29.01.2002 Feature Article

PETITION: Call for Creation of New Region (Savannah)

PETITION: Call for Creation of New Region (Savannah)
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A CALL BY GANA FOR THE CREATION OF A NEW REGION (SAVANNAH) OUT OF THE CURRENT NORTHERN REGION We, the members of the Gonjaland Association of North America and Europe (GANA), wish to express our, and the desire of all the people of Gonjaland for the creation of a new region out of the current Northern region. We propose that the new region, to be known as SAVANNAH with its capital at Buipe, should principally be made up of lands in East, Central and Western Gonja. It should be appreciated that Gonjaland, in spite of its designation, is ethnically heterogeneous. Apart from the Gonja the area is home to at least eleven other ethnic groups – Vagala, Lobi, Nnawuri, Mo, Nchumuru, Konkomba, Hanga, Mmra, Safalba, Tampulma and Nchorba. We believe that the Northern Region, as presently constituted, is far too big to remain under one central administration. It is easily the largest of the ten regions of Ghana. In terms of surface area, it is over 5 times the size of either of the two Upper Regions, and more than twice the size of the largest of the Southern regions. There are several compelling reasons why we think it makes sense to break this region into two. In the first place, the sheer enormity of it makes for exceedingly difficult administration. This is the reason some Regional Ministers have, in the past, considered the region ungovernable. The practical effect of this vastness has been the further peripheralization of sections of this region, which has historically been one of the most marginalized in all of Ghana. On account of the long distances between many parts of Gonjaland and the regional capital, the area has tended to suffer considerably, relative to other traditional areas in the region. This is borne out when one notices that, by any available index of progress and development (education, health, roads, etc), Gonjaland comes out extremely poorly. We believe all of this can be ameliorated by the creation of the new Savannah Region, which will have the capacity to handle the problems of the area more efficiently. It will obviously be in the interest of all Ghanaians that the re-demarcation being proposed here is done with the least resort to civil strife and other forms of conflict. The best way to guarantee this, in our view, is to ensure that pre-existing ethnic and traditional allegiances are retained within regional boundaries. We would like to urge the Yabumwura, the Traditional Council, the Gonja, Vagala, Lobi, Nnawuri, Mo, Nchumuru, Konkomba, Hanga, Mmra, Safalba, Tampulma and Nchorba Youth Associations to formally petition President John Agyekum Kufour, Vice President Aliu Mahama, and the national government, for the establishment of the new SANANNAH Region.

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