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Opinions of Saturday, 20 December 2014

Columnist: Owusu, Stephen Atta

Will Volta Region Remain Voter Region After Massive Demo Against NDC?

The voters of the Volta Region are known to give about ninety per cent of their votes to the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The region has, therefore, become the World Bank of the NDC. The citizens are gradually realizing that the NDC has done nothing for them in terms of development and the Ewes are determined to reduce that World Bank status into Micro finance. Many of them look back in nostalgia at what the Kufuor administration was able to do in the Volta Region within eight years of his rule. The youth of the region are well informed of the extent to which each of the contending parties had contributed to transforming the quality of lives in the region. In relative terms, the government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has done a lot more for the Volta Region by way of development than any other government of the country in a period of just eight years.

It is evident that the NPP government stood unchallenged by the landmark transformations it brought to the region’s road sector, its education, water, electricity, health, and youth employment. Togbe Afede XIV, the President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs and many of the citizens do appreciate the tremendous contributions of the NPP towards the quality of life in the region, and the need to appreciate that effort and reciprocate through voting.

On one hot Thursday at Ho, a group of aggrieved people embarked on a massive demonstration which greatly shook the government of the NDC. These concerned citizens of the Volta Region were dressed in red as they walked through the streets of the capital city singing war songs in protest against the deliberate neglect by the government leading to low level development and the poor state of roads in the entire region. They defied the scorching sun, the police and the Regional Minister Helen Adwoa Ntoso's attempt to stop the demonstration because she discredited the demonstration as uncalled for. Despite her disapproval, the demonstration was endorsed by the Chiefs and the people of the Volta Region.

Two leaders of the demonstrators collapsed one after the other. As the demonstrators read spiritual forces into this unfortunate incident, they intensified the protest and went hay-wire. Sensing danger, the presidency dispatched a high-powered delegation led by the Chief of staff, Prosper Bani, who made sure they inspected all the roads in the region. The Minister of Roads and Highways took part in the tour of the region. Also included on the fact-finding tour were Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Helen Ntoso, the Volta Regional Minister and some members of parliament (MPs) from the region. At the end of the tour they shamefacedly confirmed the deplorable state of the roads and the level of development in the region. The Senchi ferry site was also in a deplorable condition. It is a nightmare to travel on the ferry. Today the ferry has been repaired and is now in good condition and safe to travel on the ferry. Will the people in the region believe again if Mahama tells them that they will make sure that all the roads are repaired and tarred when NDC is voted into power again in 2016?

Voters in Volta Region are advised to vote wisely and to resist being belittled by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) whose style of campaigning in the region tended to play on their intelligence. They believe that whatever they say and do the people of the region will vote for them. Mr. Kofi Dzamesi, former Volta Regional Minister gave the advice to the citizenry "to vote for the party that has affected their lives positively", when he addressed a meeting of the Regional Co-ordinating Council. He said their choice as voters in the region should be informed by the extent to which each of the contending parties had contributed to transforming the quality of lives in the region. Undoubtedly, NPP stands tall in the region's development. He added that, "the NPP government stood unchallenged by the landmark transformations it brought to the Volta Region".

As indigenes of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) electoral ‘World Bank’ complain bitterly of seeming neglect by President John Mahama in his appointments of ministers and executives for state institutions, a senior Member of Parliament (MP) of the party has rebuffed the accusation.

Describing Voltarians making the accusation as not been fair to the facts on the ground, the NDC legislator stated that a cursory assessment of the geographical background of the president’s appointees points to the contrary.

According to the MP, Voltarians have dominated all appointments in the Mahama government from the Ministers, deputy Ministers, Ambassadors, Chief Executives of Public Corporations, Board Members, Parliamentary Leadership, Flag Staff House appointees and the National Executive level of the party among others. The Voltarians are of a different view. According to them, Mahama has stuffed the Ministries, all state and interstate services with Northerners.

Reacting to a recent publication by The AL-HAJJ newspaper on how indigenes of the NDC’s world bank feel marginalized in the present government, the NDC MP, whose name was not disclosed, stated “the facts on the ground does not support the accusations being made by a group in the Volta Region.”

“Indeed, if they want to be fair to the facts, they should call for all the appointments and analyze them carefully. Maybe they are making such claims because Voltarians who have been appointed are not known NDC faces or popular names in the region,” he explained. The group is, however, not convinced with the explanation. Defiance is looming large against the NDC. administration. The Volta region stands out as the only region who has contributed to the electoral successes of the ruling party. This may change as many Voltarians feel ignored and rejected by the ruling NDC.

Before the December 7 elections that brought the NDC to power, Mahama promised that he would harness development projects that would enhance the total development of Volta region. He promised that with Ghana’s production of oil and gas, he would finance rice production to make the region the hub of rice production in Ghana. Mahama made this promise in the presence of the chiefs and people of Anloga during the annual celebration of Hogbetsotso festival which is an occasion to celebrate the glorious past, reconciliation between chiefs and citizens and also to acknowledge their challenges. The chiefs and people of Anloga and the entire electorate of the Volta Region, voted massively for Mahama and the NDC party. However, Mahama never remembered the promise he made to the chiefs and people of Anloga. Mahama’s failure to fulfil his promises explains the anger of the Ewe youth.

The people of the Volta Region are angry and as a result they have formed a pressure group and they call themselves, “the Volta Region Young Turks.” The youth were up in arms against alleged attempts by Mahama to reduce the influence of the Ewe Chief of Staff in Mahama’s administration to the barest minimum. The youth is threatening that, it will be suicidal for Mahama and the fortunes of NDC if he goes ahead to demote the Chief of Staff who is generally known as the eye of the Volta Region.

The NDC party has always assumed that Volta Region is their World Bank and no matter what the NPP does, the NDC will still snatch 90% of the votes from the region. The NDC must watch out because in 2016, the Volta Region may not be the “Voter Region” of the NDC. As I said earlier on, what the NDC have always assumed as their world bank will be their micro finance.

Written by Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads