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Opinions of Friday, 30 December 2016

Columnist: Nubanie, Anuwar-Sadat Amadu

…..And the Upper West Region will rise again

...with Naa Yussif Mumuni as our member of Council of State

It is indeed a defining moment in the history of our region. Our greatest fear as a region is not the fact that we are inadequate; our greatest fear is the fact that we are capable beyond measure. Our human resource base is incredibly enormous. And it always gives us a great headache when limited vacancies are to be filled.

Let me start by congratulating H. E. Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo (President–Elect) and H. E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia (Vice President–Elect) for an emphatic and decisive victory at our just ended elections. I wish to express my warmest appreciation to my countrymen & countrywomen for conducting ourselves in a way that depicts the rich democratic values and ideals laid down by our forebearers. The euphoria of this great milestone is yet to settle; but already there is intense lobbying for the various positions to be filled. As an illustrious son and a stakeholder in the democratic dispensation and development of our great region, I wish to suggest the need for key stakeholders of our region to impress upon Naa Yussif Mumuni (Konjiehi Naa) to serve his people as a member of the Council of State.

The Council of State was established by Articles 89 to 92 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana: "There shall be a Council of State to counsel the President in the performance of his functions." The membership of the Council of State should include a former Chief Justice of Ghana, a former Chief of the Defence Staff and a former Inspector General of Police and the President of the National House of Chiefs. Each region of Ghana also has an elected representative. The President of Ghana also appoints eleven members. [You can see Chapter 9 of 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana for further details with regards to its functions].

Any qualified member of the region has the right to aspire for that office. However, we the sons and daughters of the region equally have an obligation to question whether or not such an aspiration serves the best interest of the region and country at large. As I conducted my own research, some credible and equally competent names came up; but the one that stood out was Naa Yussif Mumuni. In our modern democracy and development politics, no region will ever get what it deserves but rather what its representatives negotiate/bargain for. And Naa Yussif has the local, national and international clout to give the Upper West Region a better bargain.

Now, let me run you down a brief background of the man ‘Naa Yussif Mumuni’ because I believe a lot of you would be wondering who this gem of a leader is. Naa Yussif Mumuni is a traditional ruler (Konjiehi Naa) and a member of the Walla Traditional Council since 1993. He is an Assistant Controller and Accountant-General and the current Director of Accounts at the Office of the President (an office he worked in from 2001 to date). He has also worked as Chief Treasury Officer Ministry of Health Treasury (2000 – 2001), Chief Treasury Officer; Ministry of Foreign Affairs Treasury (1998 – 2000), Upper-West Regional Director, Controller & Accountant-Generals Department (1992 – 1998) and a Treasury Officer at Ministries Treasury from 1978 – 1992. Naa Yussif Holds an Executive Masters of Business Administration (Business Administration and Management, General) from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration – GIMPA, a B. A (Hons), Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon, a Diploma in Social sciences & Management from Academy of Social; Sciences & Management in Sofia, Bulgaria, a Certificate in Financial Management from USDA Graduate School, Washington DC, United States of America just to mention a few.

Furthermore, T. O (Treasury Office) as he is affectionately called is a football administrator par excellence. He was the Chairman of ‘Upper West Heroes’ football club and qualified them for the middle league on two occasions. He appointed Lawyer Kwasi Nyantakyi as the Greater Accra representative of the Club; and his contribution to the election of Mr. Nyantakyi as the President of Ghana Football Association is not a hidden secret. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the then Wa District Assembly and Chairman of the Finance & Administrative Committee of same (1992 – 1998). He was also a member of the Jamiat Health Committee.

The Upper West Region being the youngest of the ten (10) regions of Ghana has 11 political districts: Wa Municipal, Wa West, Wa East, Jirapa, Lambussie-Karni, Lawra, Nandom, Nadowli-Kaleo, Daffiama-Bussie-Issah; Sissala East; and Sissala West. It was carved out of the then Upper Region in April 1983 which was itself created out of the Northern Territory in July 1960, when the country had gone through serious economic downturn. The subsequent adoption of the democratic decentralized system of governance for Ghana offered a window of opportunity for rapid socio-economic development and poverty reduction to many deprived areas. Infrastructure to date has not been developed enough to befit the status of a region. Even though human, financial and material resources have been sent to the Districts for development by Central Government, NGOs, Donor Communities and indeed private individuals, only marginal improvements have occurred in the provision of infrastructure and poverty reduction. And Naa Yussif will give a major boost to our infrastructural deficit if given the opportunity. He has proved his worth when he was the regional Controller Boss. He built the famous Controller Guest House in Wa, the PWD filling station, Staff quarters in Nadowli and Wa, an office at Tumu, etc.

