HOW AMBASSADOR OLUFEMI MICHAEL ABIKOYE ENDURED, AND HANDLED THE WORST DIPLOMATIC STORM IN GHANA.

 I took the former Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro to Tampion, a savanna suburb in the Savelgu Nanton district of Northern Ghana.  And with Ambassador Ademola Oluseyi Onafowokan era, we initiated a sensitization program to sensitize the Ghanaian media on fair and ethical journalism towards Nigerians. The acting Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Adekunbi Sonaike Ayodeji’s role was met with anti-fulani sentiments resulting in the brutal killing of seven Fulani herdsmen in a clash by some farmers in Ghana. The mother  wasted no time in leading a committee  to Eastern Region of Ghana to engage the then  Eastern Region Minister Hon. Antwi-Boasiako Sekyere in a dialogue  for peace and total resolution of the issue which was  backed by our team’s reverberation of her national effort to protect and wipe the  stereotypes and prejudices of Fulani  pastoralists.

Over the years,as the chief executive officer of start in Ghana investment ltd , have followed, and participated for the promotion of Ghana-Nigeria relations across the media But nothing as turbulent as the current period of Ambassador Abikoye .


The xenophobic calls by the Ghana union traders association to close down Nigerian shops and flush out Nigerian traders in Ghana who have lived and contributed for the economy was unfortunate.


The group have launched a tormented campaign to deport what they called ‘illegal Nigerians’ as well as closing down Nigerian shops without the necessary permits. And banning Nigerians from engaging in petty tradings in Ghana .The ill- resentment aided by the media, has led many to put the law in their hands, thereby visible ransacking Nigerian shops at  Suame Magazine, Circle,Opera Zongo lane,Abosey Okine Spare Parts etc


The group were dancing with jubilation that, the government was about to close down Nigerian shops till the High Commissioner’s letter to Ghanaian president ordered the trade ministry to withdraw that decision to the furious of the union.


Ambassador Mr. Michael Olufemi Abikoye was posted to head the Nigerian High Commission at the peak of the brutal new ‘religion’ called social media.


Hate speech circulated on social media threatening to burn or close Nigerian shops for dominating local businesses. The latest media has spread the anti-Nigerian tension In Kumasi, Tema ,Accra ,Takoradi and other parts of Ghana .


Threatening landlords for renting rooms or apartments to Nigerians.  Worsening the situation was the emergence of kidnappers and arm robbery in Ghana. For Ghanaian logic, all crimes are orchestrated by their fellow Nigerian counterparts.  When crimes involving 10 Ghanaians and 2 Nigerians, it’s not uncommon for Ghanaians to conclude that, the two Nigerians recruited the innocent Ghanaians for the said mission, forgetting that each nationality has the fair share of good and bad nuts.


The development brought untold diplomatic duties for the high commission including sending delegations to Ghanaian institutions for restrain. Writing letters to police service, cautioning the institution against unlawful arrest of Nigerians and the work continues.


The high commissioner launched a campaign, educating the Ghanaian media to be highly circumspect in their reportage, noting that ‘the daily negative reports on Nigerians by the media in Ghana has caused untold pains, agony and apprehension to the teaming law abiding Nigerians living in Ghana’ Mr.Abikoye stressed.


This tenacity to prosecute and judge Nigerians to the worst, was the sad story of  Tawhidi  Atanda an innocent but victim of his Nigerian nationality , who was   mistook  as a kidnapper  and mercilessly beaten  beyond recognition  .It took the intervention of the community   leader   to hand him over to the Kotobaabi police station ,who later handed him to the higher Nima police division.


Upon interrogations and procedural investigations, Tawhidi, was freed, contrary to what was keenly published in the media, making Nigerians look like the culprits. Putting innocent lives at risk, when statistics has a far different story.


Feeling the ordeal and humiliation of Atanda, I decided to petition the president of Ghana to compensate him. I shared the petition copy to my former lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School. The response from the mentor took a psychological edge on my decision, when he remarked ‘’ Alhassan, that’s not your duty , I know you have good projects, concentrate on that .And let them handle their issues’’   the lecturer added .


