Every Ghanaian living everywhere in our land must bow down in shame at the very disturbing news item that all the revenue for the state – NINETY PERCENT is from only the city of Accra.
The city of Accra, in terms of land mass under 5% of the larger country with a population of about six million people carrying the entire burden of the thirty something million population of Ghana?
It is simply mind boggling. Very incredible. Like the way medical doctors put patients on the surgical table, let us put geographical Ghana on the table and look at it, clinically.
To be very sincere with ourselves, we have THREE different entities, collectively and loosely called GHANA.
When I first stepped foot in Accra in October 1967 to attend Achimota School, ACCRA was made up of Old Accra, stretching up to Labadi, Trade Fair, 37 Hospital, Pig Farm, Abeka, Kaneshie Estates then Korle Bu to James Town.
I remember so well that from Achimota when we are coming to town, we encounter the city of Accra proper at Caprice Hotel, then down to Liberation Circle.
Today as I write, 2021, reader, believe it or not, but geographically, the city of ACCRA stretches from Prampram across Dawhenya, Afieya, Dodowa, Nsawam, Awutu Bereku down to the coast at Gomoa Nyanyano – they all respond to ACCRA.
I have a friend, Zac, who says inner Accra is so choked that he is opening his corporate office in PRAMPRAM for the avoidance of traffic!!!
Two days ago, at 6:30am, my son lawyer Divine left our house at Kasoa Toll Booth in Uber for Cape Coast High Court and I also left same time for my law office at Asylum Down. At 8:15am my son called, that he is at Cape Coast High Court – wow!!! “Divine, we are now at Kaneshie, not yet in Asylum Down!!!!
That is Ghana No. 1 for you – everybody who is somebody wants to live in Accra or have a house in Accra or do business in Accra. The city is so choked that business is forced to be slow.
Ghana No. 2 is KUMASI, CAPE COAST and TAKORADI should I add Tamale and Koforidua? NOT much traffic, local languages is the lingua franca, tradition is very strong. In Kumasi, Otumfuo the Asantehene is more than Head of State!!! You may with luck get newspapers to buy.
The remainder is Ghana No. 3 – spread across the countryside.
Reader, tell me, which of the following places do you know – KWAMIKROM (Volta Region); NKWANTA (Oti Region); BIMBILLA (Northern Region); ZEBILLA (Upper East Region); NANDOM (Upper West Region) BOLE (Savannah Region); SAMPA (Bono Region); ATEBUBU (Bono East Region) NSOATRE (Bono Region); ACHERENSOA (Ahafo Region – Ken Dapaah's old school); DONKORKROM (Kwahu North, Eastern Region);
Reader, do you know DUNKWA ON OFFIN- (Central Region); how about JUABOSO (Western North) and AXIM (Western Region).
Each of these TOWNS has a population of not less than 20,000 people and by European and American standards each of them is a CITY but not in Ghana – don't ask for ANY NEWSPAPER. Go to the municipal Assembly office – the MCE is NOT there, he has gone to Accra.
The people are just there, giving opportunity for the CHURCHES and the Moslems to have their way. Let any national figure from the ruling Party or the opposition – let President Akufo-Addo or John Mahama come cover – he will have a FULL house attendance, because there is nothing else to engage them.
They constitute over 80 per cent of Ghana, but in terms of national revenue, only Accra produces 90% – that is sad.
When I was a Cadet in Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, UK, back in 1978, I met a girl, in Camberley, just thirty miles outside London, home of Sandhurst Military Academy, and I was shocked when she told me she was NEVER been to London – what!!! Why?
“But why should I go to London? For what? I have everything here in the Countryside……..”
In Ghana, if you don't come to Accra, forget it. Believe it or not, since I started politics in Ghana, campaigning for MP in Berekum in 1999, until date, anytime I go to Berekum – with population of over 100,000 people – I just FORGET completely about NEWSPAPERS!!!
By contrast, as old as 1966, in JINJINI, ten kilometers outside Berekum, by latest 09:00 hrs, you can get Daily Graphic and Ghanaian Times in Jinjini, published and printed from ACCRA!!!
Reader, let us be very blunt: LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS VERY VERY WEAK IN GHANA – and all is because the President sits in Accra and appoints X or Y to be the local Governor (DCE) so he is NOT responsible to the people, but to Accra, where he gets District Assemblies Common Fund regularly…………….reader, Ghana is an interesting place.
Let every District elect its own DCE, let them survive on their own, abolish Common Fund, and see how Ghana will be transformed in less than three years.
Take a place like BEREKUM, population over 100,000 their big executive houses, each of them paying property rates –the DCE will have so much money to develop the community.
Let me end with this TRUE story. On Friday 13, February 1977 – I was a final year law student at Legon. I heard in the news that a certain Lt. Col. Dimka had killed Nigerian Head of State the popular General Mutala Mohammed in traffic and had overthrown the Government.
In my room in Commonwealth Hall I put my Akasanoma Radio on some channel and I heard a strange voice:
“This is the voice of Major General AKINRINADE, General Officer Commanding 4th Infantry Division of Nigerian Army Kaduna. What is happening in Lagos has nothing to do with the rest of the Country, and the rebels are being rounded up……”
The Dimka coup failed, and Murtala's Deputy, Lt. General Olusegun Obasanjo became Head of State.
Compare this to Ghana – Let rebel soldiers led by Acheampong or Rawlings take Burma Camp Accra and that is it – Ghana in problem!!!
Let us strengthen Local Government. Let us empower them. Let the President concern himself only with defence, macro finance and inter City transport. The rest leave it to Local Government – agriculture industries, interior and so on.
In Germany, the mayor of Berlin takes a higher salary than Chancellor Angela Merkel – because of the intensity of work by Local Government.
By Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey