You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2020 12 28Article 1142354

Opinions of Monday, 28 December 2020

Columnist: Obrempong Yaw Ampofo

Sekondi Takoradi, a city going nowhere?

An aerial view of Takoradi An aerial view of Takoradi

Let me say, Sekondi Takoradi, strictly speaking, is stagnated! Yes! It is lost in what it wants for itself! Even the oil could not do the last trick for its development!

Permit me to examine the Twin City a little bit here!

Sekondi Takoradi in the last 15 years

In the last 10 -15years, the new things the city has seen is the (uncompleted) Kansaworado Bypass, the application of asphalt overlays on some selected inner-city roads in the lead up to the 2016 general elections, and the rehabilitation of the railway lines between Sekondi-Kojokrom and to the Takoradi Harbour.

You can also mention the new Takoradi Library, the Paa Grant to New Takoradi road which residents had to burn tyres many occasions before the actual beneficiaries, the port, could fix to eliminate the dust that used to characterize the place, and inside the harbour, where you occasionally hear sod cutting and commissions, yet, the harbour is still the remnant of the same old port! Asa!

That's it! There is nothing again that comes to mind! This is what a city like Sekondi Takoradi gets in a period of nearly two decades! Shouldn't this be a taboo?

What even shocks me

Something as basic as a Traffic light and simple metallic overpass for school children, we struggle to maintain or have them. See, we were here when we witnessed an articulator truck drive over some basic school children of Agyiba International School sometime in 2011 when all we needed to have done was a metallic overpass on that Kwesiminstim dual carriage road for use by children of that school. We failed those kids and their parents.

Has anyone seen how the speed bump we did as our response to that tragic death became?

A city going nowhere!

Have you also observed the shape in which the Traffic Lights at Effiakuma to Anaji, TTU Junction to Sekondi, the one at NIB to GCB main branch, the one too at All Needs Supermarket at Market Circle, and the other at Mankessim White House? Have you seen how they are today? Are they any better, or their state captures the true reflection of our progress?

They have been broken for over 6 years! It was until recently that the Pipe Ano one and the Kwesiminstim one were fixed. This is what is happening at the capital of the region touted as having the best of resources than any part of the country!

Do you also recollect how demolition exercises are/were done? Both STMA and EKMA give permission for temporal kiosks to be mounted at different locations. Later they allocate a huge portion of the taxes collected for demolishing them.

Interestingly, they will not even consider planting ornamental plants to beautify those areas, but they will leave it like that till weeds take over them.

A typical example is AGIP, where the Tarkwa sprinter bus used to load passengers! One would have thought that after that demolition exercise, they would have planted some beautiful greens there and water them for beautification purposes since it is in the heart of the city, but alas, it's what it is today!

Let me anger you small!

Do you remember the Sekondi District Hospital that we never got land to build on, even though a sod was cut by then Minister of Health Shirley Aryitey? Dodowa got its hospital with the same designs. Three other regions got theirs, but Sekunde did not!

Do you also remember the Mampong Artisan Village from the fallout of the Tanokrom Kokompe Artisans relocation for the Takoradi Mall? That area disappointed itself of the transformation it desired! But why the state of affairs?

The root cause

1. How we see Sekondi-Takoradi today, is CHIEFLY the product of the STMA and recently EKMA! How the then STMA, in particular, wished to see the twin city in the last 30 years is what we see today, and the cycle continues!

The thinking of the people in that institute, what constitutes development for those people is largely the start of the way things have become!

I can share with you what the STMA and the Effia Kwesimintsim Municipal Assembly plans are doing in the next four years.

The summary of it is that they are still focused on fixing potholes, building new or repairing old basic schools, building public places of convenience, looking for funds to asphalt portions of the road in bad shape, and looking for ways to manage the waste we generate in the city. Others are their search for funds to build a new Sekondi Market and an ICT or community centre etc.

This is the thinking of the people, this is their preoccupation for the past 30 years!

ASK!

How often do you hear them talk about the growing population so things like housing, jobs, healthcare, water supply etc should be expanded to meet demand? The population of STMA stood at 530,000 in 2010. Today it's a little to 1,000,000! What is their plan?

How often do you hear the mayor and his staff talk about how they wish to see the city in the next 10 years?

Seriously

a. What paa did the late KK Sam add to the city?
b. What paa did Kobina Pra Annan, Captain Cudjoe, Charlotte Otuwa Odum and thems add to the twin city?
So the thinking of the leadership is key!

2. The media

Honestly, it is sometimes very difficult and so sad to tune in to radio channels in the metro. The channels appear to have been programmed to chase only happenings, breaking news and they spend the next hours waiting for the next happening to talk about.

They are yet to have conversations that will strike and shift the thinking of the leadership in the region to set targets that will see the city become ambitious.

As a result, there is no direction and unison in programming, so depending on where the next happening may come, all of them shift focus to that direction.
It is rare to have a station in Sekondi Takoradi lead a cause and sustain it, finish it and move on to the next. Ooh no! So in the cause of the chasing, no Sekondi Takoradi dream is set and pursued!

Some of them have given up their sensitive hours to content from elsewhere, so long as the people will have no choice, but to listen to them like that!

Here, I will commend Connect Fms Paa Kwesi Simpson and some past and present hosts of Skyy's morning program and a few others.

But the truth is, they even do what they do without a Sekondi-Takoradi dream that they all work towards as a target!

In the end, it's a network of talking and going round in circles! The media in the metro is very disappointing in setting targets in unison! No dream, no focus, and it is the citizens and the metro in general that suffers!

3. The people's orientation to progress

Progress of the Metropolis is sorted after at the individual level! How to maximize my purchasing power is EVERYTHING the people are focused on now.

There are many factors that have accounted for this. When people realized that elected officials are for themselves and not for the masses, we all abandoned the concept of "collectivity" to individualism, and so if I can rip off the city to my success, why not?

Because of this thinking, people no longer waste their time on what elected and appointed officials are doing there really!

They also do what they know best, and the cycle continues, the status quo remains because citizens' view of development has been reduced to how good your individual pocket looks!

4.The voting pattern

The Ahantas are loyalists of the NPP, just as Ewes are for NDC!

The city at a time witnessed four members of parliament who were cabinet ministers, and not much changed. The old Sekondi Market was not rebuilt, Gyandu Park never returned to its glorious days, Sekondi to Takoradi never saw a dual Carriage even though it's the road ambulances meander through the traffic in times of emergency, Effia Nkwanta never got to be a teaching hospital etc!

So none of these cabinet ministers could lobby for any of them?

Yes, because ALL the seat occupiers are sure of maintaining their seats, not because of what they do, but because the ethnic orientation of the people assures them that comfort!

It is only when you overstay that threatens your seat, like what happened to Ex-MP Samuel Jonfiah of Ahanta West in 2012!

The "new" MPs elect, with the regional minister coming from within the Metro should change this narrative! They really must team up to develop and sell a western dream, which each of them, and subsequent ones will work to realize!

A little hope

In the midst of the chaos, we find some hope in the reconstruction of the Takoradi Market Circle, the redevelopment of the AGIP Roundabout, and the rehabilitation works on Effia Nkwanta and the new Truama Hospital at Agona Nkwanta!

But are these what will give cure to the needs of the population in the next 10 years to come?

Well, I think it's TIME for the youth to ask HOW they wish to see the city in the next 10 years. Time to think aloud!

Let's Sekondi-Takoradi revive itself!