Sandema, Feok Festival

Whilst most of the Northerners at the top who I had experience with were unsupportive and even unkind, almost in all instances, others were kind, gentle and ready to lend a hand in lifting someone else up.
It was always an interesting sight to behold seeing another northerner who was better off in society accepting the responsibility of pulling along the less privileged to also climb the ladder.

This could have been one of the factors that led to some northerners seeing the four walls of a classroom and today can pride themselves as experts in one field or the other. I believe they remain indebted to these generous neighbours who without a blink of an eye put them where they are today.
I was also made to believe northerners were more accommodating to each other in the event they were outside the confines of their home region.

They treated each other with love eventually earning them the accolade “Ntaafuo” to wit “Twins” in Akan.
Our brothers from the South became ‘envious’ of our common living and association they found it hard to explain why we even in some cases will prefer to buy and wear the same brand of clothes, eat the same food or do things in a similar fashion while on ‘Greener Pastures’.
I guess that was the reason we were labeled twins because we lived our lives as such and till date some do in some cases.

It never mattered which part of the North you came from. Once you identified yourself as a Northerner, you were immediately adopted as a sister or brother and introduced to others as same although you may not necessarily be related by family or blood.
The aim was to ensure that he/she found comfort and was able to forge ahead in the pursuit of whatever the person sought to do.

It is however sad that a new phenomenon I will prefer to call “Pull Him Down” has crept into the relationships of the Northerner which is gradually inhibiting the fortunes of the not only the personality behind, but also thwarting the developments of the North.

Pull Him Down (PHD) syndrome

It is not over emphasizing to state that in the downfall of every Northerner, be it in politics, religion, social life and other spheres, there is a colleague Northerner behind.

This is to say we take the glory, contrary to our beliefs to seek the downfall of our brothers or sisters in leadership and enviable positions for our parochial interests, even to the extent of peddling falsehood to back our stance. The situation has become more pronounced within our political circles in particular that some persons are willing to go to all lengths in ensuring that their opponents are brought ‘down’ or fail in their endeavors.

Disheartening is the fact that this development has eaten into the minds of supporters of these individuals who without recourse to the fact the North is lagging behind in various areas, are also willing to tow the line of their paymasters.

While illiteracy, ignorance, poverty and disease continue to battle with us, we rather take comfort in the fact that our efforts have been geared towards ensuring the failures of our brothers and sisters just because we perceive them as enemies.

We pull each other down, embody our collective destructiveness and remain insensitive to our development needs and refract all the weak civic virtues undermining Ghana’s progress.

The Northerner has failed to speak up against bad governments and other negative developments and have also become “primitive” in an increasing modernized world that we have projected deadly superstitions that are key dabblers of juju-marabou just to get our brothers of the way, in order to satisfy our egos

Other parts of the country are witnessing vigorous development primarily because major actors, despite their differences in politics, religion and ethnicity are concerned about the welfare of their people.

The same situation can however not be said about the North as we are so comfortable with just being comfortable with where we are and take delight in using our positions to victimize our colleague Northerners because they may be attempting to catch up with us.

I am saddened, angry and disappointed that truth which hitherto was the bedrock of the northerner earning the accolade ‘Preprenfo)’ meaning “truthful persons” has indeed fled from us.

Lies, deceit and propaganda have now become our newly found love which gradually is eroding our efforts to reaching our destination for a socially and economically developed Northern Ghana.
Until we revisit our roots, I leave you with a quote of Malcolm X’ I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against’

By Stephen Zoure

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