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16.04.2007 General News

Stop calling us poor, we are not – U.E. Minister

By The Chronicle

The Upper East Regional Minister, Boniface Gambila, who fervidly disagrees with both intellectual and non-academic declarations that his region is the poorest, has asked the people to stop taking pride in singing the forlorn song that “we are poor.”

The Minister, who said this at the first ever Easter dinner buffet organized by the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) for the members of the Regional Security Council Committee (REGSEC) and the media, believed that the poverty-stricken mindset of the people configured years ago ought to be reconfigured, but this time, with positive thinking and declarations.

He therefore implored the media to stop reinforcing the message of “we are poor” being chanted in the region and help to redirect the poverty-stricken thinking of the people in the region through their reportage and programmes.

Though the minister admitted that the region was deprived, he did not believe that deprivation constituted poverty and asked the people of the region to identify the source of their deprivation so that together they could find a solution to it.

“I understand that we are deprived but we are not poor; don't use academic definitions to say that we are poor…so let the people understand that they are not poor but they are rather refusing to transform”, he tasked the media.

Mr. Gambila indicated that the region was endowed with both human and other resources but the people had failed to harness the resources to transform the region for their own good, noting that others were perceived as rich because they had been able to exploit and harness their resources to develop their Regions.

In the area of media coverage, he commended the media personnel in the region for their cooperation since his assumption of office but complained of lateness to functions on the part of some of the media houses.

He also observed that much had not been done with rural reporting which could serve as a strong ladder between the rural folks and the government as well as other development partners.

This, he explained, could be realized as the media continually highlights the plight of the rural folks to the government and other development partners and in turn educates them on available opportunities and government policies.

Mr. Gambila urged the media, REGSEC and b the RCC to work collectively as a team while they employ their various unique expertise to advance the development course of the region, bearing in mind the national goal of alleviating g poverty.
In his remarks, the Upper East Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists' Association (GJA), Mr. Mohammed Nurudeen Issahaq, who is also the Regional Manager of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), noted that government-media relations had seen much improvement in the country, which could be seen in the goodwill and rapport between the executive and the media.

Expressing concern about the mushrooming of media organizations in the country, Mr. Issahaq observed that the phenomenal improvement of the media landscape was both an advantage and a challenge.

He said it could be seen as an advantage especially in advancing the country's democratic culture but a challenge in the sense that multiplicity of media organizations comes with variety of media personnel, some of whom might not have the requisite.

He reminded the media personnel that they have a responsibility to the society, and appealed to them not to dwell on trivialities but rather focus on the development course of the region by highlighting the plight of the people and the development inequalities so that the powers that be, could come to their aid.

The GJA chairman expressed gratitude to their duties over the years.

Mr. Samuel N'laari, the Chief Director of the Regional Coordinating Council, called on the GJA to organize seminars that could bring together both the senior and young members of the association to exchange experiences to prevent the unethical conduct of some up and coming journalists that drags the name of the profession in the mud.