Northern Heritage is highly pleased to bring to you an insightful and thrilling encounter from our My Northern Experience session as we engage Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu. Our guest will take us through his life journey shuttling between the north and the south. The northern lifestyles and cultures he has encountered and his perspectives on them.
Our guest has spent most of his life in the south. However has made it a point to keep in touch with his lineage. As our forefathers likes to put it, however far a stream flows, it never forgets its origin. To him, north is where he belongs and it remains so.
Shamuddeen: Without much ado let’s welcome Mr. Dauda Abdul-Ganiu.
Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu: Thank you Mr Bagura Shamudeen and to this honourable home. It’s a privilege to be given such a venerable opportunity to be amongst such a gathering.
Shamuddeen: We are honoured to have you too. Distinguished members will be glad to know who Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu is?
Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu: Mostly the basic and formal question to most interviews and engagements such as this one, often looks easy as a question but complicated to answer. A question that has always left people unsatisfied and wanting to hear more but I'll do well to touch on pertinent aspects of myself to give our honourable house a balanced information of myself and available to answer questions arising from my responses.
I'm Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu a native of Tamale in the North but born and bred in Southern Ghana precisely Ashaiman. I come from a nuclear family that has 3 males and 3 females of which I'm the last of them. I'm 27 years with the thirst, fire and desire to use western education with a blend of African culture (Northern Ghana) to shake the stables of our northern society's status quo.
I'm currently a student of University of Education, Winneba pursuing a degree course in Geography education and Political Science education. A poetry enthusiast and doing some private businesses aside schooling. I hope this brief introduction of myself can set the pace for this night’s engagement?
Shamuddeen: Interesting. Thanks for the detailed introduction of yourself. Indeed we have very promising personalities here. Can you please take us through your life journey, where you grew up, places you have visited and some exciting memories?
Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu: Absolutely. As I said, I was born in the south (Ashaiman) from a typical northern family. My primary school education began at the then Broadway Preparatory school now renamed The Masters Academy in Ashaiman - Middle East. I then proceeded to complete my primary and JHS education at Mart Academy in 2009.
With keen interest from my parents on my education, they were always decisive on my life matters as a child especially with regards to my education. At this point in my life, my parents were divided with regards to where I continue my secondary school education. My father always reiterated I stay in the Greater Accra Region while my mother opted for the North. Eventually, I made a decision of my own to go to the Eastern Mountains and plateau of Kwahu. My decision was met with resentment at full force but I stood my grounds and finally had my way. This I should say marked a turning point in my life that to this day has continued to be an outstanding attribute of making my personal decisions throughout my life with knowledge of its emerging consequences and readiness to always take responsibility.
I gained admission to enrol at St. Paul Senior High School in Asakra-Kwahu. Life in the Eastern territories of Ghana (Kwahu) was very interesting and one I will always want to have again at a point in my life and will even want my kids In Shaa Allah to be there at a point in their lives too. My purpose for Kwahu was strictly educational but the experience I garnered from that place was that of social, cultural and of religious relevance. Very much important to my upbringing as a child who wishes to embrace religious and cultural diversity
The terrain over there is always icy cold so we mostly referred to the place as the "Small London", where taking your bath in the early mornings become a daunting and an almost impossible but yet necessary task to prepare ourselves for the day.
For my 4 years stay in this place the water we drank, bathe, cook and wash with was from a stream flowing from the mountains and running down the ground. We always had to walk long distances and climb hills to be able to access this stream called "PIABU" for our daily water needs.
Sometimes students will have to be sent home from school for a short hiatus when the place (Kwahu) was in its extreme harmattan season because all the streams were dried up. Potable water was always scarce there.
Culturally and religiously, a lot of superstitious beliefs amidst some religious influence (mostly Catholic) inhibited the place and as a Muslim in such a community things were always going to be difficult but I had to adapt and embrace cultures and religious diversity. Generally, my 4 years stay was a memorable one with sweet and bitter experiences but we pulled through successfully.
