THE READERS HUB is pleased to bring to you another insightful and thrilling encounter with a political and social activist, a voluble devotee of books, a dexterous and prolific writer, whose writings in both political and social issues have won the admiration of many, yet a source of worry and a nightmare for others, especially those entrusted with the authority and or management of our resources.
Indeed, while some people regard his stance on both social and political issues as arrogance and a self-serving pomposity, others also reasoned otherwise and regard him as a non-conformist, independent minded and forthright in thought for the good of his community and the nation as a whole.
The encounter, was adroitly moderated by one of our finest moderators-ALIMA BAWAH. Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome our personality for tonight’s SOCIAL CONVO, Mr. ISSIFU SEIDU KUDUS GBEABESE, as he takes us through his life’s journey and the compendium of articles that he neatly churns out in his quest to ensure social justice.
Alima Bawah: Welcome Mr. Seidu Kudus.
Issifu Kudus: Thank you madam Alima. I am most grateful to be here tonight with this great platform.
Alima Bawah: You have been on this novel platform quietly until you were recently fished out by our able administrator (fisherman-smiles).I am sure you have already read about some guests here and it’s time we know you too. Tell us who Seidu Kudus Gbeadese.
Issifu Kudus: Good evening to you Alima, to the administrator (Fisherman) and all members of this platform. My name is Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese. I was born some 36 years ago to a peasant and a housewife. I am the first born with 11 other siblings from my mum and my step mum. I am from Laribanga (a Kamara), but I was not raised in Laribanga anyway. I am also a practicing Muslim but not an extremist anyway.
Alima Bawah: Where were you raised then?
Issifu Kudus: I was raised in Damongo-Langbonto where my great grandfather settled. I was told my great grandfather was a hunter who was invited by the then Damongowura to settle with him. As history narrates, he finally got married to the Damongowura’s sister. So I guess this was why my grandfather and my father were never sent home afterwards.
Alima Bawah: Okay. So coming from Damongo, I know over there is an appellation for everyone. Would you mind to tell us your appellation?
Issifu Kudus: Kawute. This is the appellation to the Kamaras
Alima Bawah: So Mba Kawute, share with us your educational and professional journey so far
Issifu Kudus: Born to an Imam who wanted his first son to be an example to the rest of the children around, my dad never wanted me to go to school. Until pressure mounted on him. At the time, I was the only child left to be sent to school within the neighborhood. Even that, he still preferred I attend English /Arabic School to the orthodox ones. Subsequently, I was sent to Falahiyat Primary School.
I was there until primary 4 when my cousin who was a teacher at Jafo Primary School requested for me to be brought to Jafo after he watched my performance at a Reading Competition. Issifu Kudus: So I attended two primary schools.
I proceeded to Yabum JSS and completed in 1999. I qualified to read General Arts at Ghanasco; unfortunately my dad won’t let me. So I had to sit at home for one (1) calendar year before I secured another admission at Damongo Secondary School in 2001.
I completed in 2003 and went to a teacher training in Nustrat Jahan in 2004 and completed 2007. I taught for 2 years and decided to seek further studies at KNUST. In 2009, I secured admission at KNUST to read political science major and Econs minor. In 2013 I completed KNUST, did my one year mandatory National Service in Parliament and in 2014 I got back to the University Of Ghana, to read my second degree in Economic Policy Management. While reading my second degree, I opted to still hang on to Parliament as an unofficial research assistant to my MP until in 2018 when I was officially appointed as the research assistant. This has been my journey thus far.
Alima Bawah: do you read and write in Arabic too? (Beaming with smiles)
Issifu Kudus: Yes I do. In fact, in 1996, my dad challenged me. He said I must finish the Quran before I would be allowed to go to JSS. So I finished the Quran at age 12
Alima Bawah: Are you done with your second degree then?
Issifu Kudus: Yes, in 2015
Alima Bawah: Congratulations!!
Issifu Kudus: Thank you
Alima Bawah: Kudus you are known on many social and main stream media as a prolific writer, how and when did you start writing about social and political issues?
Issifu Kudus: I started writing in 2011. I just developed the interest and so, I write about anything that comes to mind. Reading political science gave me some space and leverage. Anytime we treated a topic especially in political history, I had something to write about. So this was how it all started
Alima Bawah: What inspires you to keep writing?
