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Opinions of Thursday, 29 December 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Volta region will experience real development under Akufo-Addo

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
December 18, 2016

He has said that the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government will “woo the Volta Region until he/it marries her.” Now, these are strong and serious “romantic” words of a leader whose party has been denied a remarkable percentage of the votes of the residents in the region. But the fact that he has consistently and persistently and doggedly campaigned in the region during the last three electoral cycles, clearly means that Ghana’s former Attorney-General and Justice Minister does not take the Volta Region for granted in the way that the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) took the region for granted by even nicknaming it the NDC’s World Bank.

One would have thought that at least 20-percent of all development projects on the agenda of the Mahama government would have been allotted to the party’s electoral World Bank. But like most of their other regions, it well appears that the Volta Region had been woefully shortchanged. Which clearly explains the newly elected President of the National House of Chief’s cautionary note to the Mahama government in the lead-up to the 2016 general election, that the Volta Region could no longer be taken for granted by the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress. Togbe Afede, IV, would further note that the facile usage of the term was inexcusably insulting to the intelligence of the people of the region, because it scandalously portrayed them as a people who blisteringly lacked the requisite critical-thinking faculties to make their own choice of party and ideological affiliation based squarely on their own best interests.
The Yale Business School-educated leader of the NHC has also pledged to do his utmost best to induce a cohesive relationship between the Ewe people and their Akan brothers and sisters, especially the relationship between sub-ethnic Asantes and Ewes for the development of the country at large. Of course, as leader of the august National House of Chiefs, one also expects Togbe Afede to tackle the critical cultural question of Ghana’s North-South Divide, a morally and economically regressive system established by the erstwhile British colonialists and further aggravated by opportunistic latter-day politicians like the soon-to-be former President John Dramani Mahama.

But what has most piqued my interest in the wake of the Akufo-Addo-led Wednesday Massacre of the National Democratic Congress – you may aptly choose to call it the Akufo-Addo Revolution – is the official pledge by both President-Elect Akufo-Addo and his astute representatives in the region, such as Dr. Archibald Letsa, that all projects initiated by the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress’ government and financed with the Ghanaian taxpayer’s money would be overseen to completion. The routine practice in the past, of course, has been for successive governments to unwisely abandon projects started by their predecessors on the decidedly vacuous development policy of “New King, New Law.”

According to Dr. Letsa, who also serves as the First-Vice Chairman of the Volta Regional Branch of the New Patriotic Party, a cost-benefit analysis would be conducted on all projects initiated in the region by the outgoing Mahama government and where cost-effective, these projects would be continued to completion. Likewise, where any projects are assessed and found to be cost-defective or cost-inefficient, the terms of the contractual agreements governing the execution of such projects would be favorably renegotiated to ensure that the hardworking Ghanaian taxpayer is not unduly exploited and/or shortchanged.

Like most of the rest of us, Dr. Letsa is confident that the composition of the new Akufo-Addo Administration would fairly and adequately reflect all sections and ethnic polities of Ghanaian society, if the incoming New Patriotic Party government is to retain power and residency at the Jubilee-Flagstaff House for any remarkable temporal span. Nana Akufo-Addo has absolutely no other alternative but to become a “revolutionarily constructive leader,” by virtue of the dire need of the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians for a deep sense of a cohesive and organically unified national identity. This is where the legacy of Nana Akufo-Addo stands the greatest chance of differentiating his government and tenure from all the rest of our postcolonial governments.

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