In what may be considered an outlandish addition to the hordes of explanations as to why the Ghanaian economy is ailing, relations of Tetteh Quarshie, the man credited with the introduction of cocoa into the country say unless he is recognised and honoured appropriately, the economy will continue to yield poor returns.
Nii Somua Akropong I of Osu says while the nation has virtually refused to honour Tetteh Quarshie appropriately with a percentage of cocoa receipts for his historic role in gifting the country with a major cash crop that has funded nearly every major development, others who have done far less or nothing at all are honoured with a portion of national incomes.
“Tetteh Quarshie is the father of our economy”, he told Radio Gold in Accra, explaining that until he is given at least 1% cent of cocoa revenues that should go to cater for his family, and a befitting statue raised in his honour, the national economy cannot perform well.
The call comes on the heels of the rejection and mocking by opposition New Patriotic Party’s vice presidential candidate in the 2012 elections, Dr. Mahamud Bawumia at a public lecture, of the many explanations offered as cause of the difficulties facing the national economy.
Tetteh Quarshie returned to Ghana in 1879 with a handful of seeds of the Golden Pod from a sojourn to Fernando Po (Equatorial Guinea) where he had worked as a farmhand and planted them at Akwapim Mampong in the Eastern Region which soon became a national industry and economic backbone. Thursday, March 27 marked his 172nd birthday.
According to Nii Somua, Tetteh Quarshie endured a lot of challenges to bring his magic seeds to Ghana and deserves a better recognition.
“It is unfortunate that the sole single-mindedness of Tetteh Quarshie after a time became the breadwinner of Ghana’s economy. It is from that time till today and forever more that Ghana’s economy stands on cocoa. There is no day that cocoa is not mentioned in Ghana. You visit the Cocoa Marketing Board and not even a hall is named after Tetteh Quarshie, not even a floor is named after Tetteh Quarshie.
“The British government who came to lord over us accorded this man that respect. The Cocoa Marketing Board, which previously used to be called the Ministry of Internal Trade…during the time that Kwame Nkrumah was the Prime Minister, has never accorded Tetteh Quarshie, or honoured him for even establishing that ministry… And then if you go on to history, you will see that people have been honoured, people have been named after so many places and all these honours came from monies from the cocoa yet the man who brought the cocoa is not honoured in Ghana. That is why the Ghana economy keeps on suffering from spiritual defects. Our problem economically is because we have not accorded the man on whose shoulders the economy has stood and is still standing,” he said.
He said FPSO Kwame Nkrumah was a acquired with a sovereignty guarantee of cocoa, the Bui Dam has a sovereignty guarantee of cocoa, Akosombo hydro power, the Takoradi Harbour built in 1923 was purposely built to transport cocoa, bauxite, diamond and timber, “yet the man whose money was used for these purposes, has never been accorded the respect.”
Nii Somua said the family does not benefit in any way from the exploits of their great, great, grandfather, leading to the suffering and early deaths of many in the family, some at age 14, 22.
Host: You say that our economy is suffering because we have failed to honour Tetteh Quarshie? He was asked.
Nii Samoa: Yes please.
Nii Samoa: Ah! Don’t you know that even God, first and foremost, you don’t honour God, you don’t respect God, you don’t praise God, what calamity do you expect to befall you?
Host: So Tetteh Quarshie is our God, is that it?
Nii Samoa: He is the father of our economy. Everything done in Ghana here depends on the economy and the backbone of the economy is what was brought and established by Tetteh Quarshie. Look at the statue of Kwame Nkrumah there, it is Tetteh Quarshie cocoa money. You go to Danquah Circle, Tetteh Quarshie cocoa money, you go to Obetsebi Lamptey (Circle) it is Tetteh Quarshie cocoa money, you look at your airport, you look at everything in Ghana, it’s cocoa money, yet…”
“Until we find recognition spiritually, for the image and actually reward Tetteh Quarshie convincingly… If three people should go in to sign agreement for the oil that we drill and they are given 3% and the 24 million Ghanaians are given 10%, what about the singular effort of Tetteh Quarshie… why can’t we give Tetteh Quarshie’s family 1%?”
Rev Dr. Victor Nartey, a Theologian and family member, who supported Nii Samoa’s call, said the only recognition the government of Ghana has given their great kinsman who contributed so much to the national economy is the declaration of Tetteh Quarshie Day, calling the development “a sad story for any right thinking person.”