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Opinions of Friday, 15 March 2019

Columnist: Francis Atayure Abirigo

How the historic 62nd Indece anniversary made Tamale the cleanest city in Ghana

New dimension to independence celebration and the politics

The people of Tamale, capital of the Northern Region have never been happier if you compare the feeling of every citizen that has used any road or street in the last one week in the metropolis.

Sixty two years ago Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah made the popular African declaration of freedom/independence for Ghana at the Black Star Square in Accra on March 6.

Since then the day has been celebrated in commemoration of the significant milestone chalked by Ghana in Accra at the same venue.

Historically, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo decided that in order to give honour to the chiefs and people of Dagbon for finally allowing peace and unity after twelve years of chieftaincy dispute and renewed clashes to celebrate the anniversary in no other place than the newly renamed Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium.

The event which took place on Wednesday 6 March was attended massively by the president and former presidents Jerry John Rawlings, John Dramani Mahama, ministers of state, current and former government appointees, leadership and members of parliament, chiefs and people from all walks of life to commemorate the anniversary.

President Nana Addo urged Ghanaians to remain resolute and peaceful and steadfast for modern development. He reiterated his commitment for the perpetual disbanment of political and partisan vigilantesim in Ghana.
Nana Akufo-Addo expressed gratitude to Niger's President, H.E. Mahamadou Issofou who was special guest of honour to the event.

Largely, President Akufo-Addo has scored a political point in Ghana, particularly in the Northern Region as people I have interacted with have all appreciated it and that is the essence of politics, doing things to make people happy and better off.

Zoomlion and the sanitation and beautification bit

However, Zoomlion Ghana Limited the waste management giant stole the show as they gave Tamale a facelift. The principal streets beginning from the Tamale Airport, Bawa and Kamina Baracks to city center, Lamashegu to UDS central administration, Tamale Teaching Hospital to Vitin, the Kunbungu and Nyankpola streets and all roundabouts to the main venue which was the Aliu Mahama Sports Station giving the regional capital a very cleaned and beautiful scenery.

The company started the celebration preparation by thoroughly cleaning Tamale and its environs to ensure that the city befits the President H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's vision of a clean Ghana a week long before the main event.

All major roads were cleaned and washed with mechanized street sweepers and men, all curbs painted, branding of the principal streets with the national colours and the introduction of astroturf technology at all round abouts making them so green and colourful among others.

The company provided sweeping and cleaning services at the stadium, water to service all the washrooms, positioned waste bins on the streets and at vantage points in and around the stadium to further enhance the cleanliness of the city and the stadium.

I spoke to the Group Head of Communication of the Jospong Group of Companies, Mrs. Sophia Lissah. The excitement on her face was so obvious as many people kept approaching her and the Northern Regional General Manager of Zoomlion, Mr. Peter Dawuni to express their appreciation for the work done by the company and urged them on to continue to give their good services to mother Ghana.

Mrs. Lissah used the opportunity to appeal to the media to intensify public education to augment Zoomlion's routine public education programmes to educate the populace on proper and acceptable waste management practices.

She urged citizens of Tamale and visitors to continue to keep the environment clean to attract tourists to boost the Ghanaian economy.

She appealed to the people to change the outmoded attitude of refusing to observe good sanitation practices.

Mr. Peter Dawuni gave the assurance that Zoomlion will continue to do the daily cleaning and create the needed awareness using their technical competencies, track record of experience and state-of the- art equipment to ensure a clean environment in Tamale and its environs saying “that is the job we have chosen for ourselves but the people owe it a duty to ensure the waste they generate is properly kept for collection and onward management”.

Mr. John Emmanuel Kwoseh a Ph.D candidate of the University for Development Studies (UDS) and a development worker described in an interview the neatness of Tamale as during the one week into the anniversary as fantastic and added that the Tamale could pass for the cleanest city in the world. He thanked the President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the innovation of regionalizing the independence anniversary and making the city of Tamale this clean.

He was however quick to express his doubts if the neatness of the city was anything that could be sustained. "My only fear is that the exercise could be political, because the president was coming to the region the power players did this to camouflage the president and the public and after his visit we go back to the odds".

Mr. Kwoseh highly commended Zoomlion Ghana Limited for the reason that they have shown competence and capability to the Ghanaian society that they can really keep Ghana clean. He said residents in the city are highly amazed at the work that Zoomlion has put in place and urged the authorities to ensure that their activities are sustained and not occasional.

A businessman resident in Tamale, Mr. Jones Pedavoah on his part called for the Metropolitan and Municipal authorities to allow Zoomlion to manage their roundabouts because the beauty of a city is seen on the beauty of our roundabouts and entry points.

Mr. Pedavoah said due to the independence celebration he noticed some streets that were not originally cleaned by Zoomlion have been added for cleaning and urged the authorities to ensure that all such streets are covered during their routine cleaning.

After March 62nd what should be done?

After here, where do we go? Will the president celebrate the 63rd independence day in the Upper East, Upper West, Ashanti, his own home Eastern, Central or Volta Region? Or he will choose one of his newly created regions to celebrate the 63rd indece day? This is a question the president alone can give answers to.

Zoomlion has given the assurance by expressing their competence in activity during and after the programme. Will the president and his government give the company the will power to cover everywhere in the cities and ensure that their work includes beautification as beauty and cleanliness are Siamese twins who blossom together and pay them with as scheduled without fail and hold them responsible for no work done or it will be work as usual?

Will Tamale remain the cleanest city in Ghana or it was indeed a camouflage? Mrs. Lissah and Mr. Dawuni said the company is embarking on a paradigm shift such that this neatness is going to be sustained so let the people of Tamale support this course for a beautiful city. Every one must acquire a bin and litter only into a bin; the assemblies should help by enforcing by-laws and, “Let us be each other’s keeper by ensuring that the indiscipline on the streets, the removal of the flags and the littering on the streets in Accra, Tamale and Kumasi among others is put to a stop”.

When these are done, Ghana will be a nation of tourism and there will be enough money for education and other social amenities.
God bless our homeland Ghana,
And make our nation great and strong…..

Francis Atayure Abirigo
Development Communications Expert.

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