In 2013, I completed my secondary school education and was back to Accra to see and decide what was best for me as I waited to have the results of secondary school voyage. In that time, I resorted to working and this also was another twist to my life.
I took to pupil teaching and after a while I decided to learn some technical and skill training. So I did bread baking for some time and of course I have the skills now on how to bake assorted bread. My results were out sooner and I passed not with distinction but with grades that could take me to any tertiary institution of my choice in Ghana. Money and lack of support from family was a very big issue so I had to work more and harder just to accumulate some money and continue because I had the zeal and determination to do so.
It took a long time to do so after switching and jumping from one job to another but eventually it came through for me and I gained admission to University of Education, Winneba in 2017. This was the second time I gained admission there, the first time was the year before which I couldn't afford so I forfeited going. Ever since, my concentration has been on course to bagging my first degree with an unmatchable persistence to climb higher in academia.
Shamuddeen: Wow. This was a long ride of your life experiences. We appreciate your zeal. We are now curious to know your northern experiences. How will you describe your experiences of the north?
Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu: Yes but persistence and consistency always wins. An interesting question and I’m equally eager to share this aspect of my young life. Though I've not had so much experiences in the North but for sure I have some few but lasting memories.
I'll describe the experience as exciting and scintillating. From start you begin relishing how the place is going to look like, the people, the buildings and the setting in general. I quite remember my first time when I was barely 12 years and my Mum will talk so fondly and how warm the people of the place are. So much I'll never forget the North for.
How the natives especially family members rally around newcomers, the little kid adventures of hunting lizards. One thing that has always marvelled me is the bond of togetherness and unity in almost every aspect of living. From eating morning to evening meals we'd always eat from same bowls amidst little fights painting our bodies with the soup.
Cost of living there was comparatively cheaper and very manageable to the life in the South and you always had no need for physical currency. Just food availability and you're okay. I've had subsequent visits with varying purposes later on in the course of my life. I have seen funerals, pursued business openings as well in these visits. The interaction from the Northern people are top notch and very hospitable.
Going to the North especially Tamale has always been greeted with such an inner enthusiasm I've never and rarely have as compared to visiting other places. My honourable moderator I'll love it if you could one day take me to your native land so I could have more of these wonderful and lasting experiences. These are the few notable experiences I can pick out from my visits. Thank you
Shamuddeen: It will be a pleasure. I will love to take you around not only my hometown but something we can call a tour of northern Ghana. By the way which popular or tourist sites in northern Ghana have you ever visited?"
Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu: Honestly no. But I've taken a few site seeing. We the Dagomba's have this mosque we always love to mention (za'amli jinli). And the Tamale stadium as well such a beautiful edifice. A visit as well to some schools too such as the Bagabaga Training Collage. These are not tourist attractions holistically but I'll count them because they'll always count to me as one regardless because I didn't only observe in these places but I took keen interest.
Shamuddeen: Alright. I guess our tour must come on so you can have some stories to say next time. Which northern festivals have you celebrated?
Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu: You'll have a whole work to do when that finally happens. I've experienced the Damba festival but unfortunately in the South with my native Dagomba people around my community in Ashaiman. I've experienced and actually participated in it twice. Such an enthralling and energy exhibiting festival I must say running around singing and chanting in some native Dagomba songs with grass in hands and fire lighted to them. Some showcase of magic and powerful ones as such that left me stricken in awe. Such an exhibition of proper culture and tradition. Most times onlookers join the celebration even when they don't understand what it is about. This shows how enjoying the moments were. Even if you don't understand the rhythm, just dance and move with the flow. At a point in time as a child I wish I had magic - Bullet and knife resistant. This is the only festival I've witnessed.
Shamuddeen: The gods were summoned. Hahaha. Dagbondoo. Now let’s move to the cognitive aspect. What's your perception of northern culture, traditions and unique way of life?
Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu: My perception of the North before I even travelled there was always on point and fulfilled. The culture and belief system of the place is unique in such a way that the Islamic religion and ancestral belief have some similarities. With the exception of just a few. The custom and tradition of the people from the North is always visible and unhidden from the public eye and even when they find themselves in different territories. The ultimate believe in superiority amongst the people of the north is something I've always admired.
No differing opinions about the culture and traditions. Their popular modes of transportation I learned is called "nahee nahee". The foods is amazing as well. The fondest memory I've had from the north and always wanted to go there has been simply family. From the welcome to always being around you during your stay will make you virtually and absolutely love them being around. I vividly remember this village we once went (Nakpanzoo). There was no electricity in most houses in the vicinity those times (2007). They always had to take me to one house to watch movies as a cinema house.
Self believe and social problem solving techniques. I've had opportunities sitting in dispute resolutions so I always take a lot from these sittings and learned to apply them wherever I find myself regardless of the people involved. With touch of western ability it always works.
The North has always been a place like no other. I remember when I paid a visit to Techiman earlier this year, I kept reiterating to my host how the scenery of the place was similar to that of Tamale. It’s great.
Shamuddeen: Wow. Thanks for the detail depiction. And adding your fondest memory of the north? Mr. Dauda, Can you please tell us something peculiar to your lifestyle that was as a result of the northern experience?
Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu: Definitely my dressing and some of my word pronunciations. I recount one event I had to deliver a speech at a programme and immediately I said "Mr Chairman" the whole crowd burst into some uncontrollable laughter, then I heard the Chairman say "Allow, he's a Dagomba man". Such a proud moment. Anytime I dress in my smock my friends always tell me I look like a typical Dagomba native. Its feels great to have these things people can see you and immediately identify me with.
Shamuddeen: The accent is always there. Lastly for tonight. In a brief statement is there something you want to tell us concerning your lifestyle that is related to the north? Something you will be glad to share with members?
Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu: Yes definitely. We're in a business and entrepreneurial world now. Talks of just visits and touring alone wouldn't help in development but exploring business opportunities while I had some of my short recreations there. My major plans to do business there and even relocating at a point in life with my family In Shaa Allah.
Singing the signature of north as my home alone won't work for us as a people but putting our efforts to using the many natural resources we're blessed with. Hope I've done my bits in satisfying your question.
Shamuddeen: Good delivery there. Personally I agree with your opinion.
QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS
Iddrisu Maani: Can you please tell us brief about your blacksmith occupation. Are you a "Machele" Blacksmith by way of lineage? How do you see the future of the blacksmith business ?
Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu: Wow nice question. Yes I'm from a great lineage of Blacksmiths "machele". My grandfather was one of the Blacksmith Hausa settlers in Tamale who married a Dagomba woman and produced my father who continued with the Blacksmith occupation. My father is actually one of the founding fathers of the Blacksmith association in Ashaiman, Mr Amadu Dawuda.
I've learned the skill of blacksmithing at a point in time in my life. I can produce dust bins, rubbish collectors and buckets. But unfortunately I gave up on the job at a point because I didn't want that as a future career. My aspirations were bigger than blacksmithing.
The future of blacksmithing business unfortunately has taken a nose dive in this current economy because manufacturers alike are coming out with alternative and easier ways of producing similar goods. Consumers are swayed making blacksmithing not lucrative as compared to earlier years. Hope I've satisfied my questionnaire. Thank you.
Shamuddeen: You have indeed. Thank you for spending tonight with us. It was very helpful. It was an insightful night.
Mr. Dawuda Abdul-Ganiu: Loved every bit of it and would love to be here again when called upon to share another episode of my experiences. I'm grateful for the audience given me by this house of nobles.
If you enjoy this interaction and wants more, please comment your suggestion and appreciation to our guest.