So you can imagine the impression and perception even at the level of higher institution of learning.


Standing firm with the letter dated on 19th July,2020 to the president of Ghana,H.E. Nana Akufo titled Compensation For Tawhidi Atanda was also copied to  H.E.   Mahamudu Buhari,President of Nigeria.                                                              


H.E. Geoffrey K. J. Onyeama,Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister . H.E. Olufemi Michael Abikoye,Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana and   Commonwealth Human rights initiative.


Thomas Dye defines public policy as "whatever governments choose to do or not to do.


Implies that if a government chooses to do something there must be a goal or objective and even the government's inaction will have as great an impact on society as the government's action. The Nigerian High Commissioner Mr. Michael Abikoye endured the worst diplomatic era when President Akufo Addo was caught between Ghanaian voters and long standing friendship between Ghana and Nigeria following the inaction or refusal for the Ghanaian leader to call for order rather intensified the mistreatments of the fellow Africans.  


At the end, the president has to quietly appease the public opinion to enhance the crucial campaign slogan ‘4more4nana’ whilst visavis trying to pacify Nigerian officials, the country of his first international trip before swearing in as the president of Ghana in 2016.


The chaotic era of ambassador Abikoye continued, this time, it was armed men who destroyed buildings under construction with bulldozer, inside the Nigerian High Commission compound in Accra.


Nigerians living in Ghana held a demonstration to condemn the demolition. Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo has since apologized to Nigeria.


At the time of writing this piece my phone pop up with news on myjoyonline, and it reads ’’ Tension in Buduburam after police allegedly shoot Nigerian man to death’’ the story, published by the respectable media house on 18th July 2020   continued ‘’There is tension in Gomoa Buduburam after an angry mob besieged the Police Station following an officer allegedly shooting a Nigerian to death. The Nigerian community is seeking answers as they do not understand why the man known as Precious was shot.


According to his nursing mother wife, the deceased came over to the hotel they were staying to tell her that someone had threatened to kill him’’


Superintendent Samuel Odame confirmed the shooting of a Nigerian known as Precious at Gomoa Buduburam in the Central Region but said ‘We shot to disable him, not to kill him’


Lately, the Chairperson of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa revealed that, about 904 Nigerians had been deported from Ghana between 2018 to 2019


She noted this in Abuja, during a meeting with the dismissed Nigerian professor, Augustine Nwagbara by The University of Education in Ghana.


I share the caution expressed by Mrs. Abike that, ‘the continent would suffer should Nigeria treat other nationals in the same manner’.


Let’s all weigh and imagine the consequences, if all countries are applying full rigors of their country’s laws to other nationals .Consider if USA, UK German, Canada, Italy, Australia are employing the same tactics to close shops or deport Africans without visas or necessary permits. The obvious is ,  Kotoka airport would be choked with deportees same as our land and sea boarders. Let’s all envisage such an environment. Guta should rethink considering the equally countless Ghanaians living and working in Nigeria without the necessary documents.


Aweasu, Banchi Akrakuro,Toobwee,Banfu-Bese or Kwirikwiri,Atwomo,Poolo,Kube Toffee  are local bakery foods ,that  Ghanaian women are selling on the streets of lagos and other parts of Nigeria to cater for themselves and  family .Imagining denying such persons, the  basis of their survival just because of a-no- license  to sell, or closing Ghanaian shops in Nigeria without the federal permits as currently closing Nigerian shops  in Ghana particularly at Abosey Okine.


Guta’s action could cause a retaliatory measure by the Nigerian government. And would have a serious consequences on Ghanaians in Nigeria and around the world, for setting bad precedence.


Since his appointment to head the Nigerian High Commission in Accra. On Any day, ambassador Michael Olufemi Abikoye has to overcome a moment of harassments or intimidation towards Nigerians which would trigger us to be on either GTV, Angel TV, TV3,City TV,Metro TV , Ghone Tv , UTV  and Peace FM  to clear and clarify what is wrongly circulated on  air, including holding  press conferences to assure the safety of Nigerian businesses and advocacy for peaceful co-existence.

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