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General News of Thursday, 18 January 2018

Source: citifmonline.com

Participants divided over creation of new region

There appears to be mixed feelings from the people in the Volta Region on the proposed creation of a new region out of the Volta Region, after the Commission of Inquiry overseeing the processes began its public hearings in Ho.

The sitting, which is the first public encounter of the Commission with the people in the region, after earlier stakeholder consultations, was held in the Dr. Afeti Auditorium of Ho Technical University.

Chaired by Justice S. A. Brobbey, the Commission gave the two sides fair hearing to submit their views on whether the territory needs a new region or not.

It was however clear at the end of the sitting that the differences mostly came from persons on either side of the northern and southern divide, with most people in the northern part of the region craving a new region in hopes of bringing development to the generally underserved areas.

The southern dwellers, however, opined that the development gap could be bridged if the government creates additional districts in the area and improves transportation networks to ease the movement of goods and service from the north to the south.

One of the participants, Charles Kwesi Gomenu, told Citi News, what the existing region needs is improved infrastructure and not having a whole new region carved from it.

“Creating a new region out of the Volta region will not bring any difference. Let’s look at the Upper regions divided some years back by former president Rawlings. You still see their youth migrating from their region to Accra. You know, the challenge of Ghana now is youth unemployment and what we can do to create employment for the youth. We have to develop our infrastructure,” he said.

“You know, it’s a fact that commuting from Kete-Krachi or the northern part of Ghana to the regional capital is a challenge simply because the road network is very bad. If you cross the border to nearby Togo, you can travel by rail from Lome right to Gblita. So where the terminals are like Tsevie, Notsie, Atakpame and others, you see markets booming around the terminals. That alone gives employment to a whole lot of their people. Foodstuffs like yam and others can be transported down to the southern sector.”

The secretary to the petitioners, Dr Kweku Addeah, however, disagreed with this assertion stating that a lot more indicators factored into their calls for a new region.

“The gentleman was missing the point. When we talk of development, transportation is one of the indicators. But there are several indicators like water, like even food, like education, like jobs. He only picked one and we have taken all. Look at the statistics I gave. All the statistics are in our favour. You can’t doubt that one. A problem that has existed for more than 60 years, you cannot in one budget or two budgets, solve it,” he said.

“You see, in any case, what will our brothers and sisters in the south lose if any region is created? You don’t lose anything. What I have observed is that people or some people are opposed to us not because we want a division of the region but because they want to promote a secessionist idea of joining Togo. You see every student of history or everybody who has been to secondary school, you would have known by now that when colonialism is gone, it’s gone. When you’ve got your independence, you’ve got your independence. We are now creating new structures.”

The Commission is expected to hold similar sittings in the other selected areas including Ketechrachi, Nkwanta, Kpasa and Jasikan in the week.

Justice S. A. Brobbey said the hearings are part of a fact-finding mission, after which the Commission will inform the President on whether there is a need and substantial demand for the creation of the new region in the northern part of the Volta Region.