The Nima Boy Was At the Nima Excellence Awards 2016

Frankies Hotel in Nima could not be a very popular outfit in the nation, it could not be as prestigious as other hotels in our part of the world yet it holds its place in my life and that of many Nima folks as the place where our saved monies was spent just to catch a dance on Eid days as we were growing up.

It is evocative of the days when we used to use its other gate (to dodge the bouncers) just to catch what we termed ‘last hour’ of those programmes held therein such as passing outs, marriage receptions, birthday parties etc and dance our bodies out to the tunes the deejay played to climax those programmes. It seems just yesterday when we used to do that. But as the Latin say, tempus fugit meaning “time flies quickly.”

I can never forget the fact that it happened to be the venue for most politically –surreptitious meetings in the Ayawaso-East Constituency. I have had one on one meeting with numerous Parliamentary candidates and our Members of Parliament, been in meetings with candidates for Party Executive positions and the grandest of them all is that it was the venue which saw Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, the erstwhile Member of Parliament for Ayawaso North Constituency, declared winner for the last time in any Party Parliamentary Primaries.

Last week Saturday saw my return to that honored venue. Not to do any of the above but to witness a historic and wonderful initiative rolled out by some of the great minds we have in our community, the Nima Excellence Awards.

I fell for this initiative flatly since the very minute I heard the name. My love for it got entrenched the day I saw the sign post of Tema Excellence Awards on my way to the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority. According to the outfit’s facebook page, the Nima Excellence Awards “is designed to celebrate people who have excelled in their chosen career and still represent the brand Nima (Nima, New Town, Maamobi, Pig Farm, Kotobabi, Kanda.)”

If for nothing at all, it will lead in changing the narrative that Nima is full of hoodlums and non-productive folks. This point was well-captured by Zeal of VVIP fame when he stated that their Award as the best Entertainment Personality is the greatest of awards in their career because it will inspire other Nima youth to work on their talent. It is therefore a worthy initiative in the right direction.

The programme that day really shaped and projected the Nima brand. One thing I will laud the organizers for is the venue. To stage the maiden edition of such initiative in Nima makes a loud and emphatic statement that it has come to stay forever home. It underscored the fact that Nima has the capacity to host productive programmes and not only the usual ‘dancehall noises’ we see in town. However, the organizers should work at having the next edition staged at the National Theartre or Accra International Conference Center. The Nima brand is so expensive and must be heard in the four corners of Nkrumah land.

Another thing worth-celebrating also is the depth of personalities present that day. To have the Minister for Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Siddique Boniface, the former Member of Parliament for Akwatia Constituency, Baba Jamal, Member of Parliament for Ayawaso-East Constituency, Nasser Mahama Toure, Chief Moro Baba Issah, Assembly Men for Nima-East and Nima-West Electoral areas, the International Security Expert, Irbard Ibrahim and other dignitaries gathered at one place for a nascent initiative is a laudable effort on the part of the organizers.

It is a plus to their quest and adds some impetus to the whole caboodle. However, the Assembly men were not recognized. They represent the basest level of governance in our Local Government structure.

I don’t’ see how people from other places were recognized whilst the men who legally see to an aspect of our lives in Nima were not. And this happens to be the Nima Excellence Awards. I don’t think the emcee (who did very well on stage) tried to at least leave the stage and walk through the audience to see the deserved people for recognition that he missed or not.

Also, the Chief of Nima was not present and I was surprised. A programme of such nature should attract such a personality. We can’t dispute the fact that he is recognized as such. We witnessed his coronation on the Nima-Maamobi Highway and therefore should have brought him on board and present him with the citation we gave others who are not from Nima.

Few weeks ago, I emceed the inauguration of a Youth Organization in Awoshie and all their chiefs fully represented themselves including the Chief of Kwashieman. And they all attested to the fact that never in their lives had they seen such an initiative and they showered their blessings preponderantly. We must engage our chiefs in worthy activities such as the Nima Excellence Awards. We must help activate their dormant offices.

We will forever thank the organizers for their wonderful brains that birthed this initiative. As stated, it is the maiden edition. First of its kind in our seemingly-accursed community. That notwithstanding, that should not be used to explain why we missed the glorious opportunity to make the maiden edition a super-solid one.

