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Opinions of Monday, 13 February 2017

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

Development Agenda; Inner Cities and Zongo sector

By: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

On assumption of power of the New Patriotic Party after the polls of December 7th 2016, the new president nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo begun moves to fulfil his innovative and ambitious campaign pledges, the foremost being the establishment of the Inner Cities and Zongo Development Ministry. This means that for the first time in the history of Ghana since independence in 1957 a move is being made to lift up the image of the 600 or more of the less developed parts of Ghana.

To cap it all Honorable Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface the newly elected Member of Parliament for Abokobi Medina a notable figure in all the Zongos is nominated as the Minister of State for the new Ministry. When news about his nomination went round, many Zongo dwellers and those who were familiar with his performance as Minister in the NPP government under President John Kufuor gave him the pass mark as the right choice even before he went before the appointment committee in parliament for vetting.

The tasks before him would be herculean given the fact that the Zongos lack many amenities being unplanned settlements with a large number of the people especially the young ones who need to be supported to move up intellectually.

Many of the youth in these areas have benefited from Islamic education with little secular education.

But since the level of education for many of them is not enough for them to hold their own they loiter about or venture to travel out to Europe for greener pastures or as house maids in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, while a chunk of them serve as action troopers for politicians. However, of late a sizeable number of Muslim youth have moved up the ladder of education with some as lecturers, engineers’, doctors and ministers. But they are very few. The Zongos also require face lifts with new school buildings to include senior high schools and tertiary institutions. The Zongos require more vocational schools’ clinics and modern markets, good layouts with good roads and modern places of convenience.

To be able to succeed the new ministry must use available human resources in the Zongos and localities Concerned. To begin with there is the need to set up a Zongo and inner city consultative committees in all the Zongos with a headquarters in Accra. Membership of the committees. should include imams, Islamic scholars’ engineers’ doctors from the Zongos. notable organizations that can be of help are Islamic Council for Development and Humanitarian Services [ICODEHS]. this organization with Sheikh Mustapha Ibrahim, Islamic intellectual and writer has succeeded in building many schools, clinics orphanages mosques throughout Ghana.

The organization has won so much recognition that the donors of it projects in Dubai, Kuwait and Qatar have for some years now commissioned them to build mosques, schools in other parts of Africa. With this body on the field already the new ministry can work with them conveniently and through ICODEHS gain access for foreign funding for projects in the Zongos. ICODEHS will not be alone in this venture there are other organizations in and outside Zongos like the Ahmadiyya Movement, Al-Huda, Ghana Muslim Mission, Iran Clinic etc that can be of help also.

The first task of the ministry after setting a working committee of the Zongos is to go round to identify all the Zongos with their problems and needs including completed and ongoing projects. Thereafter an action plan could be drawn with timelines using ally donors and notable NGOs. In order to ensure speedy execution of the projects a monitoring and evaluation team must be made to follow the projects through

THIS IS PART OF SERIES OF ARTICLES ON THE NEW INNER CITIES AND ZONGO DEVELOPMENT MINISTRY BY THE SAME AUTHOR

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