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General News of Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Source: presidency.gov.gh

New regions not for votes but to improve on governance – Akufo-Addo

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has reiterated that there is no political agenda underlying the proposed creation of 6 more regions in the country.

According to President Akufo-Addo, “I am not doing it for votes”, stressing that “there are plenty of regions in this country where they don’t vote for me. Why would it be any different if these regions are created?”

The President reassured that “there is no political agenda in this matter, and there is no attempt to create ethnic antagonisms or factions in this exercise. It is meant to try and improve the governance of our people.”

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, at the Adaklu Constituency, on day 2 of his 3-day tour of the Volta Region.

Recounting the historical background surrounding the creation of regions in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo noted that, in 1952, the Western and Eastern Regions were created, bringing the total number of regions in Ghana to four (4). The Plebiscite of 1956 ensured that Trans-Volta became the country’s 5th Region.

“After Independence, Kwame Nkrumah’s CPP government created Brong Ahafo Region. They also created the Central Region, and then came the Upper Region created out of the North. So, by the mid-60s, we had now moved from 3 regions to 8 regions. Then Jerry John Rawlings’ PNDC government came and divided the Upper Region into North, Upper West and Upper East,” he said.

The President recounted this historical background to show that “the regional structuring of our country has not been static. It has taken into account developments, population growth, the need to improve the quality of governance and take it closer and closer to the people because that is the most effective governance that we have.”

Having received petitions for the creation of new regions on his assumption of office, President Akufo-Addo referred these petitions to the Council of State for their input, who, after a thorough examination, noted that there was a substantial demand for the creation of new regions.

It was on that basis, he added, that the Justice Brobbey Commission was constituted, in accordance with the Constitution, to probe into the matter.

“They toured the country, they went to the areas of the petition and came back to me that, yes, they had identified a substantial demand from the peoples of those areas for these new regions, and also the need for it; and that therefore I should go ahead and seize the Electoral Commission to organize a referendum for the affected people in the affected areas- and that’s where we are,” he added.

The President reiterated that, as stipulated in the Constitution, at least, 50% of the persons entitled to vote must vote in each of the different referenda, and, of the votes cast, at least 80% must be cast in favour of the creation of a region for the demand to succeed.

“The Constitution wants to be sure that the demand is a genuine, popular, broad base demand, not that a few people have gone to sit in a room somewhere, and cook up their own story that they want their own region. No! That the mass of the people in the region support the idea- that is the constitutional reality, and if it happens, if, indeed, regions come about, please we should not think in any antagonistic way,” the President said.

He continued, “It is not meant to be a prescription for making hostilities between one lot of people and another lot of people. Here in Volta Region, there’s been peace and cohabitation amongst all kinds of different people for a very long time. The creation of the region is not intended to disturb it. In my view, God willing, it will in fact heighten the cooperation, the collaboration and the friendship between the peoples who are living in this Volta Region.”

President Akufo-Addo appealed to residents of the southern part of the Volta Region not to see the potential creation of the Oti Region as a rejection by the peoples of northern Volta.

“That’s not the reason. The reason is that, it becomes an efficient way of organizing the government of our country, and that efficient way inures to all of our benefit. The Southern part, which stays in the traditional Volta Region, with respect, will have more resources for itself rather than having to spread it all over a larger area. They will also have their share and that way, we can then accelerate the development of the country,” President Akufo-Addo added.