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Opinions of Friday, 30 May 2014

Columnist: Yakubu, Abdul-Razak

SADA-Ghana’s boko haram

On the 13th of May 2014, I read a story entitled “Ghana’s Boko Haram" by Manasseh Azure Awuni, I cried as i read it, because of the plight of some children in the country who have nothing to turn to due to the economic hardships as well as being born in poverty engulfed families. This is the truth which most people especially our leaders have failed to accept as something that can spawn into social menace as it currently is in neighboring Nigeria.
What Manasseh and other journalist are doing is not only journalism, but also advocacy for change, and I have always wanted to see how best we can push policy to support the youth and children in our part of the country (The 3 Northern Regions) who for several years have been neglected. I use the word neglected because it is a fact. Ghana has educational policies/laws such as the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE), which implies that there should not be a child, deprived of his/her basic education and there are no exceptions to this rule. However, due to failures on the part of successive governments and unconcerned stakeholders, there are millions of schools going age Ghanaian children on the streets, in market centers, and at sea who are not being educated. This many say is due to the unacceptable excuses of poverty and the lack of funds to put up the right number of educational infrastructure and the requisite teaching instructors as well as the will to enforce.
Whenever, I step on the streets of Accra and other metropolises in the country, it is very difficult not to notice northern youth do all sort of jobs such as collecting of scrap metals to head porter jobs. None of these youth have attained their basic education. All these we see as nothing, but these are crimes committed against them by families and the state whose responsibilities include the provision of educational opportunities for its population.
Personally its my view that until the three northern regions meets their developmental status, educational infrastructure and quality tuition must be of prime importance. Secondly, a focus in the development of sports with various disciplines must be considered. This is because when there are lots of sports facilities in the north talents can be supported to create employment for citizens of these regions. Thirdly, we can look at other social amenities such as roads and proper housing facilities as well as investments in the entertainment industries. Also, Agriculture & industrialization, here I am of the view that government must be able to protect farm lands and also mechanize agriculture to be able to feed industries upon creation which will bring about jobs and will improve the standard of living of the our people.
Also, i would like to use this platform to thank Mr. Manasseh for taking interest in reporting on SADA. But, i will like to add that on the issue of SADA all stakeholders including MP's, Chiefs, Media, NGO's, CSO's and the population within the areas which the SADA fund was allocated to support are partly responsible for the mismanagement or misapplication of the SADA fund. Why do i say so? From the onset, they should have requested for the action plan and also requested for regular stakeholder meetings as beneficiaries of the SADA. And together we could at least point out to the governing body areas of interest and importance that these monies could have been better utilized. Yet with all the human resource we failed to create that much needed monitoring which I believe allowed what had happened in SADA.

In conclusion, I am of the view that investing in education in the SADA areas of operation must be a major priority. SADA operations must be made transparent for all to see and this will create room for checks and balances. In addition, there should be a regular stakeholder meeting to allow the people to be informed about SADA’s activities as a right. Lastly, i will hope that the next article you will write will actually be an assessment of the performance of most if not all Northern Members of Parliament in relation to their constituencies. This i believe will make them more responsible in pushing forward the development agenda of the three northern regions.
Abdul-Razak Yakubu (Executive Director)
Youth Movement for African Unity (YMAU), Email razak@ym-au.org