Issifu Kudus: The fact that I get both positive and negative feedback. I mostly get calls from people I don’t expect will read from me. Most at times, I get immediate results from my writings. Lastly, I have a dream of becoming a great writer in Africa if not the world, so that dream keep pushing me into trying my hands on anything that comes up.
Alima Bawah: Wow! What did you seek to achieve when you wrote about Ghana’s economy and directed it to the IMF? (https://padfmonline.com/speak-up-mr-imf-the-grandson-of-the-original-slave-master-issisfu-seidu-kudus/)
Issifu Kudus: Interesting! I was angered my sister. I’m one of those who have never liked these so called multilateral bodies used as power poles to control African countries. I have the belief that Africa is under the worse form of slavery and colonialism than it were in the past.
Going forward, these institutions (IMF, World Bank etc.) are such prostitutes who get married to every government in power.
In short, I think that Africa or as it were, Africa governments can live without these institutions. But they can’t live without us because it appears their survival is intrinsically woven with the resources they take from us. Unfortunately, we have allowed ourselves to be remote controlled by them over the years; while we continue to denigrate ourselves.
I wrote that article at the time there was this tussle between the two major political parties over some data which they were as usual; accusing each other over.
Alima Bawah: Do you feel same when the biggest opposition is in power too?
Issifu Kudus: My writings cut across all governments. You know, I am a student of Prof Lumumba and Julius Malema of South Africa,
Alima Bawah: How does your writing impact your community?
Issifu Kudus: Well, I don’t do one way writing. I write about dying culture and traditions, I write about environmental degradation, especially logging and commercial charcoal burning. I write about some social vices that get my immediate community corrupt and wayward. Most often, I get called to local radio stations to speak to those issues, I get to speak on local platforms and ultimately I get some people agreeing with my thoughts.
I am currently putting together a team of young men and women who have developed interest to write and champion the course of stopping logging and commercial charcoal burning in the Gonjaland.
Alima Bawah: And that brings me to another feature you did on charcoal burning. What is the current state after your article? (https://padfmonline.com/the-lost-fight-against-charcoal-burning-in-gonjaland/)
Issifu Kudus: It’s still the same if not worse. Many were those who shared my fears. We know the people we are dealing with. The fact is that, the very stakeholders who are put in committees to design recommendations for the authorities to use as guidelines in stopping the charcoal burning are the very stakeholders who are the perpetrators.
Only about 4 days ago, I received a call from one of the committee members. He told me I prophesized and it has come to pass. That they were told to stop the work of the committee for the time being because elections are closer (beams with a satiric smile).
Alima Bawah: I understand you have been summoned to several Chief Palaces a number of times over some certain distasteful features you wrote. How did that go? (Smiles)
Issifu Kudus: one of the traditions in the Gonjaland is that, you can’t summon a Kamara (Imam) to the palace. However, my first summon to a palace was in 2008 when I stood against some shoddy work a contractor did in a school building.
In a related development, on two other occasions, I was summoned and cautioned. One thing is that, I speak my mind anytime, anywhere. In one of those instances at the Chief Palace, one of the people pointed his hands at me just to threaten me. I nodded in agreement and said I had another feature I was putting together just about him alone. All ended in futility. No charges, only threats and cautions. But I won’t stop writing!
Alima Bawah: Can that be described as arrogance or confidence?
Issifu Kudus: Well, it’s all about perspective. Some describe me as arrogant; some others see me as daring while others think I am too passionate. I am just confident once I know I am speaking the truth. The only thing I fear is my mum’s tears and the safety of my children, so when I write, I don’t care who will get hit in the end, it is the truth that matters.
QUESTIONS TIME WITH OUR READERS FROM (THE READERS HUB)
Mohammed Messi: Today’s encounter with comrade Seidu Issifu Kudus Gbeadese came at the right time. I want to find out about his strategic write ups against some supposed ‘Big Men’ in the political area and his reasons behind that. (His recent article on Ahmed Jinapor Dr).What has the youth done exceptionally that they deserved to serve in political offices.
