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Opinions of Saturday, 20 March 2010

Columnist: Balemwo Assam

Paga, the Right Place for the New District Capital

I was completely astonished when I read the grievances of the assembly men from Mirigu, Sirigu, Nabango, Mayoro Yua-Soe and Natugnia including Rudolf Amenga-Etego, the assemblyman for Kandiga Kurugu electoral area, in their pursuit for the capital at Paga to be relocated. I have attached their grievances below for your perusal.

Completely amazed because, the aforementioned assemblymen abased the basic tenets for which the newly created district came into existence. They did not consider the situation in which their people subsist, and could not petition for any channel of assistance from the Government to ameliorate the purgatory subsistence prevailing all over that newly created district.

They rather consciously chose to petition for relocation of the capital from its present condign location, citing tomatoes and pots in their areas as legitimate reasons for the government to relocate the capital to their doorstep.

a) They could not remember their people trudge everyday to fetch water to their respective houses from hand dug wells and bore-holes. Did they petition for running pipe borne water to flow into their houses with modern technology to curtail the toil of their people?

b) Some of the schools they boasted of, may have never seen a computer before, may not have enough books, chairs and tables but, did they remember to petition for those essential facilities?

c) All the paths we call roads out there, leading to their villages and homes are dusty and dotted with potholes yet, did they petition for proper tarred roads?

d) Did they petition for profitable marketable channels for their people to sell their tomatoes?

e) Did they petition to seek for buyers for the potteries that made them so excited to think of relocating the capital from its present location?

f) They might have forgotten to add but, if they genuinely care for their people. I know all over those areas, women pick Shea-nuts, but did they petition for a processing plant to process the Shea-nuts into Shea-butter for export to generate foreign currency that will help the women? g) If they think such subsistence of their people is putative in this our modern world, then it’s sad. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, the Assembly members said the situation had created a major problem for people in the area since they had to go through Navrongo to be able to get to the District Capital at Paga.

To the best of my knowledge, there’s a straight path/road from Sirigu to Paga. However, assuming their frivolous wishful thoughts are granted to relocate the capital to their area of choice, how do others come there without going through Navrongo? If they really think Navrongo’s an area to be avoided.

Traveling to Paga’s only 5 miles from Navrongo on a comfortable 12 inches asphalt road. Prior to the newly created district, being the Kasena Nankana West Council, all the aforementioned assemblymen attended their assembly duties at Navrongo so when did Navrongo all of a sudden become a no go area? Navrongo’s a peaceful area; I have never heard of any social instability there so, what prevents people from going through Navrongo to their respective places of duties? What are the assembly men talking about?

They also indicated that, sitting the capital at Paga would also create serious business consequences in the area, but, did not elucidate. If people all over the world can reside and do businesses in Paga comfortably, how then can the people we share the same culture and values, people we have never been engaged in any friction of hostility before, depict Paga as an area of serious consequence to do business?

Paga’s strategically positioned within the communities that constitute the Kasena Nankana West District, with viable source of businesses.

?Paga’s surrounded with social and commercial activities palpable in sight. Naturally and patently Paga’s endowed with international border between Ghana and Burkina Faso. Due to the border, long trucks that carry merchandise, including passenger trucks and the passengers perambulate Paga’s friendly township everyday peacefully. ?Visitors can comfortably be housed in Hotels at Paga; Cattle Garage that serves the entire communities including the cattle coming from Burkina Faso and Niger, the Garage serves as a conduit for screening the health of the cattle entering the country and a point of transportation to supply the cattle to slaughter houses or abattoirs throughout the country for revenue; there’s a Government Health Facility.

?There’s a Post Office; Large tract of tomatoes are cultivated at Kajelo, Nabio, Batiu, Nania, Kayilo, Nakolo, Buru, Paga-Zaga, Paga-Kakugu and Baloo. Tomatoes cultivated in the above-mentioned areas will quadruple tomatoes cultivated in the entire areas of the assemblymen petitioning.

?Tourist attraction, a venue where slaves were camped, vividly depicting traces of man’s inhumanity against mankind during the slave trade, called Pikworo Slave Camps.

? Finally, the internationally acknowledged Sacred Crocodiles, they attract tourist every day to Paga. It’s really fun and will take your breath away to see the Sacred Crocodiles, completely friendly and people from all walks of life trooping there; posing, squatting and holding their tails to take pictures. It’s completely an amazing site to physically watch.

All the aforementioned are viable sources of revenue comfortably located in Paga. The peaceful hospitable people of Paga have enthusiastically promoted, supported and accommodated these social and commercial ventures all over the years without any problem.

Peaceful coexistence and economic viability are the key factors for the establishment of a district. It will take all the areas of the assemblymen petitioning, one full year to come close to the level of revenue accrued in only one month at the Paga border alone, apart from other sources of revenue at Paga.

It’s unfortunate the assemblymen are still dissipating their energies petitioning the government of a glaring fact thoroughly examined by the previous government. Being the suitability to sit the capital of the district, which ultimately, Paga was chosen out of the lot proposed, based on reasonable factors including its strategic condign position.

PagaPio Charles Awiah Awampaga II, the Paramount Chief of Paga welcomes everybody to the Paga Township including all the surrounding villages under his authoritative influence. Anybody who took time to visit the Chiefs Palace easily befriends him and leaves the Palace with fond memories of the gregarious handsome young man; the same applies to all the people in the town and the surrounding villages.

It’s putative and behooves on everybody to treat people especially visitors with respect and assist them at anytime. These are some of the core ethical values of all the people under Pagapio’s territorial influence.

You will always rush to Paga in a heartbeat if you have ever visited the place due to the hospitable nature of the Paramount Chief, the people you will encounter and the fun of visiting the tourist attractions. Not once did the people of Paga experienced any altercation with residents or visitors of the township, so, based on what negative narrative did the assemblymen lacerate Paga as an area of serious consequence to do business?

Rudolf Amenga-Etego, the assemblyman for Kandiga, and all the assemblymen that supported that impulsive imaginary idea, do they genuinely think in their guts that, cultivation of tomatoes and pottery in their villages are legitimate reasons why a district capital should be relocated to their doorsteps?

Unity is needed at all stages of the council to generate positive results, not variable stance of the assemblymen, who continually thrust for their untenable preference venue for the capital. Whatever propelled their action draws prying noses curious to sniff more about their motives.

They showed no commiseration for the people they represent, instead of talking of infrastructure that will shove the new district to better the lives of their people, they are seeking for irrelevant acrimony that will produce nothing but spiteful tendencies and rancor among their members.

When I read their grievances, I was expecting to hear them repining for developments that’s lacking in those areas. What we need in those areas is infrastructure that will generate and encourage economic activities.

Where the capital is located is not that relevant, what you do for the people you represent is what matters most. Getting the district’s meaningless if you cannot come together to turn the area into a viable source of hopeful future for the people especially the youth. The assemblymen should make up their mind, come together to seek for better facilities that will ease the pain and equally create avenues for businesses to spring up in the area. Dr Kwame Nkrumah did not move the capital of Ghana from Accra to Nkroful with an excuse that they have abundant cocoanuts. He never thought of it, but rather continued to do what’s right for the people of Ghana and the whole world. Dr Nkrumah printed his name all over the country with positive developments in any form.

As a result today, Dr Nkrumah is revered throughout the country and in the whole world because of his selflessness and his conviction to do the things right. Hope all the assemblymen petitioning for relocation of the capital from Paga will all emulate this noble man Dr Nkrumah’s character for the betterment of their people, the Kasena Nankana West Council and our beloved country Ghana.

Balemwo Assam Washington DC balemwo@yahoo.co.uk