Basko Kante (USA)

A Lost Opportunity

It is said that greatness is either thrust upon you or you are born with greatness. In the case of Buluk, it can be said that we were born with greatness. However, has Buluk recognized this fact? Alternatively, has she embraced this fact and used it to her benefit? These are questions for every one of us Buluk-dem, to answer or attempt to do.

It was not long ago that most of us longed to return to Bulsa to spend time and/or spend Christmas. I recall the great annual student (state) meetings we organized and attended in Sandema. These were the times when we felt very concerned about our state and its predicament. These were the times when we felt strongly that something had to be done to alleviate the suffering of our fathers and mothers. These were the times when each one of us wanted to give back what our forebears had foregone for our sake. These were indeed revolutionary times.

I also recall these times when the "secondarians" filled our streets (roads) with their starched shirts, pants and with their Parker pens hanging on their shirt pockets. These young men and women encouraged and challenged us all (teachers and pupils alike) to embark on extra classes in order to improve our education and lot in life. Our young and dynamic teachers responded to these calls. Like lightning and with determination, several of the teachers took the bull by its horns; and within a couple of years several of these teachers entered the universities and came out successfully. They have since taken their place in the gates of leadership of our country.

Then came the Bulsa Student Union. The Bulsa Youth Association was the catalyst for Bulsa action and progress. We organized the Association with the sole aim of helping to shape the destiny of Bulsa. We formed branches in Bolga, Tamale and Accra. In addition, these branches organized our people in their localities for action. They sent representatives to the annual general meetings in Bulsa where major decisions were taken. Decisions, such as what com-pensations should farmers in the Fumbisi Valley give back to the people of Bulsa. Those were indeed, the days! What has gone amiss since then? Why have things and progress been slowed so pitifully? Well, I recall a statement that was made by 'Alog-fuubi' (The Sandem-Nab) to the effect that the educated Buluk was like the big bush-bird that is supposed to fly but is unable to do so because of its wings.

These disjointed wings notwithstanding, Buluk appeared to have a good start: It was blessed with one common language or dialect. Buluk is blessed with strong chiefs in its eleven villages. Buluk is strategically located in a corner of the Upper East Region. Buluk was and is self sufficient in food and animal production. Buluk-dem freely intermarry and are therefore closely related to one another. There was unity amongst its people and chiefs for many years. This apparent stable climate was crowned with the building of the one primary school that catered to the educational needs of the state. That was the Primary Boarding School in Sandema. This small, but all-important, institution further strengthened the unity and linguistic cohesion of Buluk for, it brought children from the far corners of Buluk, like Vare, Chuchuliga, Yiwasi and Gbedembilisi to-gether in one location. It was the product of this all-important school, coupled with a few children of Buluk parentage (who were born outside the Bulsa state), that helped spread education to the other villages in the early 1950s. Finally, Buluk provided the strongest men in the nation to the British Volunteer Force for the protection of the colonial administration in the Gold Coast (Ghana). Buluk was then poised for take-off, one would think. However, that was not to be.

Notwithstanding all these glaring advan-tages, Buluk-teng has remained margin-alized, with poor infrastructure, non-existent social amenities, and devoid of financial and telecommunication institutions. While Buluk-dem have recently begun to invest in their native land, they have in the recent past remained disunited, strongly individualistic and generally impotent to effect positive change in their people and state. We have all become so complacent and aloof at the predicament of our people and the administration of our district. Our non-involvement in the local affairs of our homeland has allowed incompetent charlatans to swindle the little there is in the district. There is no gainsaying that our parents put heavy premium in our education in the hopes that we could and would relieve them of their toil and suffering. Our forebears expected us to protect them not only from their misery under colonial rule but from local government misrule and local vandals.

We have the opportunity to change our modus operandi for the future. We have the opportunity to change the course of our state. We must make a difference. What solutions do I propose, you may ask: We must work together again. We must be involved in the affairs of our homeland and the lives of our people. Education and whatever benefits it has brought in its wake, must be used to relieve the toil and suffering of our people. If we are the light and/or eyes of our people, we must ensure that we light the terrain and see the suffering that is around them and help better their lot.

We must not allow institutions, myopia, inertia and indifference to prevent us from doing the right thing. We must not lose this opportunity. Buluk-dem, wake up! For, there is strength in unity. Long Live the Bulsa State.