Issifu Kudus: let me say that I write when there is the need. My recent article about Dr Ahmed came at a time there was the need to do so. Let me also caution that I don’t hate Dr Ahmed, I admire him a lot. If you watch the politics of Damongo, it has become a hot spot in the Northern part of Ghana. A lot has happened and still happening that needs our collective attention.
I don’t want to go partisan, but Dr Ahmed’s coming to engage in the monitoring of the registration of the on-going Voters’ Registration Exercise and its attendant confusion, threats to life and open show of weapons was worrying and very pathetic to say the least. Once he was moving with those people, I just couldn’t believe it and so I needed to put it out there for all to judge.
On your second question, I don’t think the youth need to do anything exceptional before they are given the chance to serve in political offices. In any case, what has the aged done exceptional that they should be given the chance to serve in same offices?
I think this whole cliché that the youth are tomorrow’s leaders must be thrown to the bin. Our future starts from today, if we watch any old folk mess up today, our tomorrow may never come or it will come with holes that will take us centuries to fill. When the opportunity comes, put us there so we can also start learning on the job just like the aged are doing now.
Mohammed kulendi: Mr. Kudus, you know a lot of people burn charcoal as their source of livelihood, but we also know that the implications of that action are environmentally unfriendly. What other alternative sources of livelihood would you suggest for them?
Issifu Kudus: Yes I do agree with you. Let me also say that, there are two sets of people engaged in charcoal burning; those peasant farmers who burn salvaged trees in their farms and those who engage in the commercial burning. The commercial burners are those who destroy the forest.
Alternative sources of livelihood; this is where leadership comes to play. District Assemblies within the said zones must design local job programs attractive enough to get the youth engaged. Interestingly, most of the people who engage in this burning are usually not from our place-In fact, the burners and the loading boys are all mostly from different places. So our people gain nothing at the end.
Isaac: In his constituency, many people see him as arrogant and disrespectful because he works and walk with the MP. Have he heard about this and what is doing about it?
Issifu Kudus: Yes I have heard about it. Most often, those who are in political classes get judged by many out of what they hear from others and not what they know of the person. If you get closer, you would surely know more about the person, I guess. One thing is that I can’t satisfy everybody, I can only do my best. The arrogance associated with me mostly comes from my writings and how passionate and frank I speak to issues and these are my personal opinions and have nothing to do with me working with the MP. Many people had that thought until they finally met me in person and confessed that the person they told them I was is completely untrue.
Alima Bawah: Where can we get to read your features?
Issifu Kudus: I am a columnist on Modern Ghana…so you can read all my features there. I also blog as well. And almost all my articles are on my Facebook wall.
Alima Bawah: Finally, how does the next 5years look for you?
Issifu Kudus: Very scary Alima…I don’t know what will happen with COVID-19; where are we going as a people? What will our economy be after COVID-19? What will happen after 2020 elections? I have always had my fears about the politics of Ghana. I foresee a system that will crush in future. But as to when and how I don’t know, but I have that inbuilt fear.
Zubeiru: What are your fears as a young person doing what you do and particularly knowing very well that we are in an election year?
Issifu Kudus: Wow! Predicted? My general fear is about our politics; it’s acrimonious, too partisan than political and it is the sharpest tool that is used to divide us than religion and ethnicity. As for me, I have received several threats but I don’t know why I don’t fear threats. I believe I will die and we will all die one day, so if you threaten me with death, I only feel that you want to hasten my journey and not that you would achieve anything better.
But all in all, I have my fears that the current political system we are building will crush one day. The gap between the ruling class and the ordinary taxpayer keeps widening and that is dangerous for any political system. And the level of polarization is getting worse.
Alima Bawah: Thank you so much Kudus. It’s been a thought-provoking session! Unfortunately, we have run out of time. Catch you same time next week as we scout to bring you yet another interesting profile. Till then, enjoy your weekend.
Issifu Kudus: Thank you madam moderator and thank to all those who made time to ask me question especially those that have to do with my personal security. I really enjoyed this session; it has taken my pain away. I would wish to come back and continue from where I left off. Goodnight brethren, shalom!
NB: Please don’t forget to share after reading for others to also benefit.
Hub Editor: Bassing .A.M.A.Kamal.