The President has spoken, and barring any counter-nominations from ASK Bagbin and his cohorts, like it happened in the case of the election of the Speaker of Parliament, the Ministerial nomination list is expected to remain as we know it (Hopefully, the President has “ASKed” Bagbin this time before making the nominations).
If the nomination list were to remain as it is, I would imagine that the Minister likely to face the biggest challenge in office would be the Northern Regional Minister Designate, Hon. Boniface Abubakar Sadique. No doubt, an extremely likeable person, highly competent, well educated and well groomed for the challenge. But I believe he is going to require more than just his personal attributes to succeed in the rugged terrain of the murky politics of the northern region, which has been intertwined in a complex maze of chieftaincy and ethnic/clan politics and exacerbated by the degrading poverty that afflicts seven in every ten of our people.
The Minister will need to get on top of his brief extremely quickly in order to be able to settle down and tackle the bread and butter issues confronting the people. The Dagbon chieftaincy issue, no doubt, would require urgent attention. But even more urgent will be the need to unite an extremely polarised people, as a necessary ingredient for resolving the over all Dagbon crisis. And who better to resolve the issues than we the people of the region. All of us, citizens of the region are going to have to resolve; whether Nanumba or Kokomba, Abudu or Andani, Muslim or Christian, Chief or Subject, Gonja or Dagomba, Saint or Sinner, that never again will we raise a finger, one against the other. We are going to have to resolve that, no matter how many more we kill, maim or love; we can never change the course of our immediate past. It is a hurtful past, but history is not always meant to be pleasant. A few misfortunes happen from time to time, to confirm our status as mortals. The real war we face is the monumental poverty, and the tools we need are those that make money rather than those that make monsters. What we need is a regional alliance against poverty.
Another urgent issue has to do with the environment. In some of the districts, the environment is being degraded at scandalous rates, leading to the drying out of water bodies during the dry season. The combined effect of reckless charcoal burning and indiscriminate bush fires has taken a huge toll on the environment. The situation further exacerbates the poverty levels, as women have to spend long precious hours in search of scarce water. Residents of the West and Central Gonja districts are very familiar with this state of affairs. Animals die of thirst; water borne diseases become rampant; and killer diseases, both known and unknown spread. In a region where health care services are, at best, a luxury to be enjoyed by the rich, and at worst, an exaggerated wishful thinking, avoidable deaths have a field day.
Yet another problem that will need urgent attention is the large army of unemployed, and often unemployable youths in the region. In the absence of any strategy to get these able bodies in productive ventures, they have become willing recruits for mischief-makers of all kinds. The challenge will be to organise these youths, perhaps under some special initiatives, to let out their energies more productively. At the centre all these, will be need the push the urgent question to partition northern region a bit further. The merits and demerits of such an exercise will be the subject for another forum. But suffice it to say, that the northern region as is presently constituted, poses an administrative nightmare. All citizens of the region, are going to have to pledge their support for this course; mindful of the fact that greater decentralisation, very often translates into greater participation at the local level, and accelerates development. We will need to do away with our emotional attachments to the status quo and accept the realities of a dynamic world, which is more in favour of greater devolution rather than centralisation of power.
If indeed, His Excellency the Vice President recommended Hon. Boniface for the appointment, as the papers have speculated (and I have no reason to doubt this), I must say, he made an excellent choice. As a native boy who raised himself by his own bootstraps, Boniface is a workaholic who gives his full commitment to issues he believes in.
But as he sets sail through the rough and tumble of northern region political terrain, he is going to be counting on our collective resolve to make the dream of our ancestors work, and to bestow a worthwhile future to our posterity. We must give him our support. He certainly has mine. Mohammed Gausu C/o Buipewura's Palace Buipe, N/R Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.