In Africa, there are different cultures and diverse title for the traditional Leaders, In Ghana a King is popularly called Chief. Exclusive International magazine in search of quality traditional leaders across Africa also caught up with another amazing leader, Nana Obokumatta IX, the Traditional leader of Gomoa Dasum, a town in the central region of the Republic of Ghana. The Editor of this Magazine, Moses Owopade spoke on various issues with this visionary and passionate leader who has touched many lives and still counting. Enjoy the conversation:
EIM: Nana Obokumatta, it is a pleasure having us today, Please tell us how you became the nana of this town?
Nana Obokumatta: Thanks for having me in your magazine, Yes in Ghana, especially here in my town, it is the son of a woman that becomes the leader- Nana, after the demise of my Uncle, I became the next person to assume the office. By the grace of God if I also grow old and go, none of my sons can be the next Nana.
EIM: We visited your town and so much land is left untouched, why not selling?
Nana Obokumatta: This is a very challenging question, I am aware that the land belongs to me, yes very big as you said and have seen, but I thank God that I am not depending on land to feed, I am an employer of labour, I have one of the biggest construction companies in Ghana, I have Hostels for student, almost the biggest with all facilities you can think of in Accra (Precisely at McCarthy), I am into clearing and forwarding, I am into Transportation business, by the grace of God I have a Microfinance bank and many others, so my needs should not be hanged on the land rather I should think of what generate employment and income for my people. When I became the Nana, I called all the leaders that we are no longer going to be selling land, we will initiate something monumental to the town that will be a legacy for generations to come.
EIM: Nana what of those who may need support and they can only get that by selling their portion of the land?
Nana Obokumatta: Selling of land does not solve any problem, rather it creates future problems, if I allow them to sell the land or I also sold all the land, we will all spend the money, the property is no longer ours and the children coming will have nothing to depend on. What I did in to institute scholarship, through this we are able to pay school fees of some of the students, buy them school uniform and other assistance that will allow them study, because \I really want more scholars to come from the town. I know originally the parents can cater for themselves, the only aspect that may pose some challenges is educating their wards and God is helping us in that regards, so why should we fall on the meagre money we will generate from selling the land?
EIM: What other plan do you have for the town?
Nana Obokumatta: Well, as I speak with you now, we have over 300 acres that we have earmarked for the construction of a University, we have been working on this project for close to four years now, we have prepared all the necessary documents that will help us seek for a right investor. For some reasons I will not give other details about the University but I must say it shall be one of the best around.
EIM: Why University?
Nana Obokumatta: I earlier mentioned that my vision is to produce more scholars from my town. First, it will be a great opportunity for my people to educate their children without stress. At the moment we have Government Primary to JHS, it is our hope that a SHS will soon come to the area, if we are able to build a University that means my people are in the best of place. I also discovered that the only industry that will continue to thrive is educational institution. If I build a manufacturing plant, I will need experts to handle it but from the university we would have been able to produce many experts and by the help of God, whoever will come after us will have vision to create more values. It has always been said that education is the best legacy, if it is, then we must invest in it. Again, when the time comes I will talk more on why I have chosen to build University, not only for Ghana but for the entire continent of Africa. I have identified what is lacking and we are trying to address it. I will not want to talk much on that.
EIM: How about the financing, because it appears to be a huge project?
Nana Obokumatta: In Ghana we have a saying: Gargantuan, Yes, it is a gargantuan project, we are talking with some group who has shown tremendous interest, we will soon roll out the plans and I believe we will all have the information then. The project will take a lot, we will start from somewhere and by the help of God, we will achieve the goal.
EIM: Will there be any foreign input?
Nana Obokumatta: Definitely, there will be foreign input, for the fact that I am comfortable does not mean I have the finance to build it, we are bringing in some people as earlier mentioned, we have some interest already, all these will be unfolded sooner.
EIM: What would you suggest for some of your colleagues? nw
Nana Obokumatta: I believe traditional institution has gone beyond settling dispute, we have the opportunity to change our environment, I have read about other traditional leaders across Africa, some are doing great, they are initiating development to their areas and creating jobs, this I think we need to improve on. We have said severally that politicians are failing us, so some of us who are privileged to rule our people can assist in many ways.