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Regional News of Sunday, 22 July 2018

Source: Starrfmonline.com

Public outrage against Bonaboto after Akufo-Addo’s tour

There is a fresh wave of public outrage in the Upper East region against Bonaboto, an ethnic association, in the aftermath of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s recent tour of the region.

The President had assured the region on the first day of his working visit of government’s plans to begin work very soon on a long-awaited airport project in the regional capital, Bolgatanga.

“Minister for Aviation has been up here in the Upper East region and in Sherigu has come across some land that the chief there has given her which she hopes to be the basis of an additional airport in the northern region of Ghana in addition to the one in Tamale.

“So, this request of yours for an airport in the Upper East region is something that is already on the drawing board and very soon you’ll see signs of movement there,” he had announced at a durbar Thursday evening in the Bongo District.

But the Public Relations Officer of the association, Stanley Abopaam, took to the radio waves the following morning, claiming the President himself did not know about the proposed location for the airport project until the Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, prompted him to mention “Sherigu” at the durbar.

“The President didn’t even know where it was. And so the President was struggling to mention a name and the Regional Minister mentioned Sherigu to him. And so what it means is that the Regional Minister wants the airport to be at Sherigu,” said the PRO as he also questioned the idea behind the choice of Sherigu over an initial proposed site at Anateem, an area inside nearby Sumbrungu.

The last droplet of the PRO's saliva had barely evaporated from the airwaves when a hail of comments hit social media platforms from angry residents who believed the latest remarks put out by BONABOTO on the airport location could rip apart the centuries-long interrelations and harmony between Sherigu and Sumbrungu.

President Akufo-Addo’s tour of the region was incident-free and it saw the local coordination of media itinerary and coverage excellently discharged by two prominent members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) assigned to the 2-day task—Randy Agana and Wunison Jam Khan.
Mustapha Hamid, Dr. Awoonor-Williams cited in Facebook comments against BONABOTO

It would be recalled that BONABOTO was mentioned in 2017 by the Parliament’s Appointments Committee during the televised vetting of the then Minister-designate for Information, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, to have strongly claimed that the nominee was not a native of the Upper East region as highlighted in his profile.

BONABOTO also publicly accused celebrated former Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams, of “illegally” sneaking five official vehicles away from the region “when he reluctantly left on transfer” in 2015.

The group— led by Francis Atintono, Stanley Abopaam and Vitus Azeem— ran down Dr. Awoonor-Williams and former Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, for months in the media and eventually dragged the duo to the national headquarters of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to be probed for corruption, abuse of office and complicity. The association also attacked anyone who held a view contrary to its own on the alleged missing official vehicles.

But just as Mustapha Abdul-Hamid exposed BONABOTO’s gaffe before the Appointments Committee last year, CHRAJ also cleared both Dr. Awoonor-Williams and Dr. Appiah-Denkyira just last month, June, of any wrongdoing.

The exoneration by the country's main anti-graft agency fired up congratulatory messages from individuals and organisations to the former regional health boss. But BONABOTO is not showing any remorse yet with its PRO, when asked by A1 Radio’s Samuel Mbura if the association would apologise for the unfounded allegations, replying vaingloriously and with a tone of disdain, “Owe who an apology and for what?”

The latest airport location comments by BONABOTO also evoked memories of the abortive aim the group had taken at those acquitted personalities as the public poured out frank misgivings on social media platforms about the association's self-declared posture as the messiah of the deprived region.