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Latest News

Mr. Charles Abugre is the new Deputy Director of the United Nations (UN) Millennium Campaign in Africa with regional office in Kenya. A Ghanaian, Abugre was in Lagos recently during his on-going tour of Africa and did a survey highlighting his plan for the organization.

IT is someone like Charles Abugre who was born in abject poverty, fought and conquered poverty who is in the best position to ensure that Africa meets the target of 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). And he is set to use his new position as the Deputy Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign in Africa with regional office in Kenya to ensure that the MDGs are achievable.

But one thing that has remained indelible in his memory is the death of his daughter, Asukiya (meaning it is enough). In 1981, Abugre was married to his Donata. She conceived and delivered in May 1982 their first daughter, Asukiya. “I was working with the Jerry Rawlings government in Ghana on a voluntary basis at that time. There was no salary in it,” he recalled.

Unfortunately, Asukiya took ill and died in 1984. “She died of diarrhea. My first experience of the failure of the state and with poverty was the death of my daughter. I did not have the money to buy the medication to take care of her.”

By the time he found the money to buy the drips that would have saved her daughter at Korlibu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana her veins had already collapsed and her body turned cold. That was his lowest moment.

What happened geared him up to ensure that public service worked in Ghana. He fought tooth and nail for the liberation of the people of NIMA 441 which used to be a slum in Accra. “We created an NGO in Ghana called the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC). It was set up basically to address the issue of NIMA 441 at the national level. We won the war before I later left for further studies in Holland through the sponsorship of Accra Diocese of the Catholic Church,” he reminisced.

Abugre is from Bongo, a village in the Northern part of Ghana close to the border with Burkina Faso. That was where his father, Azota Abugre came from. His mother, Akibase (meaning everybody is almost dead) hails from Vea also in Northern Ghana. His mother was so named because she was born at a time when the death rate was higher than the birth rate in Ghana.

“The mortality and the morbidity rate was high. Many people named their children according to the circumstances of their birth. My other name is Akelyira. It means you will always be remembered, because three of my siblings died before l was born. l know that I was born in 1959, not because my parents recorded it but because l was born a week after the birth of somebody whose father was a soldier. As a soldier, they were required by army rule to register the birth of their children, therefore my birthday is approximated by the birth of our neighbour’s child. I know for sure which month and which year it was, but l don’t know for sure which day it was,” he said.

He recalled that the people who taught him in school in Northern Ghana did not come from Northern Ghana because the colonial project did not create education in Northern Ghana. “I am talking about Gowrie Primary School in the Bongo district. This school started under the trees, we were going there half naked with one teacher. Every year we got one more teacher. I am talking about 1964-65. It was a year or two before former Ghanaian President, Late Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown,” he recalled.

Abugre disclosed that during that period, education was free and compulsory in Ghana. It was enforced by the traditional rulers. They were expected to identify children of five to six-year-old and send them to school.

Read the full article.