Monday, October 18, 2021
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This Is Life –

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Had it not been for my preference for heading of not more than three words, today’s heading would have been ‘So, This Is Life,’ and not just c’est la vie. I am sure that would have meant something else and not as ‘this is life’ will be understood.

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GH¢718 is what my travel agent had texted to me as the airfare for a return journey to Ɔsɛekrom from and back to Accra, for my regular travel to my chiefdom to perform my chiefly duties. In President Kufuor’s time, I could do the same flight for GH¢250. On my monthly GH¢774 pension, only GH¢56 would be left of it. The natural way to get to the chiefdom and back would, therefore, be by road. So to Circle VIP I headed for a grueling six-hour ride to Ɔsɛekrom and to proceed from there to the chiefdom.

‘Can the old man, please, have a seat closer in front?’ I pleaded with the ticket vendor at Circle VIP. ‘Ok,’ he said and handed me a ticket. I read the number to be ‘5.’ That is quite in front I said to myself, satisfied when I realised it was two seats only behind the driver. Before long, a woman came in claiming the seat, that she had numbers 4 and 5. I checked and saw 5. Then the woman behind me asked to see it. ‘Fifteen,’ she said. I got up and headed for 15. Apparently, it was more comfortable. A single seat in the middle of the length of the bus.

It took some close to five hours with the GH¢60 and GH¢40 taxi (GH¢100 total), what could have been done in half-an-hour GH¢718 flight. I guess those are the situations where money talks, separating the have from the have-not. It’s amazing how those expensive flights can be overbooked at that rate. But others (more congresspeople on those flights than ɔsonomma) are crying: ‘There’s no money.’

Villainous page 28 by which a journalist was jailed for stating the fact when a judgment said fact doesn’t matter; that 28 versus heroic February 28, 1948 which attracted street naming after the matriot threesome demonstrators, Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey.

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VIP Adum for the return journey was not like departing Circle VIP. The ticket vendor handed me a seat 28 ticket. He couldn’t be bothered about any oldie pleas. So I went looking for it only to realise it was one of the very last four-seat row. So, now ‘twas 28 the leveller, no matter who you thought you were.’

I started to think 28. Oh, yes; there’s the villainous 28 which landed a journalist in prison because the judge said the truth did not matter. No one said a word to fix killing the freedom to state facts. There’s still 28, though; a heroic February Road that idolises Sgt Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey. So, if a wicked ticket seller had handed me a bad 28 like a judge did to the journalist, maybe one day, I will encounter a positive 28.

I could blame myself, though for the travails of travels. I had lived in President Kufuor’s ‘largesse for lecturers’ days. Really, lecturers had not had it that good since the good old Nkrumah days. President Kufuor had not just given lecturers the money power to purchase vehicles for themselves, he had added the capacity to buy a new car; including the means to pay outright.

That is how I managed to buy south-south safari dicor (rather than a Toyota landcruiser which would have taken a few more years to pay). South-south is so called because it was to support developing country India. It turned out, though, to be a midlife life decision taken which would exact a toll in later life.

In fact, the idea of buying that four-wheel drive was to facilitate chieftaincy trips back and forth the working place and the chiefdom. And, indeed, the trip before the 28 debacle was with south-south. Accra-Ɔsɛekrom had been uneventful. Ɔsɛekrom-Accra, though, was heart wrenching. The machine’s gear and clutch systems seem very susceptible to twist-ups and had become problematic in Ɔseɛkrom. The versatile mechanics had fixed it but hurrying them had left things not completely done. As a result, south-south developed some problems immediately after the Akim Sekyere toll point. {I don’t know why they won’t spell it Akyem Sɛkyerɛ}. It stayed there overnight for a mechanic to travel from Accra to go and fix its gear and clutch systems. South-south, accordingly, was out for further Accra-chiefdom trips.

That was how come the seat 28 debacle. The shaking at the VIP bus back seat was nothing, though, compared to the trotro ride from Pokuase to Madina. In a bid to dodge the Atomic-Madina traffic gridlock, the driver meanderingly manouvred through grooves and lanes of massive potholes in West Legon (Westlands) and then North Legon to arrive at the Zongo Junction footbridge. (This must be the only motherland in the world of expensive huge mansions with almost unmotorably bad access roads). Despite my acrophobic fear of heights, I had to walk up the Pokuase footbridge and the Madina footbridge.

I’m waiting for a February 28 to be kind to me. That is, I’m still waiting for my positive 28. But for now, my compatriots, please next time you want to badmouth chiefs for selling plots of land for themselves, watch your mouth. Don’t just say that; because, there are a lot more chiefs ‘suffering’ to better the lives of their people than those supposedly chopping from plot sales.

By Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh

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