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Opinions of Monday, 24 August 2015

Columnist: Aliu, Zuberu

RE: Eastern Corridor road project in limbo – Minister

I read a publication dated 17th August, 2015 on on the above title. In the said publication, the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna is purported to have said that construction of the Yendi-Bimbila stretch of the Eastern Corridor road project has halted as a result of thievery by some local artisans. This claim unfortunately, is not only untruth and mischievous. But it’s also a smack of leadership sincerity.
It’s evident that the government is reeling under financial pressure and the honourable minister would have safe the face of government if he had blamed the situation on the crisis in Bimbilla. But for Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna to blame the uncertainty surrounding this very important project on thievery puts his credibility on the line.
In any case, the honourable minister confirmed the fact that those so-called local artisans whom he claimed are the thieves were arrested. According to Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna “...106 have been laid off because they have stolen to the extent that the project cannot continue.” If the contractor allowed Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna to engage the services of 1,800 unemployed youth in the region as he claimed, how would the absence of 106 of these workers halts the execution of the Eastern Corridor road project? It can’t also be true that the project is halted as a result of his alleged thievery. It is a fact that the contractor has a security system that tracks the movement of every worker and equipment at site.

May be the minister should tell the Ghanaian public the kind of materials that these alleged thieves took away. This again raises an important issue of due diligence in the recruitment of the 1,800 youth. Did they do any background check before engaging the youth? Or it was just a party affair, an opportunity for party foot soldiers.

The uncertainty surrounding the construction of the Eastern Corridor road is borne out of three possibilities. It’s possible that the Government of Ghana is unable to honour her part of the contract. About 70% of the project has been funded by donors and other sources and government is to make available the remainder. This has not been honoured by the government. It’s also a possibility that the funds may have been diverted by the state as it did to the hydro project at Jilo in the Nanumba South District in 2009. The third possibility is that, it may be a political hoax by the government to delay the project so that it could use it as a bargaining chip in 2016.
In all these, what is imperative to the people along the Bimbilla-Yendi and Bimbilla-Damanko stretch of the Eastern Corridor road is to see the road inaugurated on the agreed date. It will be so callous to deny the people this road after they had been denied a hydro dam project. There should be no excuse and the politics with it can come after the road is completed and inaugurated.

Zuberu Aliu