The Sixth Edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines ethnocentric as “based on the ideas and beliefs of one particular culture or race, using these to judge other cultures”. This is not an attitude or behaviour that is accepted in any civilized or democratic society and must be collectively condemned wherever it is emerging. All well-meaning Ghanaians will agree that the recent media reports of two groups clashing over the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer ( CEO) for the Tamale Teaching Hospital was uncalled for and undermines the legitimacy of appointing authorities. It is significant to note that both Dr. Prosper Akanmbong and Dr. David Zaawumya Akolbila hail from the Upper East Region and must have been appointed to the high office of CEO of the Tamale Teaching Hospital on merit and not because of the region they come from. This is not the first time the traditional chiefs in the Tamale Metropolis are reported to have allegedly sanctioned demonstrations and disruptions of handing over ceremonies especially at the Northern Regional Health and Education Directorates.
For instance, in 2015, the youth demonstrated and disrupted the handing over ceremony at the Regional Health Directorate. The then Regional Director, Dr Twumasi had attained the compulsory retirement age of 60 years and was to hand over to Dr. Kofi Issah. Ironically, Dr. Issah had served in the same directorate for many years before accepting a routine transfer to the Upper West Region as Deputy Regional Director in charge of public health. The reason was simple; he was not a citizen because he hails from the Upper East Region. The Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service as well as the Regional Coordinating Council kept mute and saw nothing wrong. Earlier, Dr. Ken Sagoe, the then first CEO of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, who before his appointment, was the Director of Human Resources of the Ghana Health Service Headquarters, faced stiff opposition but remained resolute before he retired and paved the way for Dr Prosper Akanbong’s appointment amidst controversy. It must be placed on record that Dr. Rasmus Adongo, now on retirement as the Director of Planning, Budget, Monitoring and Evaluation, GHS, Headquarters, is an indigene of the Upper East Region, but headed the regional directorates of the Upper West and Western Regions.
Currently, the Ashanti Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Alexis Nang-baefoba, is from the Upper West Region. The immediate past Medical Director of the Accra Regional Hospital (former Ridge Hospital), Dr. Abanga hails from the Upper East Region. In all these transfers and appointment, the youth and chiefs of the Upper West, Ashanti, Western and Greater Accra Regions never resisted appointments on the bases of ethnicity. Apart from the health directorates, it has happened to one or two people from other regions, especially the Upper West Region who were posted to the Wa Municipal Directorate of Education. This is unbecoming of the Tamale Metropolis and we must call a spade a spade. Those who practice ethos: the moral idea and attitudes that belong to a particular group or society must ensure respect and decency for other groups and societies. When shall we as a people, restore the Ghanaian identity in terms of values and passion?
For the Kandahar Boys and the Coalition of Dagbon Youth, the least said about them the better. Long live Ghana, long live Ghanaians and shame unto those who exhibit ethnocentric tendencies.
BY DAN OSMAN MWIN, HEAD OF PUBLIC RELATIONS OF THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION.