We have on countless occasions bemoaned the poverty gap and under-development in the three northern regions when compared with the south and described the situation as major scars on the national conscience.
Such is the situation that many of the young people in the north are comepelled to move down south to seek non-existent jobs and end up becoming victims of abuse.
It was in that vein that we commended the government for initiating the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to pursue programmes and projects to bridge the development gap. Thankfully, a number of initiatives have been launched to see to the realisation of the objectives of the government for the three northern regions.
Only yesterday, President John Dramani Mahama launched the Millennium Village Project as part of the SADA projects to help beneficiary communities to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Under the sponsorship of the British Department for International Development (DFID), the £11.5 million involves the construction of clinics, providing free bed nets, agricultural subsidies, water, schools, electricity, roads, power, and further support for the communities in sustainable development.
We are gratified that there is an evaluation component of the project to examine the various impacts of the project and to help provide evidence on the most effective ways of improving the lives of the poor. For many a time, when problems of our society are effectively diagnosed, the passion and commitment to implementing them have remained a major challenge.
This has resulted in many research findings left on the shelves of offices and organisations and gathering dust after so much money had been expended on them. It is our conviction that if we are to get out of snares of our poverty, we must move into action.
That is why we believe that all those involved in this project must justify their involvement to ensure that the investments yield the appropriate dividends for our people in the north. It is sad that for eight months in a year, able men and women sit in their villages doing nothing due to the unavailability of opportunities.
If the government is going to realise the vision of creating opportunities in the rural areas and reversing the situation where people migrate from the northern parts of the country to the southern parts in search of jobs, then officials of SADA must be up and doing.
The success of SADA should not be judged by the number of contracts or projects initiated but how they impact on the lives of the people.
We also call on all those who may be involved in the execution of the projects to ensure their success. Each and everyone one of us has a role to play in breaking the back of poverty not only in the three northern regions but in every corner of the country where it is found.
We must guard against riding at the back of the poor to enrich ourselves.
We must collectively own the project and ensure it succeeds.