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Opinions of Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Columnist: Dr. Abubakari Ibrahim

Why Rockson Bukari must be retained as Upper East Regional Minister

Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari

It will be politically suicidal and betrayal of trust and confidence reposed in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government in the fight against corruption if Rockson Bukari is removed from office as the Upper East Regional Minister.

If there is one single person who deserves to stay on the seat for long as the political head of the region, it has to be Rockson Bukari not just because he is incorruptible and hardworking but also because he has fiercely and loyally served the course of the NPP in the region.

It is important for the ruling government not to succumb to the whims and caprices of some unscrupulous and unproductive party functionaries who want Rockson Bukari out. Any action of that sort will not in any way serve the interest of the party in the region considering the fact that the minister enjoys immense popular support from neutrals in the general population and even among other political parties in the region.

It has to be said that some selfish, greedy and morbidly jealous persons, who are just a minority destructive bunch, are fomenting trouble in the region by making the minister a target purely for their narrow parochial interest rather than a general course in development in the collective interest of the region.

Unfortunately, these political neophytes and sycophants were nowhere to be found and indeed not born when the minister was a die-hard party activist of the Busia-Dombo-Dankwa political tradition and ideological inclination.

I am now 40 years but first heard about the NPP through the minister during our days at the Junior Staff Quarters (JSQ) where we domiciled together as far back as 1982/83 when the PNDC Revolution was at its peak with many of the youth in the area active members of the Cadre Front and the Boys Scout Brigade.

I remember, as young boys, we often teased him as he was the lone voice in the area and, in fact, the whole of Bolgatanga, fearlessly shouting the NPP elephant slogan “Kukruduu” during the heat of the PNDC Revolution when many recoiled into their shells with fear and trepidation over the consequences of such boldness.

Rockson Bukari ostensibly has three major attributes that are bound to pitch him against corrupt people and white-collar criminals in public service and the political life he cherishes and loves so much. These are incorruptibility, honesty and boldness in laying bare the truth. In a country riddled with mass endemic corruption and criminality in syphoning government coffers through institutional malpractices, the likes of Rockson Bukari, who are rare gems in resisting institutional corruption, will always be at loggerheads with people who believe in pilfering from state coffers or engage in other dubious practices for personal gains.

The reason some so-called party activists want him out is that his removal would pave way for malpractices, corruption and illegalities purely for self-seeking, self-gain and self-aggrandizement. All the policy initiatives and decision-making by Rockson Bukari have been spot on in the interest of regional development and socioeconomic progress. For instance, it is absolutely crazy for some so-called party functionaries to feel that they should be allowed to fell trees automatically and haphazardly in illegal timber-logging in the period of harmattan when deforestation has a serious impact on environmental degradation, ecology and climate change. It is preposterous, reckless and irresponsible for anybody to think the Minister should automatically allow illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) against government policy once their party is in power.

The minister has once again demonstrated commitment in championing the development of the region by boldly implementing an important policy initiative many lack the guts and refuse to do because of what they stand to gain. I cannot but all commend the Minister in rightly identifying that corruption and related cronyism and nepotism in awarding contracts for government projects indeed affect the quality of work and do not ensure value for money.

In fact, such practices in the award of contracts are major contributory factors in financial malfeasance, malpractices and misapplication that significantly rip off government purse apparently for no work done or deceptive semblance of work done. It will be a fatal political and government decision if the party and president are pressurised by any selfish interest groups to remove Rockson Bukari from office to be replaced by a weak character they can manipulate to satisfy their whims and caprices to the detriment of regional development in the collective interest of party and government.