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Opinions of Monday, 29 October 2018

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Sam George has stated the obvious; new regions won’t develop automatically!

I could not agree more with the former Presidential staffer and Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George, for opining somewhat passionately that the creation of new regions will not develop those areas spontaneously (See: ‘No scientific proof that new regions bring development – Sam George; citinewsroom.com/ghanaweb.com, 28/10/2018).

Sam George, frankly speaking, has stated the obvious: the creation of regions won’t necessarily bridge the ever widening social mobility chasm.

That said, Sam George’s arousing disgust towards the proposed creation of the new regions is somewhat inconsequential in my humble opinion.

Sam George is reported to have fretted in thy soul: “As an individual, I disagree with the creation of new regions. Whether it is the NDC or NPP, I do not believe that the creation of new regions will fix the problems they claim they are going to fix.”

Well, there is no gainsaying the fact that the mere creation of extra regions won’t automatically bring prosperity unless the government of the day resorts to rational distribution of national resources. Does it mean then that the creation of extra regions is immaterial? I do not think so.

To be quite honest, I am not sure whether Sam George has a passing familiarity with the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcations at all?

In any case, administrative, geographical and political demarcations are not limited to Ghana. Take, for example, the United Kingdom has been divided into 48 counties, used for administrative, geographical and political purposes.

In fact, there are a total of 326 districts, made up of 36 metropolitan boroughs, 32 London boroughs, 201 non-metropolitan districts, 55 unitary authorities, as well as the City of London and the Isles of Scilly which are also districts, but do not correspond to any of these categories.

The story is told, in a historical perspective, that by the early 17th century, all of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland had been separated into counties.

“The older term shire was historically equivalent to "county". In Scotland for instance, shire was the only term used until after the Act of Union 1707.

“Since the early 19th century, counties have been adapted to meet new administrative and political requirements, and the word county (often with a qualifier) has been used in different senses for different purposes. In some areas of England and Wales, counties still perform the functions of modern local government (Wikipedia).”



It is also true that the Federal Republic of the United States has about 50 separate States. And, there are 94 federal judicial districts, including at least one district in each state.

Suffice it to emphasise that the geographical divisions have done nothing to hamper the development of both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Let us however face it, if anything at all, the divisions have rather aided or facilitated the development of the geographical areas in the United Kingdom and the United States respectively.

Frankly stating, there are more examples around the globe. But even if we use the examples of the United Kingdom and the United States, we can somehow dismiss Sam George’s somewhat specious suggestion that the creation of extra districts is useless and therefore those in support of the idea are probably not thinking through (emphasis mine).

In a related development, in 1983, the then head of state, J. J. Rawlings, successfully supervised the split of Upper Region, which gave us Upper West and Upper East Regions.

Was Rawlings’s decision to split Upper Region borne out of sheer ignorance? It is big no.

Despite the slow development in those areas, can we also conclude that the inhabitants of those regions have not benefited at all from the partition?

It is also worth mentioning that geographical divisions for administrative and political purposes started long before Rawlings’s decision to divide the Upper Region.

It must however be noted that the colonial administration started along the coast with their capital in Cape Coast till 1877.

Gradually, the Ashanti Territory was added, followed by the Northern Territory and finally Togoland through a plebiscite on 9th May 1956.



After independence, there was the need for the creation of a political region out of the Western Asante.

The expedient idea was however supported by some chiefs within the Bono and Ahafo areas, particularly the Techimanhene, whilst some chiefs and their subordinates opposed the creation of the new region.

As it was expected, some Ghanaians did not acquiesce with President Dr Kwame Nkrumah move for the creation of a region out of Asante. But Ghana’s first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s vision for the creation was beyond ethnic and political shenanigans. For, if anything at all, he was certain that such division would promote the socio-economic development of the Bono and Ahafo areas of Ghana.

For that reason and other useful considerations a new political region was created out of the then Western Asante known as Brong Ahafo Region on 4th April 1959.

It was however believed that one of the key considerations for the creation of the Brong Ahafo was its landmass but not necessarily based on its population at that time (Kipo 2009).

In ending, geographical demarcations in a peaceful country cannot be referred to as incorporeal. And, who are we to oppose such a move if the residents of the said precincts decide to embrace the idea anyway?