Feature Article of Friday, 25 January 2013
Columnist: Aboba, Mathias
Article by: Mathias Aboba
Dr Ephraim Avea Nsoh, the man seen by many as the favorite candidate for the position of Regional Minister for the Upper East Region has appealed to the numerous community groups and associations across the region who are all calling on the president to consider appointing him as the next Upper East Regional Minister to remain calm as he is convinced that the president’s predilection for objectivity and strong believe in the voice of the masses makes it difficult for him to ignore their voice.
It will be recalled that since the electoral victory of the NDC in the December 7th and 8th 2012 general elections and the subsequent coronation of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama as President of the Republic of Ghana on January 7th 2013, several groups, associations and individuals of high repute across the length and breadth of the Upper East Region and beyond have been incessant in their appeals to the President to consider appointing the man they describe as the “competent visionary and humble gentleman” as the next Regional Minister for the Upper East Region. Notable among the individuals and groups, who have declared their support for Dr Avea for the post of the regional Minister, include the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Alemyarum Baba Salifu, the Upper East Youth Association, and some women groups in the region.
One of the most recent public statements endorsing the candidature of Dr Avea for the regional minister’s was the regional youth voice known as the Upper East Youth Association: a vibrant none political group whose passion for the development of the region have led the group to institute awards scheme for people who have made remarkable contributions to the region’s development for which Dr John Koku Awoonor-Williams, current Regional Director of Health Services for the region, Mr Roland Aganbire of RLG fame among others have been proud recipients. The endorsement of Dr Avea by the Upper East Youth Association, a group so recognised and respected for their strong role as watch dog of leadership in the region came on the heels of similar acclamations by some district based groups including the Bongo Youth Consensus for Development.
This massive support base for Dr Avea contrasts sharply with his contenders in the race including “ouster” former MP for Talensi Hon. John Tia Akologo, Former Deputy Regional Minister Hon. Lucy Awuni, among a host of others none of whom have attracted a single soul openly backing them.
But yesterday’s exclusion of the vacant seat of the Upper East Regional Minister from the set of regional ministerial nominations made by the president have steered fears across the region with some agitation and speculations that the president might be under pressure from strong forces to deny the people’s man from being chosen.
But when Dr Avea was contacted, he dismissed the fear expressed by his supporters and urged them to remain calm and allow the President to do his work. He said he has no doubt the President knows his competence, loyalty and commitment to the party and the people of the Upper East Region and will not allowed himself to be influenced by any power play or personal consideration at the expense of visionary leadership and true character of a unifier.
For many the open massive declaration of support for Dr Avea for the post of Regional Minister for the Upper East Region does not come as a surprise. Some of the people this reporter spoke to were resolute about their trust in Dr Avea to perform creditably well in managing the peace and development of one of Ghana’s most deprived regions. As a political activist and a party man Dr Avea is most celebrated for his strong views on party unity: he is well known for his ability to mend political cracks and heal wounds in the party. For twenty years he has ensured the unity of the NDC in the Bongo Constituency and making sure the party maintains a 100% record in that constituency. His organizational abilities are sterling and his interpersonal skills exceptional.
For many he has the character of a great leader no wonder he enjoys the support of founding members of the party and the youth alike both at home and away having served as patron of UEC wing of TEIN for over 15 years. He has made a name in community mobilization and takes credit for over 30 existing women groups across the region.
In the sphere of professional career he is a man of language and culture: a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department, Department of Gur-Gonja Languages Education, University of Education Wineba. For as long as he has been at the university Dr Avea over the years has inspired and mentored thousands of young people from the three regions of the north and even beyond. He is an entrepreneur and a businessman. His initiative to provide free financial literacy tuition for students in Senior High School across the region a few years ago has been hailed by many as a strategy for empowering the youth for economic transformation of the region.
Some party executives who shared their views on his leadership style and personality likened him to the His Excellency the President: a man so humble and yet so firm in leadership, a lover of peace, fairness and transparency. Other referred to him as a master and believer in grassroots politics and community development. A notable party fellow who spoke with some agitation in his voice was point blank “I think the President by the appointments he has made so far has demonstrated that he is a leaders who knows what he doing, he has convinced all of us that he is going for results oriented persons as such I will not understand why he may by-pass a personality such as Dr Avea for someone else”. The fellow added that so much is expected from the person who becomes the next Upper East Regional Minister considering the increasing infrastructural deficit, issues of food security, poor performance in the education sector and other prevailing factors. “For me the President has an opportunity in Dr Avea to enrich his better Ghana agenda team. The man has the right leadership experience, competence and character to deliver, no wonder many groups and individuals have come out openly to declare their support for him”, the source concluded.
Regarding the revelation that some sitting MPs from the region are seriously lobbying for the position of regional minister, a number of strong party sources and pressure groups spoken to kicked against such a move saying the President risks undermining his government if he goes in for a sitting member of parliament as regional minister for a distant region such as the Upper East Region. Others were quick to caution that if the President overlooks the effect the appointment of an MP will have on the person’s performance in parliament and in the region and goes ahead with such as action he would be stoking popular resistance.
Also picked up by this reporter were some strong voices who indicated their preparedness to resist the appointment of any of the “ouster” former MPs for the Talensi and Nabdam areas. The sources described the loses of the onetime unshakable Hon. John Tia Akologo and Moses Asaga as vote of no confidence by the people for which reason they do not merit any such appointment. One voice sounding confident declared “I don’t believe the President will make such a mistake to go for Ho. John Tia, or Moses Asaga for regional minister given what they caused the party because of their dictatorship tendencies but on the unlikely event that one of them bulldozes his way and get appointed, the president should be prepared to meet the entire Upper East Region on the streets of Bolgatanga.
From all indications the region will remain as calm as it has always been but no one can predict the reaction of the public if the President fails to appoint the man the people have sung his name so much all this while.