Let’s not forget the fact that the organizers and almost all the participants are Muslims. And as Muslims, the Prophet had already told us that Allah loves if one of us executes a task, he should do it in an excellent style and fashion.

First was the issue of time. The programme that was slated to start at 8 pm started almost two hours thirty minutes late. It started at 10:21 pm. At 8, I was in Frankies with my brother. And that was when the stage and its related equipments were given a fix by the technicians. There was absolutely no trace of the organizers then. The lateness was so intense that when the programme started, some people who had come in earlier started leaving for their homes.

The issue of time is something we should work on in the next edition. We cannot make it a constant part of our programmes to always start with an apology. The organizers have organized numerous programmes very well and should have known better. The Nima Excellence brand is too solid to be soiled with lateness. “In all our endeavors, our attitude towards time will determine success or failure” as stated by Malcolm X.

I don’t want to talk about some of the chairs that were not cleaned. I also do not want to talk about some of the pre-programme interviews that took like eternity to finish. I certainly do not want to talk about the ushers that were missing at the gate. At a point in time I acted as the ‘unofficial’ usher of the programme.

Something deep within me is retraining my fingers from typing about the seeming discomfort we put some of the dignitaries in because we made them continue reading the citation when ‘everyone’ felt it was okay. A strong reaction within tells me to pat the organizers at the back for the massive attendance.

Now to the Awards.

Awards are good. Alan Alda said “Awards can give you a tremendous amount of encouragement to keep getting better, no matter how young or old you are.” The Quran tells us in two different places that he who volunteers a good act will not miss the all-rewarding and all- knowing nature of Allah. It is therefore an appealing prospect to have an initiative that awards the diligent and hardworking men and women in our community.

All the Awardees deserved their awards except the last one given. Interestingly, that is the award that generated much condemnation the very moment it was given to Hajia Damata. With all due respect to her, she does not deserve that award. We cannot take anything away from her. However, she does not deserve the MOST INFLUENTIAL AWARD in a category that had other personalities like the Member of Parliament, Mac Naza, the influential cleric Mallam Addo, the super-influential Mallam Dawud and another.

To speak plainly, she is the least influential in that category. I do not want to extol the qualities of Mallam Addo nor that of Mac Naza. Mallam Dawud’s influence has even moved from Nima to farer parts of the world. The point should be repeated, she does not deserve the award.

Another award that made tongues wag was the Tertiary Student of the year Award. Many wanted to know what went into that category. How come there was only one nominee? It led to questions like when was the nomination opened and closed. Is it that Khadijatu Iddrisu is the only lady who completed the University in 2016 or the only First Class Graduate or what?

Finally, it is obvious the organizers did not spread wide their research tentacles. The awards went to a lot of people within their inner circle. Some awards were too obvious to tell that it was going for this and that. Going forward, we should work hard towards eliminating such actions which tend to mar the reputation of the Nima Excellence Awards. I don’t see an Excellence Awards in Nima for the year 2016 (the year she died) that will not at least, mention Mman Gausu, the food seller who fed an entire community.

I don’t see an Excellence Awards in Nima that will not at least mention Lesson Pharmacy; the great Chemical shop that has served Nima since 1978. There were times Nima was filled with rogues and hoodlums that were ruthless in their thuggery. There were people who fought them tooth, nail and claw for us to have a serene, tranquil and peaceful Nima that we live in now. They should have at least received a special mention.

I have a feeling we have sent a clear message that Nima is not a ‘celestial’ city when no cleric was awarded. We have sent a message that their efforts are in vain and the community is not a righteous one. That should be looked into next time.

The organizers should open up the nomination process, clearly define the categories and also conduct a thorough research into personalities that really deserve to be awarded. And also they should seek for sponsorship from many organizations so that no one can hijack or monopolize the award scheme.

All the same, we must really congratulate the organizers for executing an initiative that will go down in history as one of the most laudable, worthiest and powerful in our community. More grease to their flexible elbows. Congratulations also to all winners and nominees. It is a tour de force. A remarkable feat.

Many wondered why the Nima boy was never awarded. They kept inundating me with questions. I just smile and tell them what I have repeated ad nauseam. Our elders told us that “unless the penis dies young, it will surely eat bearded meat.”

Inusah Mohammed

[email protected]

NB: The Writer is a Youth-Activist and Student of Knowledge

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