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Opinions of Thursday, 27 May 2021

Columnist: Oheneba Addison

Akufo Addo’s blueprint for Ghana still remains on the drawing board

President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

When President Nana Akufo Addo was elected on December 7, 2016, he said he is a man on a mission to leave his legacy that he thought would rival the massive infrastructure development undertaken by the Nkrumah’s CPP administration in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.

Thus, his catch phrase of “1 District 1 Factory”, “1 Village 1 Dam”, Free SHS for all Children, “Ghana Beyond Aid, Africa Beyond Aid” and the “Year of Return” etc.

The goodwill for the above projects to succeed were overwhelming in the earlier days of his administration.Apart from the above, under the grand scheme that was proposed by this current President included updating of two local airports into international airports – Ho and Sekondi-Takoradi Airports, for strategic and tourism reasons, plus Accra to have a second and biggest Airport in West Africa at Pampram. This is ironic, since the notion of constructing an international airport at Pampram has been on the drawing board for over a decade and half now.

If the Akufo Administration had been able to pull this biggest project off in his first 4 years administration, it would have been an enduring legacy that would have stood the test of time.

The initial arrangement for Ho and Sekondi-Takoradi Airports when Nana Akufo Addo took over from former President Mahama was to convert the two Airports into an international airport (in addition to the two being upgraded into International Airports – Tamale and Kumasi, thus by the end of the decade Ghana would have 5 International Airports to ease traveling within and outside the country) but due to budget constraints and the covid 19 pandemic (which were all exported into the country), the Akufo Addo administration had to shelve the airport expansion plans and other major infrastructure projects such as building of “88” district and 6 regional hospitals plus the rehabilitation of Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital in Sekondi-Takoradi.

In 2012, during a private meeting the then candidate Nana Akufo Addo had with a group of people, he pledged to bridge the developmental gap that has clearly opened up in the country, especially the gulf between the then 3 Northern Regions, the then Volta Region (before it was divided into Oti and Volta respectively), Central and Western Regions (Before the creation of Western North from the Western region). Nana Akufo Addo was disturbed by the level of poverty that he witnessed during his campaign tour of the country in the run up to the 2012 general elections.

It was at the meeting that he tasked his team of Technocrats to look into the feasibility of transforming the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital into a teaching hospital and the convertion of the Bolgatanga and Wa Campus of University of Development Studies into autonomous universities, plus the establishment of a school of medical and dentistry at the Bolgatanga university, now known as University of Technology and Applied Science, under the leadership of one of the most distinguished medics in the country, Professor Albert Luguterah, the Pro Vice Chancellor of the university.

True to the commitment he made to the Northern Chiefs, thus on September 4, 2019, barely a year after giving Bolgatanga its first public university, the Ghanaian government secured a 20 million dollars concessional loan to expand Bolgatanga Regional Hospital, the only regional hospital in the country at the moment which is not a teaching hospital but has all the facilities of a teaching hospital.

On July 22, 2020 the President cut the sod for the commencement of the construction of a 70 million euros Teaching Hospital at Koforidua, the Eastern Regional Capital. It was in the light of this project that the newly established Eastern Region University, known as University of Environmental and Sustainable Development and Koforidua Technical University both stated that they would establish a medical school. Some analysts including this writer agree that Eastern Region does indeed needs a world class medical school, thus the 2 Universities in the region can take advantage of the building of this first-class Teaching Hospital to establish a joint multi campus school of medicine and dentistry, a first in the country.

With no time to waste, Professor Albert Luguterah, one of the eminent academics in the country and the Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Technology and Applied Science (UTAS) at Navrongo, announced the intention of the university to establish a school of medicine and dentistry with full blessing of President Nana Akufo Addo. With a ratio of 1 doctor to 100,000 patients in the country, Professor Luguterah was emphatic that as a matter of urgency, the University would soon start to train doctors and dentists since all the facilities at Bolgatanga Hospital are already in place. Nana Akufo Addo wants to put Bolgatanga on the world map as a city of culture and culture, just like Tamale to the south of the city.

President Nana Akufo Addo sees Volta Region and its regional capital Ho as a very strategic part of the country in terms of tourism and its close proximity to Togo, a French speaking country. Hence in a meeting the President had with Togbe Afede XIV, Agbogbomefia of Asogli state (a distinguished businessman, strategic investor and former President of the National House of Chiefs Ghana and the rest of Africa), the President presented his vision and blueprint to Togbe and other chiefs from the region.

Under the development undertaken by previous governments of late President Mills and past President John Mahama, Ho already boasts of a Teaching Hospital and the first University of Health and Applied Science to train doctors, dentists, nurses and other health professionals, plus new airport, the plan is to turn Ho and the rest of Volta region into a massive tourism attraction and an educational region of excellence. Already the region attracts most tourists due to its historical landmark attraction.

The President also discussed the need to uplift and beautify all the coastal towns including Sogakope (a historical town with very rich history) leading up to Aflao, a very important border town in the country and gateway of Ghana in the east of the country. The President was particularly concerned about the state of Aflao, which is the next door to the Togolese capital of Lomé. The President's ambition is to develop Aflao into a mega metropolis that would become a model city with beach front development of hostel, resorts and amusement parks, a first-class due carriage highway and an international airport that would rival or attract most passengers to Lomé International Airport.

As a matter of fact, both President Nana Akufo Addo and Togbe Afede share the same developmental ambitions for the country. In his meeting with the then Western Regional chiefs soon after the 2016 elections, the President informed them of his plans to uplift the region into its status of oil region and the regional capital of Sekondi-Takoradi as an oil city. The President also told them of his government’s plan to rehabilitate the Regional Hospital, Effia Nkwanta, into a state of the act hospital to rival that of Cape Coast Teaching Hospital.

Sekondi-Takoradi, Tarkwa, Prestia, Essikado, Ketan, Beposo, Shama, New Takoradi and other towns of the region have been neglected by past administrations which have negatively impacted the development of the region. In most towns and villages, all that one can see are dilapidated buildings. All the male members have left, leaving only old women and children. In fact, of all the regions in Ghana, apart from the Northern Regions and Volta, Central and Western Regions are among the most neglected regions in the country.

Nana Kobina Nketsia V, the Omanhene of Essikado Traditional area made a forceful intervention for the two regions to get its fair share of the national development. The President told the gathering that Takoradi Airport would be redeveloped into an international airport to befit an important oil producing region of the country. Nana Nketsia called for the creation of jobs, especially in the oil related industry. Nana Nketsia also impressed on the President to redevelop Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital into a teaching hospital where physicians and other related health professionals would be trained to help reduce the large doctor/patient ratio in the region.

The issue of galamsey featured prominently in all the meetings that the President had with the opinion leaders, chiefs and other Technocrats in all the meetings that the President attended.

So, the question many, including this writer are asking is, has this President, almost a year into the second term of his administration, been able to fulfil any of the promises he made to Ghanaians? The first 4 years of this administration was marred by the allegations of massive corruption by Nana Akufo Addo’s appointees, including one Agyenim Boateng Adjei who master minded the biggest theft at Public Procurement Agency after being appointed the CEO, by selling government contracts and amassing wealth of over 10 million dollars, excluding those that were hidden and the properties that he had already bought with this stolen wealth.

The fight against illegal mining, with the seizure of excavators, pickup trucks, mining equipment and gold were later looted by NPP Kingpins – the-so-called UNTOUCHABLES with impunity. These stolen equipment found their way back into mining sites to continue with the destruction of the land and water bodies by the NPP members, including some in higher positions and their Chinese cohorts.

There were other more serious allegations that led to the sacking of the Auditor General, Mr Daniel Yao Demolevo, plus some NPP Kingpins who were very much at the forefront of degradation of Ghana’s natural forests by prospecting for alluvial gold with foreigners including Chinese nationals, Indians, Lebanese, Syrians and their Ghanaian accomplices. The destruction of Ghana’s water bodies led by some criminal elements and thugs within the ruling NPP Party (parading as Politicians), including their notorious Delta and Invincible Forces embedded into the National Security Services, (terrorising and beating innocent citizens and journalists, including security personnel, in broad day light), has greatly undermined Nana Akufo Addo’s novelty idea of leaving behind a better Ghana.

During the run up to the 2016 general elections, the President’s vice, Mahammudu Bawumia made a series of promises, most undelivered up till now, lies bought into by the Ghanaian people, though that era also saw the constant lights off (the so called Dumsor) and the now infamous comment that the then candidate Akufo Addo made, “We are sitting on money but we are hungry" which was soon turned on its head by his appointees who took charge of looting from the country’s coffers, the sheer show of arrogance and of looted wealth, the insecurity and culture of impunity by some criminal elements within the security services, some openly intimidating brutality of citizens, including members of their own party, the New Patriotic Party.

Those who have known this President and his stand on anti-corruption have been saying his appointees are doing things that is not the norm, on his blind side, thus as the saying goes “He who pays the piper, calls the tune”, hence all the criticisms of this administration fall squarely at the doorstep of this President. To the degree that his Vice President, Mahammudu Bawumia, and his Minister of Trade, Allan Kyeremanten, have started to jokenly become the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party in the upcoming 2024 general election, almost 3 and half years away.

Most of Ghanaians see these two individuals, Kyeremanten and Bawumia as TOXIC, for the mere fact that they are still associated with a regime that has caused lasting and damaging havoc on the Ghanaian people, destruction of the rain forests and river bodies.

In 2006/7, this President(Nana Addo) resigned from the Kuffuor government, when the administration was in its lame duck years, just like this current administration, was seen and tagged as the most corrupt government ever to rule Ghana. Most commentators and analysts, including this writer, lauded Nana Akufo Addo for standing by his principle and resigned to contest the flag bearership of the NPP at the period in question.

Over two thirds of the population, majority under 30 years old did not even know the struggle and the fight that led to the birth of the fourth republic.
Sadly, as humble and transparent as this President has been, the thugs and criminals in his administration and party have greatly undermined his efforts to leave a lasting legacy and for this reason his administration would be associated with all the insecurities, the culture of impunity, the bastardisation of institutions and the weaponization of security services, including the culture of silence and blatant murder of investigative Journalist Ahmed Suale.

The criminals parading as Politicians and National Security Officers are now emboldened to continue to brutalise the citizenry, journalists and traditional rulers because this President NEEDS EVIDENCE before he will take action against the very militia of NPP (Delta Force and Invincible Forces) embedded into the Security Services.

In the run up to the 2012 elections, the NPP Militia unleashed brutal armed robbers across the country, killing innocent citizens on the highways and at their homes under the cover of darkness. Again, in the run up to the 2016 elections, this same NPP Criminal Militia, the Deltas and Invincible Forces embarked on burning of markets and state assets in order to destabilise the country and put fear into traders across the country.

Before and during the 2020 general election, the NPP Militia who had been employed as National Security Operatives, for the first time in the nation’s history used fied live ammunitions on their fellow citizens, killing 8 people including 3 innocent children. In the run up to the 2016 elections, Mahammudu Bawumia, the current vice President, promised every constituency would receive $1 million dollars for development, yes $1 million dollars. How ironic that the $1 million dollars he said is the code of NPP Kingpins looting $1 million dollars per month from each constituency.

Joseph Osei Wusu, the deputy speaker in the 4th Republic of Ghana, when asked about those who were executed by the NPP Militias embedded in the National Security Services at Wenchi East constituency, said “does the government apologise when criminals die?” A sad reality that the Ghanaian people have been subjected to by NPP.

On Saturday, May 22, 2021 a motorcade convoy of Muhammudu Bawumia, the vice President of the Akufo Addo led NPP government, crashed and killed a motorcycle rider (a native of Accra New Town, Accra) at Kanda Road in Accra, Ghana. This trend has become very common among the NPP leadership in government, including ministers, deputy ministers, lawmakers and Assembly members who ride across the country with sirens sounds motorcade with about 12 to 20 Toyota 4X4 V8s. The gentleman who was killed by the vice-Presidential Motorcade of Mahammudu Bawumia, a Moslem was buried the same day he died.

The above atrocities being committed by this Akufo Addo led administration is not unique in this administration. This Akufo Addo NPP administration is turning into a very violent regime where citizens are being brutalised and killed with impunity. The criminal elections in this administration are giving the whole administration a very bad name. As 2024 general election approaches, Ghanaians are praying for the good Lord to deliver them from the hands of this NPP government.