A non-political and non-governmental organization, Volta Union UK (VUUK) has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to, as a matter of urgency, halt its efforts to divide the Volta Region.
The group in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr. Gideon Sedziafa said the actions of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration to divide the region among others stipulated for division “defeats the purpose for which it is being done.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo has constituted a Commission of Inquiry into the Creation of New Regions to receive and review petitions for the creation of six new regions, which include Northern, Volta, Western and Northern Regions, to bring the number of regions to 16.
The Commission of Inquiry commenced work after its inauguration by the President on 19th October 2017.
After the Commission’s work, part of the Northern Region is expected to be a new region, as well as the northern part of the Western Region, splitting of the Brong Ahafo Region, and Oti Region to be carved out of the Volta Region.
Although the group is aware of the purpose of the creation of new regions, it is calling for the scrapping of the idea, urging the government to change its mind for a superior reason.
It, therefore, wants President Akufo-Addo and his government to focus more on devolution to local authorities through the election of District Chief Executives (DCEs) in other measures such as increased allocation of funds to the Districts.
“We are aware that the reason for this agenda is that, it is a commitment made in the 2016 election manifesto of the New Patriotic Party which the President himself leads. However, like the British Politician David Davies, we believe that a democracy that does not change its mind fails to be a democracy.
“We believe that the NPP can change its mind. The government can still change its mind for a superior reason as we adduce in this statement, which is to focus on development and not division,” part of the statement read.
Read the full statement below
VOLTA NEEDS DEVELOPMENT, NOT DIVISION- Volta Union, UK
Volta Union UK is calling on the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana to, as a matter of urgent national importance, halt its efforts to divide the Volta Region. Armed with facts and conviction as explained below, we are without any doubt that dividing the Volta Region in particular, or any other region defeats the purpose for which it is being done, which is development. Instead, we wish to encourage President Akufo-Addo and his government to focus more on devolution to local authorities through the election of District Chief Executives in other measures such as increased allocation of funds to the districts.
The VUUK is a non-political and non-governmental organization comprising of citizens of Ghana living in the United Kingdom. Our aim is to seek the development of the Volta Region of Ghana in a manner that ensures not only national security and stability but also sub-regional cohesion and the protection of the rights and liberties of the indigenes. We also do so fully aware of the principles of fairness, justice, and dignity.
Although we have before now realized some degree of our goals through charitable projects in the region, we are forced to engage in public advocacy now because of the on-going effort by the government of President Akufo-Addo to divide the region into two.
We are aware that the reason for this agenda is that, it is a commitment made in the 2016 elections manifesto of the New Patriotic Party which the President himself leads. However, like the British Politician David Davies, we believe that a democracy that does not change its mind fails to be a democracy. We believe that the NPP can change its mind. The government can still change its mind for a superior reason as we adduce in this statement, which is to focus on development and not division.
We wish to commend the President for his avowed interest in the development needs of all the regions of Ghana. We agree that the Volta Region, particularly in the Northern sector, is in dire need of critical development.
Indeed there are major gaps in road and energy infrastructure, health and education facilities and, most importantly, gaps in agricultural and manufacturing investment in the region. It is without question that the more northerly one travels in the region, the worse the level of development needs there are, despite the facts that, that sector was and remains a major contributor to Ghana’s Cocoa production. Apart from that, it is also a part of the food basket of Ghana. We are also aware that the southern part of the region is replete with rich potential for development which beg for investment. And we cannot say that these gaps in development are absent in the other regions.
Armed with the above and many facts of the condition of the region, we disagree that the method with which to resolve such gaps is the establishment of new regional offices, regional authorities, regional staff and additional inefficient bureaucracies.
Instead, we wish to encourage the government to fast-track its plans to kick-start the election of District Chief Executives. It is a widely agreed fact by researchers and across all agencies of development in Ghana that the most important vehicle for driving development in all parts of the country is the District Assembly if empowered to deliver and be accountable to the people.
It is also broadly accepted that the democratization of the local authorities will lend a marked boost to development progress in undeserved parts of the country. We also know that the NPP government has already committed itself to ensuring the election of District Chief Executives. This will deepen democratic accountability and devolve power to the local people. It will not require further expenditure burdens on the national budget to provide new administrative offices and staff, be they regional or district.
There is therefore now no need to divide the Volta region.
Indeed, in the light of the additional cost of establishing new regional authorities, it makes prudent financial sense not to do it. If the purpose is to ensure development, then it makes better sense to rather invest in socio-economic development projects, not fiscally burdening offices.
We are therefore calling on the government to, as a matter of urgency, abandon the division approach and redouble the development effort.
And we have faith in the government to embrace our call.