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Opinions of Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Columnist: Sakzeesi, Camillus Maalneriba-Tia


FASCOM and SADA; the pride of the ordinary northerner and shame of the elite: why have we so cursed ourselves!

Good/selfless managers create wealth for the consumption of all – greedy ones collect the wealth of all for their selfish comfort.

In the middle of April which was the concluding period of penance was a sad one for me and maybe many other northerners. It was the begining of the shame of a few of us who find ourselves in privileged-serving positions who are not out to serve our collective interest but what they can individually gain.

In this period when the northern school-going girls are in the cities carrying weighty loads beyond their strength, is the time that people without the slightest morality in them feel they must use what has been made available to us as seed capital for the advancement of our course for their selfish benefit.
When Manaseh Azuure started coming out with the Auditors reports on the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and the mess that came with it – I asked myself whether this is the time for one to chest oneself out proudly that one is a northerner.
The noble intentions that led to the establishment of SADA are gradually being defeated. When the revelation was made that hundreds of thousands Ghana Cedis have allegedly been spent on ‘ghost’ consultancy work and foreign travels, I thought to myself “why has the northerner forsaken his fellow northerner ”.
And this thought came to mind because the Acheampong government made a similar investment intervention when he created the FARMERS SERVICES COMPANY (FASCOM) across the then two northern regions (Northern and Upper regions) and the Volta regions. It was such a noble project which was to turn around the poverty situation up north but within two years of its success story the devil’s agent – GREED waded into it and that was the beginning of the reverse gear of progress into retrogression.
The project included massive deployment of Agric Extension Officers, subsidized agric inputs including fertilizers, bullock-ploughs, donkey-carts and many others.
This was the period rice production up-north peaked and the people were economically empowered.
It keeps resonating in me how proud Dr. Edward Nasigre Mahama has always been full of praise for the Acheampong regime’s OPERATION FEED YOURSELF which rolled out the rice cultivation opportunity that culminated in Doctor being able to save proceeds from his rice farm that led to his self-sponsored air ticket to further studies in the USA.
That was how rewarding the project was. However, the greedy elite at the time did not allow this noble intervention to achieve total success. Due to the hugely subsidized pricing for farm implements and consumables, the economic saboteurs at the time went into their dark rooms and fashioned out a mechanism to frustrate its success.
Smuggling of whatever was subsidized at the time peaked and ordinary farmers could no longer get their normal supplies to till the land commercially. Not even Acheampong’s anti-smuggling campaign named OPERATION COUNTERPOINT could save the situation.
Store-keepers openly sold large quantities of items to individuals who they knew were to smuggle them out of the country to especially then Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso. They did not only illegally sell them out but also embezzled the proceeds and in freedom moved with exotic ladies visiting beer bars without the slightest shame or fear of arrest in them.
FASCOM crawled along into the Rawlings regime where the criminals of the day at the time who were also ‘men of their days’ fled the country. FASCOM survived a few more years before kicking the bucket without an honour of a ‘funeral’. That is how a poverty mitigating intervention was ‘slaughtered’ by a few elite of the very people it came to save.
Almost two decades after the people of the north deprived ourselves of the above mentioned policies of state, another opportunity that can lift us out of poverty, SADA – the latest intervention by central government through which huge financial injection has been made, we have a few intellectual misfits who think they can take the people of the north for a ride again.
The few I have gathered from the revealing damning report for alleged terrible financial malfeasance/blatant robbery are enough to make any northerner bury our faces in our palms and weep our hearts out for the shame these greedy personalities are exposing us to.
Where has the pride of the northerner gone to when it came to honesty and we were the toast of others?
Indeed – this is the very time we must come out and let the greedy few know that we shall instigate ourselves against them if the allegations are proven to be wholly true. People of the north must wake up and demand JUSTICE and nothing else.
We must put pressure on President John Dramani Mahama, to, as a matter of urgency – remove the current head of the SADA and other major policy implementers of the Authority and hand them out to the appropriate institutions to be thoroughly investigated.
My jaws dropped when I heard the former Chief Executive Officer, Gilbert Iddi justify ‘the-sun-burnt-out trees’ – that after all the purpose for the tree planting exercise was achieved, because it was all about creating employment for the people and to him that was achieved because people got employed and paid. How can a whole CEO talk in this ‘BY-HEART’ manner. And I can’t understand why people should be glorifying these acts of alleged criminality.
The Information Minister, Hon. Mahama Ayariga, is the one who has disappointed me in his defense of this maturing scandal in SADA. His assertion that the audited report on the Authority is not the final one and for that matter nobody should point accusing fingers now is too weak to comprehend.
When the GYEEDA scandal broke out it was the same argument but in the final analyses there was nothing substantially different from what was put out first.
Let it be told them all that some of us are the ‘un-regrettable’ members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). However, we are patriots in the Party who will never shirk our NATIONALISM for partisan propagandism.
It is high time the Party wakes up from its slumber and tell those who are bringing its name to public embarrassment that they are no longer needed and must not be protected when they are into criminal activism. It is time to go the CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY WAY – JAIL THEM WHEN THEY COMMIT CRIMES AGAINST THE GOOD PEOPLE OF GHANA. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO SHIELD ALLEGED CRIMINALS. SEND THEM TO COURT TO CLEAR THEMSELVES OR OTHERWISE.
The NDC as a Party in government did not appoint people into positions of trust to rob the economy. They were appointed to give out their best of resourcefulness. Nobody was appointed with the aim of fashioning out criminal designs to rob the good people of Ghana. And when they engage in these alleged KILLER activities, they must be seen as common criminals and be treated as such. NO PARTY SHIELDING HERE.
I end by calling on all northerners especially through BONABOTO and the Northern Development Forum to rise up to this call and instigate the arrest of all those who are alleged to have involved themselves in these scandals.
N’NOORE GMAA YA (‘I have cut my mouth’).
Camillus Maalneriba-Tia Sakzeesi
Mobile: 0266223333

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