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The Roles of Kwame Nkrumah and S. G. Antor in The Evolution of Volta Region - Professor Dzigbodi Adjimah

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Komla Dzigbodi-Adjimah (March 2017)

Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Mr Senyo Gatro Antor were both politicians who played significant roles in the evolution of present day Volta region of Ghana. They had very different political agendas.

Nkrumah wanted independence for the Gold Coast with Western Togoland as an integral whilst Antor wanted independent Togoland. Western Togoland was a centre piece in their grand designs and each was out to outwit the other. In the end Nkrumah being the more astute politician got the better of Antor.

Why was Nkrumah able to triumph over Antor?

1. Nkrumah was better educated and underwent years of political tutelage and preparation before embarking on his political career. Antor was a school teacher that got into politics by default.

2. Nkrumah was a better strategist whose political organizational skills were second to none in recent African History. He had a global nationalistic agenda; Ghana & African Unity. Dr Ammattoe, the mentor of S.G. Antor and Slyvanus Olympio) had a parochial agenda: Creation of Eweland. The untimely death of Dr Ammattoe in far away Hamburg during the early stages of the independent movement, shifted the baton to S.G.Antor in Western Togoland and Slyvanus Olympio in Eastern Togoland.

4. Nkrumah's approach was to preach unification to the Mamprusis, the Gonjas and the Dagombas in Northern Territories of the Gold Coast with their brethren in British Protective Western Togoland. A very welcoming and delicious proposition whilst Antor's move meant division of these ethnic groups.

5. Antor's mission involved;
(a) dislodging Anlo, Tongu and Peki from Gold Coast colony, b) extricating Ho, Kpando and Hohoe from Western Togoland and
(c) getting Olympio to find ways and means of separating his ewe-speaking coastal people from their northern Kabrè people in Eastern Togoland and getting the Anehos from Dahomey (Benin) to join the dream Eweland. The core problem to the creation of EWELAND is the destabilization of at least 3 sovereign West African states.

6. Nkrumah's CPP being national in scope , was able to organize throughout Trans Volta Togoland - TVT (the new name for the region) whilst Antor's Togoland Congress was sectional and sectoral, based mainly in central dominantly ewe- speaking areas of Ho, Kpando and Hohoe and didn't have the resources to compete with Nkrumah throughout the region.

7. While Nkrumah's mission was relatively straight forward (unification of the Gold Coast colony with Ashanti, Northern Territories and TVT for independence) Antor faced a more daunting challenges: Komla Agbeli Gbedema (Minister of Finance) & F.K.D. Goka (Regional Commissioner and later Minister of Trade) and Rev Dovlo (MP) were all Anlos who wanted the Ewes in Ho Kpando and Hohoe to join them in Gold Coast Colony; F.Y Asare from Borada (Minister of Agriculture ) didn't want Buem to go back to Togo. The Yana of Yendi wanted unification with his Dagomba subjects in Northern Territories of the Gold Coast so Antor had to fight on 3 fronts viz i) elements of Kwame Nkrumah's CPP in the North & South of the TVT
ii) the British Administration of Western Togoland and iii) the French Administration in Eastern Togoland. Apparently he and his followers
underestimated the magnitude of the forces they were up against.

8. In the end whilst Nkrumah's message was clear & loud : YES (unification with the Gold Coast). Antor's "NO" on the other hand, was ambiguous & confusing:
(a) To some people the No vote meant "No, we don't want to join the Gold Coast, we want to be independent "
(b)To another group it meant "No, we don't want to join the Gold Coast but rather we want unification with Eastern Togoland.
(c) NO to a 3rd group meant independence for Western Togoland. "Ablode gbadza a!" This confusion is shown clearly in the 1956 Plebiscite results.

9. Out of over 190,000 who were registered, the following results were recorded:

YES = 93,095
No = 67,493
Did not vote = 33,639
This last group who didn't vote were alleged to have claimed that so far as they were concerned, Togoland was already independent so, they didn't understand why anybody should be bothering them to vote. (Most of such claimants were believed to be Togoland Congress members). So in the end Nkrumah won and TVT was integrated into the Gold Coast in May 1956 and became an integral part of independent country, Ghana, on 6th March 1957.

10. The lessons that we, Voltarians or Voltaians need to take from this narrative are:

i. Volta region of Ghana came into being through a series of legal and political events that NOBODY can wish away for any sentimental or nostalgic reasons.

ii Volta region is NOT Eweland, neither is it Western Togoland.
Volta region includes Anlos, Tongus and Pekis who were not members of Western Togoland. It however doesn't include the Gonjas, Mamprusis and Dagombas who were originally members of Western Togoland.

iii Eweland can only remain a dream. There are Ewes or people of Ewe stock in western Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Republic of Togo and the Volta and Eastern regions of Ghana. There's no way any of these countries would allow any of its citizens to leave to come together to form another country. Any attempt to instigate the Ewe population in any of these countries to move for secession would be tantamount to treasonable felony. The consequences are dire.

iv Ewes are not the only ethnic people that are scattered in more than one country. The Jews are all over the world; Germans are found in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland. I'm told there are more Irish in the U.S. than there are in Ireland. So my dear brothers and sisters, let’s learn to live and let others live.

v It was by a series of events that we ended up being citizens of Ghana. Whether we like it or not there's nothing we can do about it.Togoland Congress lost the 1956 Plebiscite. Period! There's no need crying over spilt milk. Our objective now should be to focus on the development of our part of Ghana to make it a better place than we came to meet it so that our children's children would have a better Volta region.

vi Those Voltarians who want to dabble in national politics should think through their policies clearly and articulate them loud and clear without any ambiguity, so that they don't suffer the fate of S.G.Antor & co.

Dr. Adjimah is a professor of mining / geology at
University of Mines & Technology, Tarkwa,
Ghana. The Ghanaian-born holds multiple
undergraduate and graduate degrees in geology
and mining from institutions in Ghana, UK and
Germany. His professional body memberships
include several science and technology associations.
Adjimah hails from the Gbi Community in Ghana's
Volta Region.


  1. Good account but Antor actually didn't want the Ewe area within the Gold Coast, Anlo through Tongu to Peki-Tsito Awudome to join in his new country. Prof. Amenumey puzzled over this position of Antor in his book, The Ewe Unification Movement. I could add a plausible reason to explain why, especially the opposition to Peking too but I'd reserve that for another day.

    Then, the situation was more confusing than even spelt out here. Ewe unification, as noted by Austin n George Padmore who devoted a whole chpt to the problem of Ewe irredentism, reached fever pitch in the aforementioned Ewe areas within the Gold Coast proper, where it started from, btw. But there n in Togo, they wanted Togo to be added to Ghana. That was the initial demand first made by Torgbui Sri II in 1915 (Sandra Greene 1996) before the events of the early 50s in Anloga in particular brought in the separatist ideas.

  2. Thanks for that info, Andy Kay.