Mr. Mark Woyongo, Upper East Regional Minister, said on Saturday that he would pursue an all-inclusive policy of administration and work with people of all backgrounds who share his vision for the Region's development.
He declared that, just as President Atta Mills was father of all Ghanaians, he was also Minister for the entire population of the Region, irrespective of political affiliation, ethnic or religious background.
The newly-appointed Regional Minister stated these in his maiden speech at the Residency in Bolgatanga where he addressed a large crowd of National Democratic (NDC) functionaries, supporters and well-wishers who had gathered there to welcome him as he arrived to commence work.
"My enemy is not my political opponent but the poverty, disease and illiteracy that continue to afflict us in this region without discrimination," he emphasized, and urged all to put their shoulders to the wheel to “drive poverty out of the Upper East.”
The Regional Minister observed that the NDC's fortunes in the 2012 election would improve better if party members reached out to everyone and refrained from conducting politics of exclusion.
Mr. Woyongo announced that his primary concern was to restore lasting peace to Bawku, a subject he had raised initially during a courtesy call on Bishop Lucas Abadamloora, Catholic Bishop of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese, at the latter's residence in Bolgatanga.
He appealed to the people of Bawku, particularly the two rival factions, to allow peace to prevail since no development could be obtained in an atmosphere of violence. "When hospital workers and teachers continue to leave the area, we have to rethink and let by-gones be by-gones."
The Regional Minister noted that next year marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Upper East Region, and made known his intention to use the occasion to advertise the region's potential to the international community by showcasing the area's huge reserves of sheanuts, gold deposits and stone quarry, among others.
He added that he would focus on the promotion of agriculture on which about 80 per cent of the region's population depend for their livelihood, by improving farmers' access to credit facility, help with the provision of small-scale dams for farming communities and improve farmers' access to markets.
Mr. Woyongo had earlier paid another courtesy call on the paramount chief of the Bolgatanga Tarditional Area, Naba Martin Abilba III, at his palace to announce his arrival and to solicit the support of the chief and his elders for a successful tenure of office.
The Bolga-Naba indicated that being a son of the region, Mr. Woyongo was conversant with the problems confronting the people of the area. He commended President Mills for 'making an excellent choice for the Region,' adding that he had every confidence the Regional Minister would discharge his duties creditably to the admiration of all.
Following information that the Regional Minister would be arriving that morning from Tamale by road, a large convoy of NDC supporters on vehicles and motorcycles had converged at the White Volta bridge near Pwalugu by 0900 hours to welcome him.
The Minister and his entourage arrived around noon and were led by the procession through the principal streets of Bolgatanga, amidst the tooting of horns and chanting of party slogans. From the Bolga-Naba's palace the procession moved on to the Catholic Bishop's residence, winding up finally at the Residency.
Accompanying Mr. Woyongo were the Deputy Regional Minister designate, Mrs. Lucy Awuni, Mr. Samuel N'lary, Chief Director at the Regional Coordinating Council, Alhaji Hamidu Mahama, Regional Police Commander, Alhaji Mumuni Bolnaba, Regional Chairman of the NDC, Mr. Ken Anewena, a leading member of the NDC in the Upper East, other Regional and Constituency executives of the party, and heads of government departments.