The Odaw river used to be colourless and odourless. And its purity was not only a major tourist attraction, but also served as a major source of fishing for inhabitants around the river, so say the sages. Odaw runs through the nerve centre — the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, Ghana’s capital city. Its setting could have been a major source of eco-attraction throughout the ages. Perhaps similar to the manner Egyptians are enjoying a fortune from the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt’s capital city. Tourists could have flocked our Odaw, in the same manner as the allure of the Nile is irresistible for travelling revellers. Over some time, however, that assumption has proven a wrong calculation. Older folks even usually tell of a myth surrounding the Odaw River.
One of such fables suggests that Ghana’s first President—the Osagyefo, imported the tilapia fish from the Nile into the River Volta and others like the Odaw in Ghana. The myth has it that it was part of the Osagyefo’s ploy to convince Egypt’s president, Gamel Abdul Nasser to give his niece—Fathia, out to marry Ghana’s first president. It was all a part of Kwame’s Pan-Africanist identity where Africa was to seamlessly assume a one monolithic country of some 52 nation-states. Just like the United States of Africa. The Nile’s blessings are immeasurable. Its attraction leads to other exploration channels of the ancient Egyptian city: The beauty of the ancient Sphinx, the Monuments of the Pharaohs, and the flow of the biblical River Jordan in old Cairo where the Christian Coptic Church sits. Then the new Cairo and its beautiful Mediterranean beaches, among others.
But the most significant of the Nile has not dawned on you yet? Are you not aware that 95 per cent of Egyptians earn their livelihood within the navigating course of the river Nile? Neither did you know that it’s the Nile that turned most desert areas in Egypt into fertile lands through irrigation? That agriculture is also made easy by the Nile. The Nile also serves as the major source of fishing and transportation.
The Nile, thus gives life. Ghana’s Odaw scripts death. While the odour from the Odaw is so repugnant to attract only flies and mosquitoes, the Nile is a refreshing source of life. There’s however, a pathetic personification about the setting of the two rivers. While the Nile smiles up the skies to embrace its visitors with light dancing on the surface of it waters, the Odaw is perennially black and covered in perpetual darkness.
Its repugnant odour scares away even the most die-hard indigenes or residents some of whom have noticed the beauty of the Odaw through its degenerating days till to the nick of its obituary today. How sad. Even flies don’t dare fly on or around the Odaw, lest they die. Indeed, the Odaw’s odour is self-suffocating. Faeces or refuse are dumped into it with tacit approval from the sanitation ministry and other town and country planners. Because such intentional destruction rather strangely constitutes a major source of raw
cash and wealth for such custodians. In recent times, the Odaw had been desilted for $43 million, yet none closer experienced a different odour. It emits the same stinker, smelly and repulsively repugnant odour. Residents closer to the river, are not the least surprised at the bad smell. Why? Because they’ve known such exercises to be a huge hoax and a façade. It’s part of the known trickery of officialdom to siphon funds. Period! Indeed, they are/were right. Today, the Odaw remains the same colourless river; black and stinky flowing through a deplorable ecosystem. Debris have covered every part of its banks and perhaps, remains the biggest dumping site in the Ghanaian capital. As we brood over “Is that all we could do with the $43million” came a bombshell. Some two attendants of the Minister of Sanitation, under whose watch the $43million desilting exercise was carried out, thoroughly ransacked the lady minister’s Ablenkpe home and made away some $1million, 300,000 Euros and other valuable items that run into
millions of United States dollars. The matter is currently pending at an Accra High Court. The lady minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah has since resigned from her position as minister of state. Nonetheless, concerns are being raised about the quantum of her stolen money. Could the stolen money be part
of the $43 million desilting fees? Maybe yes! Maybe not! Yet, you can’t blame the doubters who are still asking why a minister whose salary is way below GHC30,000.00 could have in her possession such a huge amount.
And why does she keep that colossal amount home when the government is struggling to promote a paperless economy? Is it because she would be questioned about the source of the amount if she had sent the money to the bank? Granted the stolen money was not personally hers, but is the home the appropriate place to keep such a huge amount? The debate is still raging. But please don’t bad-mouth those who think the stolen amount was an undue “profit” the minister perhaps earned from the $ 43 million sponsored desilting exercise. She ought to prove the doubters wrong.
Source: Richmond Keelson, Ontario