A region with an estimated population of 800,000 and a predominantly agrarian economy, with over 80% of the population engaged in agriculture as peasant farmers which is far above the national average of 41.7%. Educational levels in the region remains low with an adult literacy of 24.4%. Water & Sanitation, Transportation, Road Network, Drainage, Tourism, access to Health Care Delivery are nothing to write home about compared to other regions. Alhaji Alhassan Bin Salih, Peter Nanfuri, Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, Naa Seidu Bhat Braimah, Sir Dr. Edward Gyader, etc are all past members of the Council of State who have all rendered a selfless service to our region & country and needs commendation for a job well done. And that is why it is more important that we get somebody but not just anybody to fill such a vacuum.

I dare say that Naa Yussif Mumuni is miles ahead of his peers. And I challenge critics to prove me wrong. A man that been able to create over 600 jobs for ‘Upper Westners’ excluding those from other parts of the country in various sectors of government and private institutions. He secured over 300 scholarships to students across the region and country for higher education. Mentored and funded majority of our Youth academically, socially and politically and I am a living testimony to this. As a Civil Servant with over 38 years of experience, he served the entire eight (8) years of the NPP under H. E. John Agyekum Kufuor and the entire eight (8) years of the NDC under H. E. Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills and H. E. John Mahama without difficulty. This shows the calibre of person we are talking about. It is that same dedication, commitment and trust that made successive governments maintained at the seat of Government that he will render to the Upper West Region. No wonder his contribution to regional and national development has not gone unnoticed. He was recently honoured with the Star of Northern Zone Award by the National Youth Authority (NYA) in conjunction with Y-PES Ghana together with other distinguished personalities like Hon. Alban Bagbin, Naa Seidu Braimah, Sir Dr. Edward Gyader, etc. in appreciation of their exemplary leadership and contribution towards the development of the youth and society.

Not all, as our region is organized into communities comprising clans and families and related to each other by a network of an extended family system. Our communities are usually headed politically by chiefs as well as spiritual leaders. There are 32 Paramountcy’s for Chiefs and Pognamine/Hala Kuore (Women Chiefs) and 186 Divisional Chiefs which jointly administer traditional rule. Some of these paramountcy’s and divisions are however vacant due to chieftaincy disputes. We also have six ethnic groups namely the Dagaaba, Wala, Birifor, Lobi, Chakali and Sissala. The major languages of the region are Dagaare, Issale, Wale, Birifor and Lobi. The predominant religions are Christianity, Islam and traditional African religion. Traditional life and beliefs, as elsewhere in the country, are more prominent in the rural areas. And the Naa Yussif that we all know will unite and close our ranks despite our diversity and lead us to prosperity as a region.

Alternatively, I will encourage the leadership of my party (the New Patriotic Party) in the region to recommend him to the appointing authority for nomination as a government appointee to the Council of Stat. I can say without ambiguity that we will be smiling to parliament in 2020 with the Wa Central seat that has been held by the NDC since 1992 with his influence. I believe anybody that is familiar with the dynamics of the Wa Central politics knows what I am talking about. So, Messrs Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Abubakar (The Millennium Chairman – Chairman Short), Hon. Ambrose Patrick Dery, Alhaji Yakubu (Condition), Chairman Kamara, Alhaji Sahanoon Mogtar, Hon. Godfred Bayon Tangu, Hon. George Hikah Benson, Hon Anthony Abayefaa Karbo, Mustapha Gover, etc please do the Youth of our young region this great favour. If the NDC was not able to harness the potential of Naa Yussif, then we should. Let us use him to cat the head of the snake once and for all. If one desires to kill a snake completely; its head must be cat off. The historic five (5) seat out the eleven (11) seats in the region though commendable is not enough. We can still do even more with the magic of Naa Yussif Mumuni.

Conclusively, I was very much elated and brimming with hope when I heard H. E. Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo said “If your goal in coming into government is to enrich yourself, then don’t come. Go to the private sector. Public service is going to be exactly that; public service!” This is a clear manifestation that we as a region needs a selfless and already made man like Naa Yussif Mumuni to represent us either as an elected regional representative or a government appointee to give us a good bargain. And I envisage a prosperous Upper West Region and Ghana. Together in unity, peace despite our diversity under the guidance of Naa Yussif Mumuni the Upper West Region will rise again.

Long Live the Upper West Region!!!
Long Live Ghana!!!

Anuwar-Sadat Amadu Nubanie

NB: The writer is holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting (B.Com (Hons)), is a practicing Customer Service (Experience) Specialist, a writer and a Youth activist.