According to Paa Joe Odonkor, a retired BBC Journalist, he has been using drugs for 26 years. As former Ghanaian BBC journalist, he reveals that, he left the promising international career to become a drug dealer, commanding over $162,000, an equivalent of GHS728,336 in 1982.
His quest to be rich at a young age landed him in jail leaving him with no choice but to live a humiliating lifestyle.
Speaking with SVTV Africa, Odonkor recounted his regretful lifestyle which saw him having suicidal tendencies countless times because he felt ashamed of the kind of lifestyle he now lives, after previously being a well-to-do professional.
“I was working for the BBC but it wasn’t paying well though it was a satisfactory job but my lifestyle was so big because I wanted to impress hence started dealing in drugs.
“My first assignment as a drug dealer was an Indian hemp and I made $4,000 and my second trip I made $8,000 so I said to myself that I will do it on my own and not for others. I went four trips with Indian Hemp to Italy, Switzerland and USA and after sometime, I started dealing with cocaine. With cocaine I was a big boy… As at December, 1982, I was controlling $162,000, I made bed-sheet of dollars at Ring Way Hotel which is now a Bank opposite Bus Stop.
“I don’t take taxi because I felt taking a taxi is a humiliation. I changed cars every two months… from Jaguar Xjs1, I brought Lincoln continental and the only car I never brought here was Bentley and Rolls Royce.
“I was busted in March, 1984 and that was the biggest catch of cocaine from the continent of Africa. I was arrested for carrying 142 tonnes of cocaine. My passport showed that I was younger.
“After I left jail and came back home, I lost all my friends. As for the women, when you have deeper pocket and have lots of dollars they call you honey but when you get broke and develop holes in your pocket, they make themselves conveniently unavailable… they vanish.
“Out of frustration, I started using the drug myself . Please don’t try it… Don’t let anybody deceive you. When you have 100 million now from Cocaine, within the next 4hours you will get broke and with the heroine, once you start taking it, within one month you get what we call Cold Turkey and without it you can’t survive.
“Your social life, your physical life is mostly destroyed when you are addicted to the heroine. I’m begging my listeners not to make the same mistakes I made. I have seen women and slept with them at Grand Sheraton Hotel which I paid for $1500 a day. I have taken women to Venice too. I did all these just because I wanted to impress women. Yeah the women are just there because of your pocket. The day you will develop holes, they will call you pepper because the magic is gone. I will plead with you so that you don’t make the mistakes I did.
“Today there are places that I go and they look down at me from my footwear to my head. I have worn seven roll suit. They are in England and they make the best suits. I wore Rolex and bought expensive things for my girlfriends. I bought green emeralds which is the highest diamond with 18 carats for my girlfriend but today when I see the women, they ask me, Jeff is that you and they give me a gift of $50.
“Pride place a back seat to the spreadsheet. You will say well I have ‘flex’ these women before but…. I’ve never flown on Zongo on an Air-craft before not even Ghana Airways. I go with Swiss Air or Pan Am and always Business class. I flew from Britain that is London to New York with Concord. I paid $4700 to go from London to New York which under normal circumstance if you go with VC10 or the Boeing 747 will take you about 6hours but with the Concord it will take you three and half hours.
“But at the end of the day, you become humiliated and you will try to kill yourself. I have tried to kill myself two times but it didn’t work. I drove a car into a tree at Asylum down but it didn’t work. I also took 20grams of valium but I woke up earlier than I normally do. I said well stop fighting God and at that time I saw people who go to church like they don’t have what it takes that is why they go and hide in church because I thought I was too smart. One time I told a guy that; You I will feed you for the rest of your life, you can’t compare yourself to me…. God forgive me. When I saw the guy today, he gave me pretenses. So I’m such an emotional and sentimental person that when people despise me I feel so bad.
“Life is about what you make it… I wanted to be rich and I became fabulously rich but then what news will it make when you are young and rich but getting to your 60s, you look like an AIDS patient or you look like a 75years old man. It is better you go through the mill and at the end of the day when you are getting older you can make it because there is a saying that the petonics give no explanation, for the majority do not look out for circumstantial details but for the successful and unsuccessful outcome. Almost without exception, people will pretend like they love you but it is articulating a minor motive against an inarticulate major motive… all they want is your pocket.
“At the end of the day I thank God that I’m alive though I still get this suicidal tendencies once in a while but then I really want to impart this free advice to you, If you take it, it is going to help you. The worse thing that can happen to you isn’t broken heart but when you are hook to drugs…Yes when you’re a slave to drug, many people will despise you. I will appeal that when people are able to keep the habit, society shouldn’t neglect them because when you start neglecting them they will feel to go back. I’m not calling for sympathy but it makes you go back and do the old things. I’ve been a drug addict for 26years.
I have a good and a very loving family. My elder brother is a pilot with America Airways, the second one is an artist in UK. I’ve one sister who is very famous, her daughter was Miss Ghana 2003 winner but then who wants her uncle to be like this. My family supports me. I have a kid but we don’t have a contact, he is in Switzerland. I turned out to deny him that is why we have lost contact. I treated my wife badly but thank God she has forgiven me.”
Meanwhile, Ghanaian dancehall and latest Zylofon Media Signee, Shatta Wale after carefully watching the touching interview of the retired BBC journalist, Paa Joe Odonkor was inspired and requested to meet him.
In a post he shared on his Facebook timeline, he indicated his readiness to meet with the experienced journalist who once lived a great life.
“I wanna see this man and just shake him..please..he just made me shed tears…please please and please..arrange that and let me meet him..GOD BLESS YOU PAA JOE DONKOR..I LOVE YOU.” Shatta posted on Facebook.